It starts with whispers.
Then someone picks up a stone.
Finally, the fires begin.
When people turn on witches, the innocents suffer. . . .
Tiffany Aching has spent years studying with senior witches, and now she is on her own. As the witch of the Chalk, she performs the bits of witchcraft that aren't sparkly, aren't fun, don't involve any kind of wand, and that people seldom ever hear about: She does the unglamorous work of caring for the needy.
But someone - or something - is igniting fear, inculcating dark thoughts and angry murmurs against witches. Aided by her tiny blue allies, the Wee Free Men, Tiffany must find the source of this unrest and defeat the evil at its root - before it takes her life. Because if Tiffany falls, the whole Chalk falls with her.
Chilling drama combines with laugh-out-loud humor and searing insight as beloved and bestselling author Terry Pratchett tells the high-stakes story of a young witch who stands in the gap between good and evil.
©2010 Terry and Lyn Pratchett (P)2010 HarperCollins Publishers
I so love The Discworld, and even more so the witches that truly rule it. When though this book is aimed at young adults, there is nothing juvenile in the writing.
Having listened to the first three Tiffany Aching stories, I really enjoyed seeing her growing up and becoming - if not an adult, something close to one. The portrait of her dealing with her responsibilities as the Witch of the Chalk was really charming.
Terry Pratchett's books range from OK to brilliant. The first Tiffany Aching story (The Wee Free Men) is absolutely brilliant. This one is good, but just can't quite reach those heights. It's got all the things that make a Pratchett story good: solid social commentary wrapped in a humorous story, laugh-out-loud fun, characters who seem to step out of the page, and characters who are charmingly larger than life. And while it was a quite enjoyable listen, it didn't quite pull off the magic (no pun intended) brilliance that his best stories can achieve.
A good reader has different voices for different characters, and tones of voice which express the emotions of the story. But Stephen Briggs is beyond a good reader, he's spectacular. He's right up there with Jim Dale in my pantheon of brilliant readers. When Mr. Briggs is reading, the entire world around me becomes the story - so real I think I can reach out and touch it.
This story is full of fun characters, so it depends on what kind of dinner I was going to. If it was a dinner party, with plenty of people and lots of fun, I'd definitely take Nanny Ogg. She's a minor character in this story, but her zest for life would turn any gathering into a party.
And if it was a small group, I'd take Preston the guard out to dinner. I love the way he thinks about the sounds and feel of words.
The late Terry Pratchett...I'll miss him.
Sir Terry is full of humorous quips and anecdotes, so when I read a story as dark as this one, it tends to make me proceed cautiously. I honestly have no idea how Tiffany didn't beat the daylights out of everyone, but I am happy I stuck it out through the blacker bits. Also, I cried at the end. Hooray for the best witch ever!
Saddened that there will be no more additions to this wonderful story. Rip Terry Pratchett
Fans of the Tiffany Aching books will no doubt enjoy this next progression in her journey to adulthood and role as witch of the Chalk. For such a centered and mature young lady at the outset of the book, Tiffany still has much to learn, but as always, she is more than ready for the challenge.
For those who have read other Discworld novels, you may enjoy the cameos of the City Watch and the triumphant return of Eskarina Smith as much as I did. Esk was first introduced and last seen in the third Discworld novel, "Equal Rites." As a point of reference, this novel is the 38th in the Discwold, so you can imagine how nice it is to see her return!
However, despite my happiness with the novel as a whole, I did take issue with the central villain, the Cunning Man. His motivations felt obscure and his attacks random. And while this may indeed have been intentional, perhaps as an echo of prejudice in general, the resolution did not seem satisfying. To compare, the Hiver in "A Hat Full of Sky" had a similar role in the novel, but had an arc resolution that both motivated and enriched the Hiver itself, but also Tiffany. With the Cunning Man, I didn't get the same sense of thematic connection.
Criticisms of the plot aside, Stephen Briggs continues to do a wonderful job narrating the Discworld, especially the Nac Mac Feegles.
All in all, I would highly recommend this to fans of Tiffany Aching (who would probably not even need more of a reason to listen to this anyway) but would not suggest anyone start their journey in the Discworld here.
I don't know I don't get to read much these days
The Wee Free Men, its another Tiffany Aching book, she's all grown up, and its hard to compare Sir Terry to any other author, he's just so unique.
I prefer Stephen Briggs for my Discworld books if I can at all manage it. He just nails it.
Not particular, its interesting, fun to listen to, and for re-reads it makes a great listen until you fall asleep book. .
We loved the narrators performance. Our lives are the richer for Stephen Briggs' Feegles (sp? the trouble with listening instead of reading). I could have done without the music between chapters, but that is a minor complaint in an overall delightful experience.
Tiffany is the best female character we've come across in literature. She doesn't rely on some powers granted to her out of the blue, but on her own good sense, courage, sense of duty, and kindness
We love the whole series and will look for more books narrated by Stephen Briggs
Tiffany, Rob Anybody, Granny Aching (even posthumously).
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