Stop Feegling Around!

I Shall Wear Midnight, by Terry Pratchett – This is the fourth book in the Tiffany Aching series, which is billed as young adult. With Pratchett, I think that means it has chapters, a young protagonist, and darker themes than his other work. This time, Tiffany has to deal with the death of the local baron and the impending nuptials of the new baron, who just happens to have been her childhood sweetheart. As if this weren’t bad enough, she’s also being chased by the Cunning Man, a ghost who spreads fear and hatred of witches. The Nac Mac Feegle, those tiny drunken warriors who speak in a Scottish brogue, are back as well.

There are also some references to the main Discworld series, suggesting that Terry doesn’t really see these young adult books as separate from the others. Not only do Granny Weatherwax, Nanny Ogg, Vimes, Carrot, and Angua all appear; but we also find out what happened to Eskarina Smith from Equal Rites, and Wee Mad Arthur learns of his Feegle heritage By the way, is this the first mention of Wee Mad Arthur being in the Watch? I know he was an exterminator in Feet of Clay, but I think Sergeant Colon might have deputized him? I can’t remember for sure. We do have the precedent of Detritus and Reg Shoe being established characters before becoming policemen, I suppose. Anyway, seeing these old characters again was fun. Now Terry just needs to tell us about the more recent experiences of Conina, Pteppic, and Victor Tugelbend.

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3 Responses to Stop Feegling Around!

  1. vilajunkie says:

    Good review, but I’m surprised you completely left out the part about this being the first Discworld book where the consequences of teen pregnancy, child and spousal abuse, lynching by mobs, and suicide are discussed seriously and happen “onstage” within the first 50 pages of the novel. I know Discworld can get serious at times, but Pratchett really dived into some heavy topics that are normally taboo in YA fantasy fiction and were kind of disturbing to see in a Discworld novel. But on a happier note, I’m pleased to see that he doesn’t fall into the trap of making the rich popular girl a sap or a bitch for the entire storyline like so many teen movies do. It was refreshing to see a character that you think is a total depressing ditz at first but turns out to be very pragmatic and powerful when she’s feeling confident about herself. I wish we got to see Amber explicitly use her latent ability to understand any and all languages and speak in them too despite not having any training for solving a dilemma in the story. And now that I think about it, Rincewind isn’t magical in the traditional sense either, but he has the same ability that Amber does. Interesting… I wonder if Pratchett will make a novel exploring the universal translator type of “magic” as a theme associated with the climax of the story.

    • Nathan says:

      Well, those topics count as “dark themes,” don’t they? It’s kind of weird that his books geared toward young adults tend to be darker and more serious, but I know he’s written about how a lot of traditional children’s stories are pretty messed up, so I guess he’s going for that vibe.

      When the Duchess was first introduced, I figured she was just going to be an irredeemable villain, but Pratchett ended up giving her a somewhat sympathetic treatment as well.

      Since the witches really only appear in the Tiffany books these days, I’m kind of disappointed that Agnes Nitt has yet to show up. I liked her.

      • vilajunkie says:

        Knowing all the events that happened in Tiffany’s books, and how Granny and Nanny had to be away from their normal routines in order to help her out, probably Granny reluctantly and Nanny excitedly put Agnes in charge of Lancre so the kingdom wouldn’t fall apart while they were away. Especially when they were attending the wedding and funeral in the Chalk. LOL

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