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I Shall Wear Midnight
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on February 27, 2011
Make no mistake, I am a die-hard Pratchett fan. But this one left me with mixed feelings. The book itself keeps sliding into, then out of, then back into, my donate-to-the-thrift-store pile. I just can't decide.

There are really two stories here. The first one is about an eldritch disembodied evil something that has been awakened out of history and is now hunting down young Tiffany Aching. Sound familiar? Yeah -- Hiver II, aka The Cunning Man.

But what lifts this story into the four-star range is the complex coming-of-age story around Tiffany, and her various mentors, her one-time boyfriend Roland, his new fiancee, the Feegles, their Kelda, the townsfolk, and Tiffany's own relationship with her authority and obligations as a witch. Growing up is a difficult and awkward business when parts of you are very very old, and parts of you are very very young. But Tiffany makes a pretty good fist of it, all in all, and it makes a good read, even if the threatening monster that is supposed to propel the story is a tad on the "generic scary thing" side.

Is it the book that I'd press into the hands of someone I wanted to convert to Pratchett fandom? No. But definitely worth the time if you're already in that group.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Tiffany Aching is the witch of Chalk, which means that she has to do all the messy rural stuff that witches do. But witches aren't always as appreciated as they should be, and Terry Pratchett's "I Shall Wear Midnight" flings the sensible young girl -- and the Nac Mac Feegles -- against a threat that really, really doesn't like witches.

Tiffany is doing the usual witchy rounds in Chalk -- nursing the sick, burying the dead, watching cheese races, and rescuing the occasional girl from an abusive father. Then the local Duke expires after a long illness, and it's up to Tiffany to tell his son Roland and his "watercolour-painting wife-to-be" about what happened.

The problem is, she's being stalked by a creepy eyeless man with a vile psychic stench, who is inspiring people to hate and distrust witches. Suddenly stones are being thrown, accusations are being made, and Tiffany even finds herself in the Ankh-Morpork jail. And if Tiffany doesn't find a way to stop the Cunning Man, things will get very toasty for the witches...

Due to having Alzheimer's disease, Terry Pratchett had to dictate "I Shall Wear Midnight" instead of the usual computer typing. As a result, the book's beginning is very rambly and scattered, as if Pratchett hadn't fully thought out how the plot was going to go -- but after the Duke's death, things start to tighten up and move faster.

And Pratchett hasn't lost any of his delicious wit, whether it's poking fun at cliches (the cackle box!) or sharp dialogue ("Have you boys got no shame?" "I couldnae say, but if we have, it probably belonged tae somebody else"), or his knack for writing truly chilling moments, such as Tiffany seeing the Cunning Man's holes-where-his-eyes-should-be, or the almost palpable darkness as hatred starts to take over people's hearts.

But unlike authors who talk down to "young readers," Pratchett doesn't shy away from realistically dark moments, like Tiffany caring for a girl who was badly beaten by her father until she miscarried. These parts -- and the "rough music" -- are more horrifying than the Cunning Man.

Tiffany herself is a very realistic depiction of a sensible, mature, no-nonsense young lady (like a younger version of Granny Weatherwax). While Pratchett occasionally reminds us that she IS still young (and prone to little stabs of jealousy), she grows up a great deal in this book. And there are some hints of romance with a young guard (who can pronounce the word "marvelous").

"I Shall Wear Midnight" is an excellent -- possibly final -- entry in Terry Pratchett's Tiffany Aching series. It starts out rather slow, but soon kicks into stride.
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on May 29, 2014
Still a wonderful story teller. It's always a treat to see re-occurring characters like Nanny Ogg and the other witches. This is a somewhat darker story then most of his works with The Cunning Man being particularly vile. Of course all the beloved wit is still there and I hardly fail to laugh out-loud many, many times.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Tiffany Aching is the witch of Chalk, which means that she has to do all the messy rural stuff that witches do. But witches aren't always as appreciated as they should be, and Terry Pratchett's "I Shall Wear Midnight" flings the sensible young girl -- and the Nac Mac Feegles -- against a threat that really, really doesn't like witches.

Tiffany is doing the usual witchy rounds in Chalk -- nursing the sick, burying the dead, watching cheese races, and rescuing the occasional girl from an abusive father. Then the local Duke expires after a long illness, and it's up to Tiffany to tell his son Roland and his "watercolour-painting wife-to-be" about what happened.

The problem is, she's being stalked by a creepy eyeless man with a vile psychic stench, who is inspiring people to hate and distrust witches. Suddenly stones are being thrown, accusations are being made, and Tiffany even finds herself in the Ankh-Morpork jail. And if Tiffany doesn't find a way to stop the Cunning Man, things will get very toasty for the witches...

Due to having Alzheimer's disease, Terry Pratchett had to dictate "I Shall Wear Midnight" instead of the usual computer typing. As a result, the book's beginning is very rambly and scattered, as if Pratchett hadn't fully thought out how the plot was going to go -- but after the Duke's death, things start to tighten up and move faster.

And Pratchett hasn't lost any of his delicious wit, whether it's poking fun at cliches (the cackle box!) or sharp dialogue ("Have you boys got no shame?" "I couldnae say, but if we have, it probably belonged tae somebody else"), or his knack for writing truly chilling moments, such as Tiffany seeing the Cunning Man's holes-where-his-eyes-should-be.

But unlike authors who talk down to "young readers," Pratchett doesn't shy away from realistically dark moments, like Tiffany caring for a girl who was badly beaten by her father until she miscarried. These parts -- and the "rough music" -- are more horrifying than the Cunning Man.

Tiffany herself is a very realistic depiction of a sensible, mature, no-nonsense young lady (like a younger version of Granny Weatherwax). While Pratchett occasionally reminds us that she IS still young (and prone to little stabs of jealousy), she grows up a great deal in this book. And there are some hints of romance with a young guard (who can pronounce the word "marvelous").

"I Shall Wear Midnight" is another excellent entry in Terry Pratchett's Tiffany Aching series. It starts out rather slow, but soon kicks into stride.
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