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Discworld #38

I Shall Wear Midnight

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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.

349 pages, Hardcover

First published September 2, 2010

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About the author

Terry Pratchett

657 books40.6k followers
Born Terence David John Pratchett, Sir Terry Pratchett sold his first story when he was thirteen, which earned him enough money to buy a second-hand typewriter. His first novel, a humorous fantasy entitled The Carpet People, appeared in 1971 from the publisher Colin Smythe.

Terry worked for many years as a journalist and press officer, writing in his spare time and publishing a number of novels, including his first Discworld novel, The Color of Magic, in 1983. In 1987, he turned to writing full time.

There are over 40 books in the Discworld series, of which four are written for children. The first of these, The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents, won the Carnegie Medal.

A non-Discworld book, Good Omens, his 1990 collaboration with Neil Gaiman, has been a longtime bestseller and was reissued in hardcover by William Morrow in early 2006 (it is also available as a mass market paperback - Harper Torch, 2006 - and trade paperback - Harper Paperbacks, 2006).

In 2008, Harper Children's published Terry's standalone non-Discworld YA novel, Nation. Terry published Snuff in October 2011.

Regarded as one of the most significant contemporary English-language satirists, Pratchett has won numerous literary awards, was named an Officer of the British Empire (OBE) “for services to literature” in 1998, and has received honorary doctorates from the University of Warwick in 1999, the University of Portsmouth in 2001, the University of Bath in 2003, the University of Bristol in 2004, Buckinghamshire New University in 2008, the University of Dublin in 2008, Bradford University in 2009, the University of Winchester in 2009, and The Open University in 2013 for his contribution to Public Service.

In Dec. of 2007, Pratchett disclosed that he had been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. On 18 Feb, 2009, he was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II.

He was awarded the World Fantasy Life Achievement Award in 2010.

Sir Terry Pratchett passed away on 12th March 2015.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 2,535 reviews
Profile Image for Mario the lone bookwolf.
797 reviews3,628 followers
April 24, 2022
Darkness comes across Discworld, shattering the once light and extremely funny fantasy universe.

Possible explanations for this change in style and tone
Was it his illness, was it growing, deeper cynicism about the world, did Pratchett intend to depress the heck out of the reader? Whatever the reason, if you can´t handle hard boiled, depressing content, you should consider not reading the last 2 Tiffany Aching novels (and Raising Steam, strongly influenced by the impact of his illness on his writing). Or, if you prefer to keep living in the happy, extremely funny world of the earlier and middle Discworld.

Evolution towards darkness
What was a mixture of deep thoughts distilled to cynical innuendos with slapstick elements, puns, and crazy ideas, has become the drawing of the darkness of the human condition, society, and immense stupidity and potential for evil. There is the hate infecting the dumb ones, the Cunning man coming to seed torture and murder, the ingratitude and bigotry of the average joes who are quick at crippling and burning witches, but extremely tolerant and open towards any kind of gossip, manipulation, and demagogic content.

The possible laughs can´t be unleashed
The novel has some of the patented Pratchett puns and fun too, but it can´t ignite the known rhetoric powder, because the frightening and depressing passages are such hardcore downers that it would need more to feel lighthearted and blithe again. It´s great literature, but nothing one knowing the Discworld would expect or hope for.

From meta cynicism to direct dirty sarcasm
It has kind of come down from the theoretical, deeper, high brow criticism to the dirty, gritty, real filth and disgust enabled by so many deluded individuals. I wonder if it would have gone this route if he wouldn´t have got terminally ill, if Tiffany couldn´t have had better teenage and adult years if her father wouldn´t have died far too early.

If we could have seen her evolve as a character in a still growing universe that could have made fun of all the madness that happened since one of the greatest satirists of all time left us forever in 2015.

Tropes show how literature is conceptualized and created and which mixture of elements makes works and genres unique:

This one is added to all Pratchettian reviews:
The idea of the dissected motifs rocks, highlighting the main real world inspirational elements of fiction and satire is something usually done with so called higher literature, but a much more interesting field in readable literature, as it offers the joy of reading, subtle criticism, and feeling smart all together.
Profile Image for Ahmad Sharabiani.
9,566 reviews56.6k followers
April 7, 2021
I Shall Wear Midnight (Discworld, #38; Tiffany Aching, #4), Terry Pratchett

I Shall Wear Midnight is a comic fantasy novel by English writer Terry Pratchett, set on the Discworld.

