Title: I Shall Wear Midnight
Author: Terry Pratchett
Genre: Young Adult, fantasy, satire, humor
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
It starts with whispers.
Then someone picks up a stone.
Finally, the fires begin.
When people turn on witches, the innocents suffer. . . .
Tiffany Aching has spent years studying with senior witches, and now she is on her own. As the witch of the Chalk, she performs the bits of witchcraft that aren't sparkly, aren't fun, don't involve any kind of wand, and that people seldom ever hear about: She does the unglamorous work of caring for the needy.
But someone--or something--is igniting fear, inculcating dark thoughts and angry murmurs against witches. Aided by her tiny blue allies, the Wee Free Men, Tiffany must find the source of this unrest and defeat the evil at its root--before it takes her life. Because if Tiffany falls, the whole Chalk falls with her.
Chilling drama combines with laughout-loud humor and searing insight as beloved and bestselling author Terry Pratchett tells the high-stakes story of a young witch who stands in the gap between good and evil.
Every Sir Terry Pratchett book is just so brilliant, and I don't think I respect any author more than him. Even as a child, I could appreciate his humor and sly satire of fairy tales in The Amazing Maurice and his Educated Rodents. That book was one of my favorites then, and even now I find something new every time I read it. It's rare that a book stays just as engaging as you grow older instead of just fading into fuzzy, warm nostalgia.
The Tiffany Aching books were another childhood favorite of mine. Tiffany is just an ordinary young girl who decides that she wants to be a witch, and by golly she's going to work her butt off to make it happen. The wonderful thing about Tiffany is that she has amazing adventures, but she isn't all taken in by the usual "I am the chosen one" nonsense. She's a down-to-earth sort of girl, and takes her responsibilities seriously. Even though she has to grow up and act a lot older than anyone else her age, she still finds a way to both make the hard decisions and find ways to make people happy.
This is even more true in I Shall Wear Midnight than in previous books. People have started gossiping about witches and evil, and it's all Tiffany can do to keep her community together when they're convinced she's out to get them. Terry Pratchett captures the insidiousness of rumors so well, and he pokes fun at mob mentality and how likely people are to turn on each other when faced with their fears. All the while, Tiffany Aching is growing up and becoming a capable, independent, and fearless human being.
That's brilliance right there.