Monday, July 9, 2012

Review: I Shall Wear Midnight by Terry Pratchett

Story Synopsis:

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 laugh-out-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. (

My Review:

I’ve long been a fan of Discworld, Terry Pratchett’s ginormous 39-volume series about a disc-shaped world hurtling through space on the back of four elephants which ride on the back of a turtle. Prachett has used this world to satire everything from rock music to fantasy canon to the postal service. But for as long as I’ve been a fan, I’ve thought the Tiffany Aching books, the series’ YA off-shoots, were a weakness. They lacked the hilariousness of the main series, and I found Tiffany to be an uninteresting character.

That changed with I Shall Wear Midnight, Tiffany Aching’s most recent installment. Tiffany’s (nearly) grown up, and she’s the head witch of her village. On top of being an authority figure in a town which still sees her as a child, she must confront growing suspicion and prejudice of witches. As always, she’s aided by a horde of Nac Mac Feegles – tiny blue humor-bombs who drink, steal, eat, fight, drink, steal and drink. With Tiffany now a full-fledged teenager, Pratchett tackles darker issues which were absent in her earlier books. He also ups the romance. The Cunning Man, the villain of the piece, is skin-crawlingly creepy. This darker, more adult tone results in what is, without question, the best Tiffany Aching story thus far.

Note to fans: The dial on the Discworld weird-o-meter is cranked way down in this one. You won’t see any man-eating luggage or Grim Squeekers. And the space turtle? What space turtle? Although each individual Discworld book can be read as a stand-alone, new readers may find the depth of detail to be a bit confusing – in 39 books Discworld has become a rich and complex place, and old characters show up by the ton. These are minor issues. Although I Shall Wear Midnight lacks the satirical awesomeness of the rest of Discworld, it more than compensates with creepy villains, infuriating villagers, great story, and a main character that has finally come into her own. I Shall Wear Midnight is an excellent book.


Rating: 4 stars

Rated by: Blair


  1. Excellent review! I too am a fan of Terry Pratchett's Discworld series, and every year I check in to read the new novels. After a trip to the library revealed no new novels, I'm happy to see another novel on my horizon.

    Since I've read the previous Tiffany Aching books, I'm familiar with the character and looking forward to seeing how she has developed. (pun not intended).

    The Wee Free Men hold a fascination for me, and reading about their latest shenanigans is perhaps the greatest drive to pick up this new novel.

    Best wishes, Matthew

    1. Hi Matthew,

      Good news for you then, if you're looking for new Discworlds! "I Shall Wear Midnight" is (only) the 38th book in the series. "Snuff", #39, was released about nine months ago. It's a Sam Vines book. I haven't read it - I'm cheap and waiting for paperback - but I hear good things.