I have made, over the past twenty years, many friends among the inhabitants of the wacky disc shaped world sailing through space on the backs of four elephants, carried in their turn by a giant turtle Starting with Rincewind, then with Sam Vimes and his Ankh Morpork guards, Lord Vetinari, the wizards of the Unseen University, the banana loving Librarian, the sentient multi legged Luggage, Moist von Lipwig I could go on and on, but what I wanted to say that, out of all of them, I believe Tiffany Aching is the one that I love and admire the most.
Technically, the Tiffany books are Y.
, and have little connection with the rest of the series mainly the presence of Granny Weatherwax as the chief witch on Discworld, not that witches have ranks or care much about authority In her first outing, Tiffany Aching is too young to be a witch, but that didn t stopped her from doing what needs to be done and stopping the Queen of the Faeries from invading her beloved Chalk With the help of the Pictsies, Tiffany demonstrated that the most important talent a witch needs is to keep her eyes open and use her common sense, just like her beloved Granny Aching used to do.
In this second book, young Tiffany must leave the Chalk and be apprenticed to a experienced witch who can show her how to develop and control her native talents, beyond making cheese a sort of going to Hogwarts, but in a private tutoring form Her destination is described asMiss Level, Cottage in the Woods Near the Dead Oak Tree in Lost Man s Lane, High Overhang, If Out Leave Letters in Old Boot by Door To complicate matters, Tiffany is unknowingly chased by a space entity a hiver that homes in on users of magic like a guided missile , trying to lodge into their brains and subvert their will Just when she needs their help most, she must leave the Pictsies back in the Chalk, under the supervision of their new hive queenThe Nac Mac Feegle also called Pictsies, The Wee Free Men, The Little Men, and Person or Persons Unknown, Believed to be Armed they are the most dangerous of the fairy races, particularly when drunk They love drinking, fighting, and stealing, and will in fact steal anything that is not nailed down If it is nailed down, they will steal the nails as well The average Feegle man Feegle women are rare see later is about six inches high, red haired, his skin turned blue with tattoos and the dye called woad, and, since you re this close, he s probably about to hit you These little blue scoundrels were responsible for most of the fun I ve had with the first Aching novel, so I hoped they will not be absent for long Indeed, I don t think I reveal a major spoiler if I mention that Rob Anything, Slightly Sane Georgie, Daft Wullie, Awf ly Wee Billy and their pished mates will soon follow Tiffany into her exile, up to their usual hilarious and boisterous antics.
I wouldn t love the Tiffany books so much if they were only about having fun They prove in fact that Young Adult books can and should deal with the most important issues of self and destiny as the so called literary fiction The lessons Tiffany learns in High Overhang will serve her for a lifetimeAlways face what you fear Have just enough money, never too much, and some string Even if it s not your fault, it s your responsibility Witches deal with things Never stand between two mirrors Never cackle Do what you must do Never lie, but you don t always have to be honest Never wish Especially don t wish upon a star, which is astronomically stupid Open your eyes, and then open your eyes again I don t intend to go into details about Tiffany s adventures in the company of her tutor, Miss Level, or about the rivalries with the other young witches in training Most of them can be boiled down to the choice the young girl has to make between being true to her inner core of values and the wish to conform, to be popular and appreciated Even the part of the chasing hiver is used to reveal the fact that the demons we are often fighting are of our own making, uncomfortable truths about ourselves that we pretend we know nothing about, like streaks of meanness and selfishness and greed.
My favorite passage in the book is rather long, but it is an important illustration of the offbeat definition Pratchett gives for superpowers and how they are best deployed In answer to why Granny Weatherwax sent her to a rather dumpy and unimpressive research witch for training, Tiffany must chew on thisBecause she likes people She cares about em Even the stupid, mean, drooling ones, the mothers with the runny babies and no sense, the feckless and the silly and the fools who treat her like some kind of servant Now that s what I call magic seein all that, dealin with all that, and still goin on It s sitting up all night with some poor old man who s leavin the world, taking away such pain as you can, comfortin their terror, seein them safely on their way and then cleanin em up, layin em out, making em neat for the funeral, and helpin the weeping widow strip the bed and wash the sheets which is, let me tell you, no errand for the fainthearted and stayin up the next night to watch over the coffin before the funeral, and then going home and sitting down for five minutes before some shouting angry man comes bangin on your door cuz his wife s havin difficulty givin birth to their first child and the midwife s at her wits end and then getting up and fetching your bag and going out again We all do that, in our own way, and she does it better n me, if I was to put my hand on my heart That is the root and heart and soul and center of witchcraft, that is The soul and center It may sounds preachy here, out of context, but I believe the novel argues in a fun and moving way the case for treating people with kindness and for using your common sense in dealing with problems The title becomes explicit later in the novel, as Tiffany has to choose what kind of pointy hat she will use now that she has been acknowledged by her brethren a fashionable star spangled one from the best shop in the village Or Granny Weatherwax s old, battered hat that she won in a prestige competition or better yet, one that she will fashion herself from everything that is valuable and close to her heart Until I get to read the next Tiffany Aching book, I will say goodbye to her, and sadly to her creator Sir Terry Pratchett, with one last quote that will serve well as a metaphor for why we are reading books, and with my gratitude for the journeys of wonder they have had me embark uponWhy do you go away So that you can come back So that you can see the place you came from with new eyes and extra colors And the people there see you differently, too Coming back to where you started is not the same as never leaving.
