Sunday, September 2, 2012

Wintersmith - Terry Pratchett

    2006; 446 pages.  New Author? : No.  Book 3 of the Tiffany Aching series.  Book 35 of the DiscWorld series.  Genre : YA; Comedic Fantasy.  Overall Rating :  8*/10.
    13-year-old Tiffany Aching is training to be a witch.  For her enlightenment, her mentor, Miss Treason, takes her to watch the secret Morris Dance.  It’s an interesting dance, with a compelling tempo.  The rhythm gets your toes a-tapping.  Indeed, the it makes you want to get up and join in the merriment.


 What’s To Like...
    A slew of the DiscWorld witches are here, and that’s always a positive.  DEATH also makes a couple appearances.  There are a bunch of 6-inch-tall Smurf-spoofs called Nac Mac Feegles; you’re going to love them.  And don’t forget Horace the Cheese.

     The Feegles all speak with Scottish accents.  That can get old, but it’s better than Igors’ lisps and Vampires’ ersatz German.  Terry Pratchett uses chapters here, which is quite unusual for him.  But he doesn’t forget to include some of his always-entertaining footnotes.  There’s a nice take-off of the Orpheus and Eurydice myth, and you’ll be enlightened by how important Boffo is to all witches.

    The ending is good, although not particularly twisty.  And despite being part of a series, you can read Wintersmith as a stand-alone novel.

Kewlest New Word...
Badger Sett : a badger den, usually consisting of a network of tunnels.

    Witching was turning out to be mostly hard work and really short on magic of the zap!-glingle-glingle-glingle variety.  There was no schooling and nothing that was exactly a lesson.  But it wasn’t wise to try to learn witching all by yourself, especially if you had a natural talent.  If you got it wrong, you could go from ignorant to cackling in a week...  (pg. 21)

      “I was always too busy to pay attention to young men,” said Miss Treason.  “They were always for later and then later was too late.  Pay attention to your young man.”
    “Erm … I did say he’s actually not my –“ Tiffany began, feeling herself start to blush.
    “But do not become a strumpet like Mrs. Ogg,” said Miss Treason.
    “I’m not very musical,” said Tiffany uncertainly.
    Miss Treason laughed.  “You have a dictionary, I believe,” she said.  “A strange but useful thing for a girl to have.”  (pg. 172)

 "I’ve got a Cornucopia and I’m not afraid to use it!”  (pg. 349)
    It’s important to remember the target audience for the Tiffany Aching series – young teenage girls who like to read fantasy.  Adults may find the plotline a bit too straightforward, and guys may be disappointed by the lack of mayhem. But young girls won’t be bothered by the book's “DiscWorld-lite” flavor, and they'll enjoy the “first-love” undertone of the tale.

    Terry Pratchett is a master storyteller, and Wintersmith is no exception.  If you keep in mind for who he was writing this, you will find it an excellent addition to the DiscWorld series.  8 Stars.

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