Friday, 24 September 2010

I Shall Wear Midnight by Terry Pratchett

September 28th, 2010
Review Copy

Young Adult
Occasional swearing, teen pregnancy, child/spousal abuse, violent death, adult themes

Summary From Random House
A man with no eyes. No eyes at all. Two tunnels in his head . . .

It’s not easy being a witch, and it’s certainly not all whizzing about on broomsticks, but Tiffany Aching – teen witch – is doing her best.Until something evil wakes up, something that stirs up all the old stories about nasty old witches, so that just wearing a pointy hat suddenly seems a very bad idea.Worse still, this evil ghost from the past is hunting down one witch in particular. He’s hunting for Tiffany. Andhe’s found her . . .

Liana's Thoughts:
I need to start with a confession: I love Pratchett's writing. I love the Discworld series. I love the Johnny and the Dead series. I love his cookbook. I love his comics. So I bought the first books in the Tiffany Aching series for myself, and for my children. I want them to love Pratchett's writing as much as I do.

That being said, I won't let my girls (ages 5 and 8) read this book yet. Here, Tiffany is reaching the end of her YA-arc. She is no longer the little girl who beat off the Queen of Fairy with a frying pan. She's a young woman coming into adulthood and dealing with some very adult themes that I don't think my children would understand yet.
I Shall Wear Midnight deals with some of the darkest aspects of humanity: abuse, fear, and prejudice. It starts with a young woman beaten by her father until she miscarries her child, then other attacks begin. Violence and anger, misunderstanding and prejudice, all started because of a little love, a little envy, and a lot of malice.

Terry Pratchett manages to present the whole dark tableau without judgment. He opens up a map of the human psyche and lets the reader decide if this is right or wrong. Is the villain really a bad person? I really can't say. Pratchett showed me the villain's motivations, fears, and motives too well. I'm sympathetic. I'm glad the villain was defeated, but I understand where they came from.

Sir Pratchett doesn't write two-dimensional characters.

For all the darkness, this is a fun book. The word-play between Tiffany and her would-be sidekick Prestonis very entertaining. The Nac MacFeegle are out in force to give everyone a good kicking, and the senior witches make a cameo as their delightful, interfering selves. Someone even does a dance-hall routine. I'll let you guess who.

I would recommend for ages 13 and up, depending on maturity. It's a good read for adults, not quite as smooth as Pratchett's Guards-series (my favorite of his writing), but well done and logical. There are entertaining twists, humorous moments, and just enough romance to leave everyone happy at the end of the book.

Final Conclusion:
Poison goes where poison's welcomed.

1 comment:

Sarah said...

Great review - I really love the Tiffany books :o)