The words ran through Tiffany s mind as she watched the sheep, and she found joy at the new lambs, at life, at everything Joy is to fun what the deep seea is to a puddle It s a feeling inside that can hardly be contained.
I ve come back she announced to the hills Better than I went Why do you go away So that you can come back So that you can see the place you came from with new eyes and extra colours And the people there see you differently too Coming back to where you started is not the same as never leaving First read 8th June, 2013 4 Stars.
Second read 23rd July, 2018 4 Stars The second of the Tiffany Aching series on Discworld came quickly after the first, with only one other Discworld novel separating them Tiffany is now a few years older and is off to start learning Witching from Miss Level, a witch living in a cottage in the middle of the woods, far away from the open land of the Chalk where Tiffany knows she belongs.
We meet Tiffany once and she s much the same as she was in The Wee Free Men, headstrong and wonderful, wanting to learn, needing to find things out and general being an amazing little girl indeed.
In A Hat Full of Sky, however, Tiffany gets the Pratchett treatment even than she had before, and that includes a bag full o flaws put right in to her Tiffany isn t perfect and that s why she s so wonderful She s a little plain no funny coloured hair or differently coloured eyes,thank youand, whilst she has extraordinary witching power, she s got hang ups just like the rest of us Tiffany can be a little childish, a little selfish, a little annoying, a little big headed and a little too proud She s fully developed and three dimensional and that is the freshest of breaths of fresh air It was too easy to slip into careless little cruelties because you had power and other people hadn t, too easy to think other people didn t matter much, too easy to think that ideas like right and wrong didn t apply to you The plot is pretty much standard Discworld with a childlike twist considering this is a children s book at it s heart The Wee Free Men of the previous book the Nac Mac Feegle or pictsies to you return, but this time they don t have a huge and central starring role, and that gives the book a better outlook and readability Whilst the Nac Mac Feegle are a great addition, in The Wee Free Men it always felt like they were taking over the entire book A Hat Full of Sky is also bolstered by a bigger starring role from Granny Weatherwax and it s here you can clearly see the similarities between Tiffany and Granny, and you get the feeling that Tiffany is the younger version of Granny that Terry always wanted to write about in depth They have a kinship about them beyond the we both of us are witches and the general sharing of power Whilst no one could ever hold a candle to Granny, Tiffany certainly has a certain edge to her, and it s shown here very well.
This is technically a young adult book and yes, I do read grown up books, I just went on a bit of a YA tear after my Powell s extravaganza , but the only reason for so labeling it is that the main character is a teenager It is hard to explain how great this book is if you haven t read any Pratchett, but, then again, why haven t you read any Pratchett His books about the Discworld started out a pun filled parodies of fantasy novels, and have evolved into satires on our modern world that usually leave me with profound thinking to do afterward that most serious fiction A Hat Full of Sky is a sequel to The Wee Free Men and is about Tiffany Aching s apprenticeship as a witch, far from her home on the chalk country It s also about being true to yourself, whoever you are and accepting the good of yourself with the bad, and trusting your instincts But it isn t hokey, or preachy, just true And funny as hell I will never stop laughing at the Wee Free Men.
So, go out and read some Pratchett, by gum Start with the Wee Free Men, even if they are kids books , and then bust out the rest of the Discworld You won t regret it.
Freakin Terry Pratchett rules What in the world have i been doing with all my life I have so many books to read However i sit inspired by the bravery of Rob Anybody and, therefore, i shall fling myself head first with no helmetone fearsome book at a time A Hatful of Sky is a follow up to The Wee Free Men It picks up just where the other left off and continues Terry s incredibly witty fantasy which clearly stand a bar above other fanatsy.
