Reviewed by Jeanne
I love Book Bingo. It really pushes me to read outside my usual mysteries and I find books I love that I would not have picked up otherwise. I had a “Read an Award Winning Book” square and just happened to see this book qualified. I hesitated only because this was a second book in a Discworld YA subseries but book one wasn’t readily available. I decided to chance it.
Tiffany Aching, one time Queen of the Nac Mac Feegle aka The Wee Free Men aka Pictsies aka Persons or Persons Unknown and Believed to Be Armed, is on her way to her apprenticeship in magic. Her teacher is Miss Level who is twins. . . well, more precisely, she is one person with two bodies. She’s going to help Tiffany with the basics of being a witch which is not exactly what people might think. Oh, there’s some magic to be sure, but it’s more about caretaking—looking out for those around you, human or otherwise.
But unbeknownst to Tiffany, there is something looking for her, something drawn to her power. The Wee Free Men set out to save their erstwhile queen, which is quite the challenge when one is six inches high and Tiffany is many miles away. The way they resolve this problems makes for much comedy relief as the menace draws closer.
As with all of Pratchett’s work, there is a bit of social commentary along with side-splitting humor and remarkable word-smithing. My favorite from this book is found in an exchange between Tiffany and Miss Level, in which Tiffany is asked if her Granny Aching was a witch. Tiffany doesn’t think so, but after Miss Level asks if Granny helped people, Tiffany responds by saying that her granny made people help each other. The witch responds, “Well, there’s not many of us who are that good.”
This resonates even more with me in these difficult times. Getting people to help each other is indeed a powerful magic.
Yes, I have bought a copy of the first book to read because I really need to know how she defeated the evil with a frying pan.