Wintersmith Paperback – Dec 10 2007
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Top Customer Reviews
And snow it does in Terry Pratchett's delightfully funny and thoughtful latest book, Wintersmith. I have to admit that I ordered Wintersmith because it was by Terry Pratchett. I did not notice that it is targeted as a Discworld book for younger readers. Adult fans of Discworld or of the genre generally should ignore this fact and step up and read Wintersmith. It is fun and should appeal to "children of all ages!"
The plot is summarized quite nicely in the book description and I won't waste anyone's time repeating that summary. What isn't summarized is Pratchett's way with words and with characterizations. Here we have Tiffany Aching. Not only is she a 13-year girl entering her angst-filled teen years with a lot to learn about becoming an adult, but she is also learning how to become a witch. The witches in Macbeth sum this situation up nicely when they chanted: "double, double, toil and trouble, fire burn and cauldron bubble." Pratchett has a keen ear for Tiffany and me manages to convey these pangs of adolescence with an empathy that would be too sweet if it wasn't interspersed with humor and a nod and a wink. Pratchett knows how to keep the cauldron bubbling and those bubbles contain some of Pratchett's famous set-pieces.
The Wee Free Men (the miniature version of Cohen the Barbarian multiplied by a factor of five hundred) provide some of those `fun' moments. Two examples bear repeating. At one point early on Daft Wullie goes on (with more than a wee bit of Scottish brogue) about the problem of being married and having to deal with "the Pursin' o' the Lips", the "Foldin' o' the Arms", and "not tae mention the Tappin' o' the Feets".Read more ›
Tiffany Aching has, thus far, been the most successful in leading me into Pratchett's Discworld realm (I've also read The Amazing Maurice and His Incredible Rodents). From Wee Free Men, I was enchanted by this eight-year-old girl who took on the Queen of the Faeries armed only with an iron frying pan in order to save her baby brother and the baron's son, Roland. Tiffany was helped along by the Nac Mac Feegles -- the Wee Free Men of the story -- who are basically a bunch of belligerent, boozing, battling, dumb-and-brave-as-posts Scottish smurfs.
The Nac Mac Feegle take on the task of looking after young Tiffany (the "big wee hag" as they call her) with a fierce loyalty, but it's Tiffany that carries Wee Free Men. She's a fascinating character, carrying all of the vulnerability of her youth but totally unwilling (or possibly unable) to let that burden her. The Nac Mac Feegle are hilarious with their phonetic Scottish dialogue and their too-dumb-to-be-afraid ways, but it's Tiffany who carries all of the doubts, who overcomes all of the adversities she knows should crush her, and who makes all of the interesting decisions as we watch her grow up.Read more ›
Tiffany is currently being trained by Miss Eumenides Treason, a rather frightening 113 year-old witch : so far, she's lasted an impressive three months at the cottage, where most other students only lasted a single night. The house is full of cobwebs, despite its lack of obvious spiders, and everything in black. (Tiffany even has to make her cheeses black. One of them, Horace, is a rather lively cheese - he's a bit like a dairy-related version of Rincewind's luggage. He has his own personality and can move about by himself). Miss Treason's favourite candle-holders are skulls, while legend has it there's a pile of gold in her cellar guarded by a demon.
Tiffany has seen the 'standard' Morris Dance at home : the dancers danced, summer came and she never gave it too much more thought. The Dark Morris, however, is its mirror image : it's not so widely known and when it's danced, the winter arrives. Miss Treason, who has never missed it, says it also has to be witnessed. However, Tiffany is given strict instructions not to talk, to look only at the dancers and - most importantly - NOT to move until the dance has finished. Unfortunately, the beat gets into Tiffany's feet and she can't stop herself joining the dance. Before you can say Tiffany-shaped-snowflakes, the Wintersmith (the elemental in charge of winter) has fallen in love with a certain young witch who danced the Dark Morris with him.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
Another Beautiful yet insightful book in to spirituality and humor. Highly recommend his whole series as an educational guide to spirituality and understanding the world better.Published 12 months ago by P2014
Great continuation of a great series, Pratchett tends to get his characters into situations where you are sure they are going to zig, but then they always seem to zag. Read morePublished 15 months ago by Lynnsey
This is the section of the Discworld series where young readers should not fear to tread. However, even little angels should be warned to tread very carefully when selecting this... Read morePublished on Jan. 11 2008 by Amanda Richards