Wednesday, September 11, 2013

The Wee Free Men by Terry Pratchett

"Another world is colliding with this one," said the toad. "All the monsters are coming back."

"Why?" said Tiffany.

"There's no one to stop them."

There was silence for a moment.

Then Tiffany said, "There's me."


Armed only with a frying pan and her common sense, Tiffany Aching, a young witch-to-be, is all that stands between the monsters of Fairyland and the warm, green Chalk country that is her home. Forced into Fairyland to seek her kidnapped brother, Tiffany allies herself with the Chalk's local Nac Mac Feegle - aka the Wee Free Men - a clan of sheep-stealing, sword-wielding, six-inch-high blue men who are as fierce as they are funny. (adapted from Goodreads)


The Wee Free Men is my first experience with Terry Pratchett and the famous, and seemingly endless, Discworld series. The Tiffany Aching books are a sort of series within a series--four books (#30, #32, #35, and #38) within Discworld.  


This was such a lovely, magical, funny, wonderful book. I started reading it at night while I was getting Greyson settled down to the sleep and I quickly got settled on the Chalk with characters like Granny Aching, Tiffany's tough-as-nails grandmother who keeps peace on the Chalk. The Wee Free Men clan were quite funny and a wonderful band of sidekicks as Tiffany traverses a dreamy, sometimes nightmarish, landscape. 

This book is apparently meant for a young audience (middle-grade to YA maybe?), but I certainly enjoyed it for its adventure and the old-world feeling of magic. It's one of those books you'll probably like if you're into Harry Potter or Neil Gaiman.


When I posted on Facebook that I'd read this book, a good friend of mine from college and a now-colleague wrote, "Wonderful book. Outstanding. The Tiffany Aching series should be required reading for every 16-year old female in the US." 

And I'm inclined to agree. Part of what makes this book (and the rest of the series, apparently) so great, is that Tiffany is remarkably ordinary. While she's a witch-to-be, most of what being a witch requires is a sense of responsibility, a keen eye for detail, and a determination to do what needs to be done. It's a stunning lesson in responsibility and integrity. Without being too preachy. Tiffany is industrious and resourceful and awesome. 

There was a great deal of humor in this book, but there were also moments that gave me goosebumps with their truth and heart. Such a nice mix, all in one shortish volume.

I'm very much looking forward to the next books in the Tiffany Aching series within Discworld:
  • A Hat Full of Sky (#32)
  • Wintersmith (#35)
  • I Shall Wear Midnight
If you're looking for a quick, fun read that still feels significant, pick this one up. 



Pub. Date: May 2004
Publisher: HarperCollins
Format: E-book
ISBN: 9780060012380
Source: Gifted to me




18 comments:

  1. I started with Terry Pratchett's Monstrous Regiment, which is about a young woman a bit like Tiffany in a country torn by war - who decides she has to do something. It was also a wonderful introduction that left me well and truly hooked, as my bookshelves will attest. I've enjoyed introducing my nieces to Tiffany too (and watching the books spread through the family).

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    1. I need to get on those! I'm torn about whether or not to hop around to these different mini-series or just start from the beginning.

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  2. Thank you! I've been trying to decide if I wanted to start with the Death series of Discworld or Tiffany Aching one (I've only read one Discworld book--The Amazing Maurice and his Educated Rodents--and it's sort of stand alone), but you've just made up my mind! Tiffany Aching it is!

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    1. Yay! Glad I could help you decide. This one was just lovely!

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  3. I'm slightly embarrassed to admit that I've never read any Pratchett. I don't even own something he's written which seems bizarre. I might have to start here, though!

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    1. Oh don't be embarrassed! I own one more Pratchett--Good Oments, that he wrote with Neil Gaiman. Really looking forward to that one and to more in the Tiffany Aching series.

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  4. I haven't read any Pratchett, either, but my best friend LOVES his writing. I agree with Brooke, I may have to start with this one! :)

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    1. Definitely! It's a super fun place to start.

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  5. The thing with reading Pratchett is that I then immediately rip off Pratchett, a lot. Ach, scunners.

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    1. LOL, Stu! I can see how that might happen.

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  6. I notice you have Stockholm Octavo in your stack - same here! Eleanor Brown (author of The Weird Sisters) highly recommended it and I won it through a giveaway she did a year ago. Talk about shelf sitting!
    I've been trying to get an ARC of Havisham with no success! Argh. Hope you enjoy it!

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    1. I do! It's been there far too long (months!). I love Eleanor -- such a nice lady. Sorry no luck on Havisham! I'm hoping it lives up to my expectations. We'll see!

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  7. Wee Free Men has been my first and only Terry Pratchett so far, too, but I liked it a lot. I listened to it on audio. Thanks for reminding me that I should look for the next Tiffany Aching book!

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    1. It was fun, and I bet the audio was great! I need to look for the other books the next time I'm in the used bookstore.

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  8. I LOVE this series. I think Tiffany is such a fantastic character. All of the characters are fantastic. I truly believe Terry Pratchett is a genius at creating characters that are kind and strong and great role models.

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    1. She is! And yes, they all are. I can't wait to read more of his work.

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  9. I am at work, barely supressing a squeal of delight. I AM SO HAPPY YOU LOVED IT!!!! BECAUSE I LOVE IT!

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