Wintersmith by Terry Pratchett
I Shall Wear Midnight by Terry Pratchett (YA)
These are the two most recent Tiffany Aching books. I’ve reviewed the first two earlier. I found these books fairly interesting because Pratchett had said that these novels are aimed at younger readers who might also enjoy the fantasy and humour of Discworld. The first two books had really felt aimed at children, while these two, especially I Shall Wear Midnight, feel like they’re aimed at young adults.
In Wintersmith, Tiffany is staying with the ancient Miss Treason to learn more witchcraft. She’s nearly 13 and although she misses her home, she knows that she’ll never be truly respected as a witch unless she goes away. Everyone’s seen her as a child, so she needs to leave so that they’ll believe that she’s changed. She’s still being watched over by the Feegles, and she has a pen pal in Roland, the Baron’s son. One night, Miss Treason takes her to a Dark Morris dance which leads to the coming of winter. Even though Miss Treason warns Tiffany that she can only watch the dance, Tiffany ends up dancing in it. This means that she actually danced with the Wintersmith, and replaced Summer in the dance. Now the Wintersmith is intrigued by her, and wants to be with her … forever! Also, Summer might never come again, since Tiffany’s replaced her. This book is all about personal responsibility and realizing that actions have consequences. Once Tiffany realizes that she’s made a major mistake, she has to do more than just apologize. She has to fix things.
I Shall Wear Midnight is even darker in tone. Tiffany is nearly 16 and she has to deal with the consequences of what she has done with the Wintersmith. The magic she used then has awoken and called to her a monstrous being whose power is to make witches be hated and feared. This will lead to witches (or women who seem like witches) to be killed by the community that they cared for. This book is much darker in tone than the first three, at least in the unmagical happenings. In the first chapter, Tiffany has to take care of a 13 year old girl whose father beat her so hard that she miscarried. As well, everyone is worried for Tiffany’s wellbeing because (scroll over for spoilers) Roland is getting married to someone else! . Honestly, I think it’s for the best, but it’s a bit of a surprise after their friendship in the other 3 novels. Don't let the darker tone turn you off though. In spite of this its still full of humour and it's exciting to read. And the young girl that Tiffany cares for does manage to escape her father and find a safe place to be.
I really enjoyed both novels. I love that magic isn’t the answer to everything. I love that being a witch mainly involves doing things that other people don’t want to do or don’t think about like making sure a wizened old lady gets her bath or visiting lonely people. I really like that Tiffany always has to deal with the consequences of her actions, and that she is always capable even if she is scared. In my mind, she’s a pretty good role model.