It s been two years since Tiffany Aching and her allies, the Wee Free Men, stormed Fairyland, knocked the Queen out with a frying pan, and rescued both Tiffany s little brother Wentworth and Roland, son of the Baron of the Chalk.
This exploit brought Tiffany to the notice of the Witches, under the leadership of the formidable Mistress Weatherwax Now they ve arranged for her to be apprenticed to Miss Level, who lives in the mountains and is considered a bit odd even by witch standards.
Tiffany learns that there s precious little magic involved in her world s version of witchcraft spells and potions are left to wizards, who tend to be pompous buffoons Instead, witchcraft mostly consists of midwifery, hospice care, herbal lore and medicine, helping out with children and farm animals, standing up to local bullies, and settling village disputes Our heroine finds all this unworthy of her time If you ve read the previous book, you know this is very unlike Tiffany.
Is this just a prelude to teen angst, or is there something sinister at work And how did Tiffany become open to this malign influence Was it Annagramma and the other silly witch girls her own age, who have become preoccupied with wizardly trappings and might have summoned a spirit beyond their strength Or did Tiffany inadvertently do this to herself with her new trick of hopping in and out of her body with a word Whatever s afoot, Rob Anybody and his clan of fearsome Feegles are on the case They even have a plan, consisting of a paper scrap with PLN scribbled on it.
Content Advisory Violence The creatures taken over by the hiver generally wind up dying violently, so bent on power that their fellows see no choice but to destroy them For instance, all that remained of Professor Bustle could fit in a mason jar view spoiler The hiver, working through Tiffany, kills one of Miss Level s bodies hide spoiler This is the second book in the Tiffany Aching series and it has some really memorable moments in it Granny Weatherwax plays a much prominent role here too Before I get into the review, the obligatory free plug I write too Mainly fantasy and folklore Right Apologies for that Onto the review I read this to my daughter Emily Ever since I told her about the Wee Free Men she was fascinated and after reading her the first book she s a convert We ve already started Wintersmith I think she enjoys me reading these because of my enthusiastic, if flawed portrayals of pictsie scottish accents.
The book starts some time after the conclusion of The Wee Free Men Tiffany has been assigned to a well meaning witch called Miss Level She s still at home at the start of the book and the initial chapters follow her on her journey to Miss Level s cottage Before she sets out though she makes a grave mistake Lacking a decent mirror, Tiffany has learned that she can study her appearance by stepping out of her body This seems to be quite a respectable feat for any witch, but Tiffany is able to do this without any training, though this leaves her vulnerable because she s never even been taught the dangers of leaving her body let alone how to protect herself.
The act attracts the attention of a Hiver A parasitic mind which is as old as time itself It latches itself onto the minds of the powerful, gradually wearing away their inner self until there is nothing of the person left then the Hiver leaves to find a new host You can t fight a Hiver, and they can t be killed Much to the dismay of Rob Anybody and the Feegles Fortunately Tiffany leaves before the Hiver can catch up with her However the Feegles are aware that the Hiver is after Tiffany Jeannie the Kelda to this end orders Rob to take a band of Feegles and save Tiffany.
While Tiffany travels with Miss Perspicia Tick on a cart, the Feegles take a unorthodox approach to locomotion After stealing a bundle of old clothes off washing lines, they stuff the clothes with themselves and try to pass themselves off as a human in order to take cars and horses and so on Obviously to hilarious effect The whole debacle is typical of Feegle thinking and amusing to say the least When Tiffany gets to Miss Level s cottage she finds Miss Level is interesting in that she has two bodies which work in unison Miss Level also has the opposite of a poltergeist she has a spirit that meticulously tidies up.
After settling in Tiffany soon gets to meet the other local young witches who have been apprenticed in the area Notably Petulia and the somewhat despotic Annagramma After being mocked by Annagramma having told them about her imaginary hat given to her by Granny Weatherwax, she returns home to Miss Level Again she leaves her body, but the Hiver has caught up with her and enters her body first.
At first Tiffany doesn t realise anything is wrong The Hiver grants her immeasurable power and kills one of Miss Level s bodies and embarks upon a magical rampage turning shop assistants into frogs Which creates a massive floating pink blob of spare person because of the size difference euch And She immediately becomes feared and respected as she gains the ability to use powerful magic on a whim.
Luckily the Nac Mac Feegle catch up and decide to use the Craw Step to enter her mind and fight the Hiver out This endeavour doesn t go well until they decide to use some strong smells from Tiffany s past to bring out the real her This works and the Hiver is pushed out but it doesn t give up easily At this point Tiffany enlists the help of Granny Weatherwax, who begins by helping her right some of the wrongs she caused while she was possessed by the Hiver Then they head into the mountains and Tiffany begins to learn a little about borrowing Granny tells her to call her Granny, something which it s inferred means Granny is showing her a great deal of respect.
