6. The Wee Free Men by Terry Pratchett. 375 p. Published June 2004.
Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series has been a favorite of mine since about 1997, when a friend lent me a copy of The Light Fantastic. Now a new story has begun on the disc – one that can be found in the Young Adult section (though it proves equally enjoyable for the adult reader).
Tiffany Aching loved her Granny, but always suspected she was something more. Witch was a dangerous word among the rural peoples of The Chalk, but Granny never denied it. But now all that remains of the old shepperdess are memories and the occasional wiff of sheep linament and chewing tobacco on the breeze. Tiffany finds that with her grandmother gone, the hills of The Chalk have need for a new protector. And when her brother is kidnapped by The Faerie Queen, Tiffany must fill those galoshes.
Luckily, Tiffany is not alone. The Nac Mac Feegle, a race of tiny blue faerie with a penchant for drinking, theiving, and fighting, are on her side. Armed with these new allies, a frying pan, a talking frog, and the few witching lessons she’s managed to take from Mrs. Tick, the traveling tutor, Tiffany heads into the Realm of Faerie. There she confront the Queen, whose terrible power to turn nightmares into reality has captured both Tiffany’s brother and the local lord’s son.
Pratchett’s lore inspired characters, witty dialogue, and colorful scenarios drive the story forward with enthusiastic determination. The classic maturation-through-magic Tiffany must endure takes on a new, refreshing twist with Pratchett’s masterful insight into what makes us human. The Wee Free Men joins the other Discworld books without any need to worry about being targeted at a younger audience. The plot may not be as intricate as previous Discworld Novels, but the trademark satire, humor, and moralist lessons remain as strong – and pleasing – as ever. Look forward to my reviews for Pratchett’s two other novels in the Aching series.
Rating: 4 out of 5
Other reviews of The Wee Free Men: Adventures in Reading