By Terry Pratchett
Published by Doubleday
ISBN 978038561107 7
Tiffany Aching is a witch who takes her job very seriously. After a long apprenticeship, Tiffany, nearly 16, is now the chief witch of all the villages on the Chalk, the lowlands where they live. But her job is far from fun or glamorous.
A witch is a mix of nurse, do-gooder and social worker. She is out there on her own, day after day and night after night, helping people. Cutting old ladies' toenails and looking after sickly babies can be daunting and tiring, for a teenager. But responsibility is responsibility, and Tiffany didn't get special training from Grannies Ogg and Weatherwax just to throw it away.
Tiffany is supported in times of trouble by her friends, the pcket-sized Mac Feegles, whose leader, Rob Anybody, and his crew of argumentative, fighting little blue men also tend to pop up when Tiffany least needs them. She sometimes feels she has the weight of the entire world on her shoulders, but that's the life.
When she is needed, Tiffany puts on her black, pointed hat, gets onto her broomstick and flies to whoever needs her. The fact that a bunch of Mac Feegles might suddenly materialise, hanging onto the broomstick, is something she has learned to put up with.
Witching is hard work for Tiffany, and it seems to be getting harder. Something or someone is spreading ideas around the Chalk that witches are not to be trusted, and Tiffany slowly discovers that a dark force lurking in the shadows is out to destroy her.
I Shall Wear Midnight is the fourth and final novel by the wonderful Terry Pratchett to feature young Tiffany, and it is a delight from start to finish. If you don't already know Tiffany and the bizarre cast of characters who live in her world, you are in for a treat when you meet her.
Pratchett is a genius who writes stories like no one else. His is a fantasy world, but while bookshops' shelves are groaning with novels set in magical lands, Pratchett's voice and imagination are unique in fiction for adults young and old.
Readers who like a good story, a strong heroine and classy writing will devour I Shall Wear Midnight with pleasure. The characters are lively and off-the-wall; the writing is witty and at times laugh-aloud-funny; and the story is full of suspense and atmosphere. Fans who have been waiting for this novel since Wintersmith in 2006 will be glued and smiling from page one.
I Shall Wear Midnight is a brilliant, funny and inventive novel that should on no account be missed. It is imaginative fiction for young adults at its very best.
John Millen can be contacted on MillenBookshelf@aol.com