Bibliophile reviews Wintersmith by Terry Pratchett

Year published: 2006
Genre: fantasy (aimed at young readers but accessible to all ages)
Setting & time: Discworld, whenever

The Story:
Tiffany Aching (heroine of The Wee Free Men and A Hat Full of Sky) is almost thirteen and is still in training to learn witchcraft. This time it's Miss Treason she is working for, a formidable old witch who is both loved and feared by the people she looks after. But old doesn't necessarily mean wise, and when Miss Treason refuses to tell Tiffany the significance of a dance they witness one dark autumn night, Tiffany ends up participating in the dance and catching the eye of the wintersmith, the powerful spirit of winter. But that is not her only problem. There is Horace, and Anagramma, and the Nac Mac Feegles, and Roland. What's a girl to do? Tiffany handles the problems in her own unique fashion, but I don't think I will say any more or it will spoil the fun of finding out for yourself.

Technique and plot:
The book is clearly written for younger readers. You see it, not so much in the language, but in the intertextual connections which are far fewer and more obvious than in the adult Discworld books. There is plenty for older readers to enjoy, however, like the sly references to other Discworld books that pop up when least expected. It is fun to be allowed to see old friends like Granny and Nanny through the eyes of someone from outside Lancre, and while they remain firmly themselves, new facets are revealed that their fans will appreciate.

As always, humour is never far away, and while the story gets quite dark at times, there is always a glint of hope for Tiffany and the others even when things look very bleak. There are sub-plots which tie neatly into the main plot as it progresses, and, as usual, Pratchett has not taken the easy way out and resolved them all with smiley happy endings, and some are not completely resolved at all. In fact, you get the feeling that there is at least one more Tiffany book in the offing (yay!).

I only have one gripe about the book: the book itself (the physical object) is in a different format than the previous two Tiffany books. I can see why – it's 400 pages long and a book in the smaller format of the other two would be as thick as a brick, but it's still annoying.

Rating: Another rich and entertaining tale from the master of funny fantasy. 4+ stars.

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Anonymous said…
Thank you so much for mentioning this, I didn't know there was a third Tiffany book available. I loved 'The Wee Free Men' and 'Hat Full of Sky' and I've just ordered a copy. Thanks again! - Sheri from RP
Bibliophile said…
You're welcome:-)

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