My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I’ve been making a more concerted effort to read more books–or listen to more, as the case may be. Up today is another audiobook I listened to: the fourth Tiffany Aching book by Terry Pratchett. I’m a big Pratchett fan, and I loved the Wee Free Men–the first one in this series. For those of you who don’t know, it stars a young (16 year-old) witch and a group of stealing, fighting, Scottish Smurfs (more or less). Like most of Pratchett’s work, it mixes humor and philosophy for an experience that’s fairly unique to Pratchett.
How did this one stand up against the others?
The plot is fairly straightforward. (Something I’m noticing a lot in different books. So often as an author I feel like I need to make a plot twisty turny for the book to be captivating. I think a lot more of success turns out to rest in solid execution. It’s like a great gymnastics routine. Awesome acrobatics are only good if you can nail them consistently.) Anyway–Tiffany is finally becoming “the witch” for her area, earning respect (and a bit of fear) in the region she grew up in. But some presence is turning people against witches–basically making everyone start wanting to have a good pyre and a burning witch in the middle of it. It’s up to Tiffany to figure out what’s wrong and to solve the problem–with a little help from the Feegles (those Smurf guys I mentioned earlier.)
It’s a fun book, though it veers a bit too heavily on the philosophy side of things for my taste (something I’ve noticed happening more and more in Pratchett’s later works). Some of this might have to do with the difference of listening to a book vs. reading it. Again, it’s not that the philosophy is bad–it’s just that I personally like my books to be a bit zippier.
In any case, a very solid outing. If you’re looking for a series that’s good clean fun, you really ought to check this one out. (Start at the beginning.) If you’ve already read the first few, this one’s definitely worth your while. It’s Terry Pratchett–need I say more?