Cover illustration: Paul Kidby
I SHALL WEAR MIDNIGHT
TIFFANY ACHING BOOK 4
YOUNG DISCWORLD 5
Publisher: Doubleday/Random House Children's Books
Publishing date: 2 September 2010
On the cover:
Tiffany Aching is a witch. And she thinks she's doing a good job for the people of the Chalk. Even if the job does seem to involve a lot of bandaging legs and cutting old ladies' toenails and not much, well, magic.
But somewhere - some time - there's a tangled ball of evil and spite, of hatred and malice, that has woken up. And it's waking up all the old stories too - stories about evil old witches.
Suddenly Tiffany isn't sure she's doing the right thing. And her tiny allies - the fightin' Nac Mac Feegles - are only making things more difficult.
Things are supposed to look better after a good night's sleep.
But they won't.
They are about to get a lot, lot worse.
And a witch has to deal with what is in front of her...
This, being a "Young Discworld" novel, features a teenage main character, Tiffany is 16 in this book. Other than that there is not much that is different from the other Discworld books. Pratchett writes in the same style as he has always done. And anyone who avoids this book because it is labeled as Young Adult (,the publisher's website says 12+,) does themselves a huge disservice.
In my opinion this is perhaps the most serious Discworld book in recent years. It still has the trademark Pratchett humor, but the themes are very serious. Then again it would be difficult to make fun of growing up, responsibility,and bullying. And these are some of the main themes in this book.
All is told through the eyes of Tiffany Aching, who is a witch, and this gives Pratchett plenty to play with. We get the some important lessons about the misconceptions about witches from fairytailes, and we also learn a lot about what a Discworld witch's real responsibilities are.
It's easiest to see that this is a Young Adult novel by the many life-lessons that Pratchett manages to weave into the tale. There really is a lot here that an intelligent teenager can take away. And of course any teenager reading Pratchett will be intelligent. But I didn't feel that Pratchett ever got preachy, he presents things and lets the reader decide for themselves.
The story also has room for an overarching plot that is quite sinister. In fact it is part horror story. This is very well handled, and does not feel forced upon all the other things that happen in the book.
In my opinion this book shows that Pratchett is still going strong. Any Discworld fan who doesn't already own this should go buy it at once. -But I must say it helps if you have read the "Witches"-books and the previous three books about Tiffany Aching. At the least you should read "Equal Rites" before embarking upon this book.
Links: Terry Pratchett Random House Children's Books