The Wee Free Men
By Terry Pratchett
(Taken from Goodreads)
“Another world is colliding with this one,” said the toad. “All the monsters are coming back.”
“Why?” said Tiffany.
“There’s no one to stop them.”
There was silence for a moment.
Then Tiffany said, “There’s me.”
Armed only with a frying pan and her common sense, Tiffany Aching, a young witch-to-be, is all that stands between the monsters of Fairyland and the warm, green Chalk country that is her home. Forced into Fairyland to seek her kidnapped brother, Tiffany allies herself with the Chalk’s local Nac Mac Feegle – aka the Wee Free Men – a clan of sheep-stealing, sword-wielding, six-inch-high blue men who are as fierce as they are funny. Together they battle through an eerie and ever-shifting landscape, fighting brutal flying fairies, dream-spinning dromes, and grimhounds – black dogs with eyes of fire and teeth of razors – before ultimately confronting the Queen of the Elves, absolute ruler of a world in which reality intertwines with nightmare. And in the final showdown, Tiffany must face her cruel power alone…
In a riveting narrative that is equal parts suspense and humor, Carnegie Medalist Terry Pratchett returns to his internationally popular Discworld with a breathtaking tale certain to leave fans, new and old, enthralled.
This book was one recommended to me by my partner. I had it sitting on my TBR for a minute. So I finally decided to read it. It took awhile because I fell into a reading slump in the middle of it because of all that personally stuff I have discussed. I returned to the book though to finish it because I was enjoying it, even if I had some issues in my own life. I knew that I wanted to complete it and I did! This is the first of his YA books in the “Discworld” series. I had previously read “The Colour of Magic” and “Equal Rites” within the series, so I knew that sometimes Pratchett’s stories can be a bit goofy in spots. This did not disappoint.
The overall story is about Tiffany Aching and the journey she goes on in her discovery of being a witch. It also entails her baby brother being kidnapped by someone. Then sprinkle in a bit of the title characters and you have comedic gold. This is a funny adventure type book that showcases that almost anyone can be a hero with a little bravery inside of them. That being different isn’t always so bad either. Also that anyone from anywhere can be a witch!
This book does take its time getting to the main action of the plot, but that journey to there isn’t upsetting or drawn out. It is part of the build-up towards discovery. I felt that I went on a journey with this main character. Figuring out who she is and wants to be. Also learning that she may not be the same as other people. I can’t think of another book that I have read where I felt like I was actually on a journey with the character, so that was an interesting element to this book, for me. I enjoyed it.
I love the way Pratchett weaves a story together. He has this innate ability to make you love a character that sometimes you wouldn’t necessarily root for. Like there is a moment where you clearly understand that Tiffany does not love her brother, instead she just wants the child back because he is HERS! That is a level of selfishness that I normally could not get behind, but I realized that was a chief characteristic of the witches within discworld. I was there for it when I realized that. I was there for the fact that this character was flawed and didn’t necessarily feel totally bad about it. Pratchett made you like Tiffany, regardless of what flaws she has. That takes a master craftsman to be able to do.
If you are worried that this is a part of a series, do not be. This is the start of a young adult series that he was doing in this world. This means he recognized that he couldn’t throw all the old stuff at it, so it is pretty approachable for new readers. I do not know about the subsequent YA books that he has made, but this one definitely felt like a first book in a journey for the Tiffany character. Though I was not left feeling like I had to read more, if I didn’t want to continue the journey. It was a complete story, which is nice. No cliffhanger. I was happy with this book, which is why I give it a sold 4 magic balls. It was definitely not my favorite read ever, which is where I leave my 5 stars reserved for, but it is definitely worth the time that it took to read it.
“The Wee Free Men” is just one book in a series of books. “Equal Rites” is another of these books. Look for “Discworld” in a search to find them all!