Granny and Tiffany then lead the Hiver to the witch trial Not what you d expect Think Sheepdog Trials for witches than tieing toes to thumbs and throwing in ponds etc There, Tiffany learned about the Hiver and that it shelters in people s minds to escape from the world It doesn t actually understand the harm it s causing The Hiver wants to die, Tiffany helps it by opening a door and leading it to the desert It s unclear where they are or what happens, but this is clearly the realm of the dead The Hiver is told to cross the desert with other lonely spirits wandering the black sand of the desert Terrifyingly, while this works, the door vanishes, leaving Tiffany stranded in the desert Death appears and tells her to make her way across the desert to the mountains with the rest of the dead Luckily at this point Granny Weatherwax opens a new door and pulls her back into the world of the living The witch trials ensue, though of course none of the acts are half as impressive as Tiffany and Granny s show of removing a Hiver from the world There s an unspoken respect of Tiffany Granny They don t actually enter the trials, because they don t need to It also seems Granny Weatherwax has found a young, but kindred spirit in Tiffany So much so that she gives Tiffany her hat.
Later Tiffany returns the hat to Granny because she wants to make her own hat She returns to the chalk as the witch of the land and returns to Granny Achings hut where she decides to make the sky her hat, like her Granny before her So the verdict This is a weird book I have no idea what a Hiver is or where the inspiration for it came from I seem to recall trying to research this a long time ago but don t recall ever getting to the bottom of it It s one of the many, many questions I d have asked the late great Sir Terry Pratchett if I d ever had the good fortune to happenstance upon him in a pub The battle of wills between Tiffany and the Hiver was very satisfying though, and the effects the Hiver has on Tiffany when it seizes her were really enjoyable too Especially seeing Annagramma getting some comeuppance and being taught some humility You can really feel Tiffany and Granny getting close in this book Tiffany is clearly way ahead of her peers in witchcraft and she understands Granny better than probably even most of the older witches Great scenes at the end The trials were a really fun setting and it s always a pleasure to make the acquaintance of death He s definitely a favorite character in the Discworld series His appearance here is brief but poignant The scene of the door and the black desert is really eerie It s fantastic writing Really imaginative and expertly portrayed All in all, this is a really hard book to fault.
The Nac Mac Feegles hae got me tawkin lae em Crivens It s a wee bittie story o hags right enough, the big wee hag o the hills bein the verra center o it all, but it may gi ye a bad case o the thinkin.
I dinna like tae stop readin To the the Bigjobs Discworld just keeps getting better and better Keep a sharp eye out and you will see many references to other stories hidden in the telling.
I can not seem to convince anyone to try Discworld.
Damndest thing, I would think that his great stories, great insight, and amazing humor would be an easy sell, but I can t convince most readers I know to so much as read the first page in my copy of The Colour of Magic, even if they re voracious fantasy readers.
Maybe it s the fact that I use the words fantasy and funny in the same sentence Most fantasy writers are the most humorless artists imaginable, so it seems like the dissonance is too strong for most people to even hear what I m saying A Hat Full of Sky is Pratchett s second Tiffany Aching book and his third young adult novel At this point I can barely determine how this series is different from other books in the Discworld series other than the fact that it s protagonist is herself a young adult Most young adults who enjoy this book would probably like the rest of the series since Discworld is smarter and vastly less appalling than most YA fiction.
All of the elements from the last book are present here Little blue brownie creatures called the Nac Mac Feegles who belligerently defend Tiffany, a new magical threat to be dealt with, and Pratchett s observations about the way witches think The key additions are other young witches Tiffany has to deal with and Granny Weatherwax.
The other witches work quite well as a foil, because you can t very well discuss a young girl without discussing what crap teenagers are to each other It s just life, and he handles it well.
In the second half of the book Weatherwax becomes a central figure What always amuses me is that different Discworld books portray the same character differently In the witch series Weatherwax is a main character and often portrayed as cantankerous and difficult, whereas in the Aching books she s viewed basically as a god among witches It s a fun touch for the regular readers, and she s an interesting character to play off the quietly logical Tiffany.
Pratchett is getting very good in his mystical books and making the climax less trippy and dream logic stuffed The pacing was top notch, and the book flowed well as a whole.
If I haven t made this abundantly clear, you should be reading this series Right now DO IT