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Wintersmith [Hardcover]

Terry Pratchett
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Oct. 23 2006 Discworld Novels (Book 35)
Tiffany Aching is a trainee witch — now working for the seriously scary Miss Treason. But when Tiffany witnesses the Dark Dance — the crossover from summer to winter — she does what no one has ever done before and leaps into the dance. Into the oldest story there ever is. And draws the attention of the wintersmith himself.

As Tiffany-shaped snowflakes hammer down on the land, can Tiffany deal with the consequences of her actions? Even with the help of Granny Weatherwax and the Nac Mac Feegle — the fightin’, thievin’ pictsies who are prepared to lay down their lives for their “big wee hag.”

Wintersmith is the third title in an exuberant series crackling with energy and humour. It follows The Wee Free Men.

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From School Library Journal

Grade 6 Up–Winter must die, and Summer must sink into the ground; it is all part of the Story, and Tiffany Aching has danced into the middle of it. On the last day of autumn, Tiffany travels to the woods to witness the Black Morris, the traditional dance of the gods heralding the arrival of winter. In a moment of heedless excitement, her rollicking feet draw her to the music, and she crashes headlong into the Wintersmith. He is fascinated by the girl and proceeds to court her in his own fashion–all the snowflakes are made in her image and giant Tiffany-shaped icebergs appear in the sea. Meanwhile, Tiffany begins to show characteristics of the goddess Summer–the touch of her bare feet makes things grow. All the attention from the Wintersmith would be quite flattering were it not for the deadly winter that threatens the shepherds of the Chalk. As the situation is very dangerous and death is certain, the Nac Mac Feegles (along with an especially lively cheese named Horace) are directly in the fray protecting their big wee hag along with Annagramma, Granny Weatherwax, Miss Tick, and other favorites from past adventures. All are skillfully characterized; even the Wintersmith elicits sympathy as he joyfully buries the world in snow in his attempt to win Tiffany. Replete with dry and intelligent humor, this latest in the series is sure to delight.–Heather M. Campbell, Philip S. Miller Library, Castle Rock, CO
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Here's the third Discworld story for younger readers in a series that began with The Wee Free Men (2003) and continued in A Hat Full of Sky (2004). Despite a stern warning from Miss Treason, the eccentric witch from whom 13-year-old Tiffany Aching is learning her craft, the girl has gone and danced with the wrong men. Having inserted herself into a dark reverse Morris dance in which summer and winter achieve their seasonal balance, Tiffany has attracted the amorous attentions of the Wintersmith. To express his ardor, he brings his chilly powers to bear, replete with Tiffany-shaped snowflakes burying the world in the rising drifts of his infatuation. While Granny Weatherwax, Miss Perspicacia Tick, and sundry veteran witches work with Tiffany to restrain the Wintersmith's zeal, the Wee Free Men set off to fetch a Hero to assist Tiffany, along the way adopting a cantankerous blue cheese. Add an assortment of junior witches-in-training, and yet another rollicking, clever, and quite charming adventure is brought to readers, who will find themselves delighted again--or for the first time--by Pratchett's exuberant storytelling. Holly Koelling
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.

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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Oh, the weather outside is frightful Sept. 28 2006
By Leonard Fleisig TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
but the fire is so delightful. And since we've no place to go. Let it Snow! Let it Snow! Let it Snow!"

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".
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover
Gradually, I'm gaining an appreciation of the magic and charm of Terry Pratchett's writing. For some reason, I managed to get through high school, university and a fair chunk of my adult life being a fantasy fan, without dipping my toe into the Discworld universe. And though this oversight was corrected by reading Wee Free Men, I must confess to being intimidated by Pratchett's considerable body of work. It's almost too much of a good thing, really; where do I start?

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.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Watch out who you dance with! Dec 6 2006
By Friederike Knabe TOP 100 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
Tiffany Aching, the heroine of this wonderful series for young readers (chronologically and mentally), is continuing her apprenticeship to become a witch. She lives with Miss Treason, a rather unusual witch to say the least. Tiffany learns as she goes, does her chores without complaints and realizes that witching is learned by doing. It has little to do with magic, except, maybe, for a bit of "boffo". Now almost 13 years old, she is experiencing new and complex emotions, in particular as they concern "boys". She also has to learn to take responsibility and that one simple little error of judgment can have dramatic consequences, reaching far beyond her own life.

Pratchett has spun another great yarn around witches, young and old, linking it to the previous books in the series and adding new twists. Trying to be useful to Tiffany are the familiar older witches: Granny Weatherwax, Nanny Ogg and Miss Tick. But, with Tiffany in trouble, the Nac Mac Feegles cannot be far away. The tiny blue good-for-trouble creatures have to leave their favorite pastime for a while to help their "wee big hag" to confront the great danger that is potentially engulfing everything. Less helpful and preoccupied with their own lives, competing with each other, but as important to growing up, is the coven of young apprentice witches.

So, what is the great danger? Despite being warned not to, Tiffany joins in the secret dark Morris dance. The opposite from the light cheerful May dance that welcomes the summer, the dark dance announces the beginning of winter. And Tiffany's dance partner is no other than the "elemental" of winter, the Wintersmith. The young girl is torn between fascination and fear by the unlikely suitor who has fallen in love with her.
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