Tiffany is working as the Chalk's only witch in a climate of growing suspicion and prejudice.

When the local Baron (for whom she had been caring) dies of poor health, she is accused of murder.

Tiffany travels to Ankh-Morpork to inform the Baron's heir, Roland, who happens to be in the city with his fiancée Letitia.

On the way Tiffany is attacked by the Cunning Man, a frightening figure who has holes where his eyes should be.

In the city she meets Mrs Proust, the proprietor of Boffo's joke shop, where many witches buy their stereotypical witch accoutrements.

When they find Roland and Letitia the Nac Mac Feegles, who have as usual been following Tiffany, are accused of destroying a pub. Tiffany and Mrs.

Proust are arrested by Carrot and Angua, and (nominally) locked up – although it is mostly, in fact, for their protection as people start to resent witches.

When they are released the next day, Tiffany meets Eskarina Smith (not seen since the events of the third Discworld novel, Equal Rites), who explains to her that the Cunning Man was, a thousand years ago, an Omnian witch-finder, who had fallen in love with a witch.

That witch, however, knew how evil the Cunning Man was. She was eventually burnt to death, but as she was being burned she trapped the Cunning Man in the fire as well.

The Cunning Man became a demonic spirit of pure hatred, able to corrupt other minds with suspicion and hate.

Eskarina announces that the Cunning Man is coming.

Tiffany and the Feegles return to the Chalk, where they find the Baron's soldiers trying to dig up the Feegle mound.

She stops them, and goes to see Roland, who throws her in a dungeon (which she locks on the inside, and where she is brought bacon, eggs, and coffee in the morning).

It is later learned that the Cunning Man was responsible for these actions. ...

تاریخ نخستین خوانش روز پنجم ماه فوریه سال 2021میلادی

عنوان: دیسک ورلد (جهان صفحه) کتاب سی و هشتم: نیمه شب بایست بپوشم؛ نویسنده تری پرچت؛ موضوع داستانهای نویسندگان بریتانیایی - سده 20م

دیسک ورلد (جهان صفحه)، یک سری از کتابهای فانتزی هستند، که روانشاد «تری پرچت»، نویسنده ی «انگلیسی»، نگاشته ‌اند؛ داستان‌های این سری در جهانی با نام «دیسک‌ ورلد (جهان صفحه)» می‌گذرند؛ که صفحه‌ ای تخت است، و بر شانه‌ های چهار فیل، با هیکلهای بزرگ، قرار دارد؛ این فیل‌ها نیز، به نوبه ی خود، بر روی پشت یک لاک‌پشت غول‌آسا، با نام «آتوئین بزرگ» قرار دارند؛ در این سری از کتابها، بارها از سوژه های کتاب‌های نویسندگانی همچون «جی.آر.آر تالکین»، «رابرت هاوارد»، «اچ پی لاوکرافت» و «ویلیام شکسپیر» به گونه ای خنده دار، استفاده شده ‌است؛

از سری «دیسک ‌ورلد» بیشتر از هشتاد میلیون نسخه، در سی و هفت زبان، به فروش رفته‌ است؛ این سری در برگیرنده ی بیش از چهل رمان (تاکنون چهل و یک رمان)، یازده داستان کوتاه، چهار کتاب علمی، و چندین کتاب مرجع، و مکمل است؛ از این سری، چندین رمان تصویری، بازی کامپیوتری، نمایش تئاتر، سریالهای تلویزیونی اقتباس شده ‌است؛ روزنامه ی «ساندی تایمز» چاپ «انگلستان» از این سری به عنوان یکی از پرفروش‌ترین سری کتاب‌ها نام برده، و «تری پرچت» را، به عنوان پرفروش‌ترین نویسنده ی «انگلستان»، در دهه ی نود میلادی دانسته است؛

رمان‌های «دیسک‌ورلد» جوایز بسیاری از جمله جایزه «پرومتئوس»، و مدال ادبی «کارنگی» را، از آن خود کرده ‌اند؛ در نظرسنجی «بیگ رید»، که «بی‌بی‌سی» در سال 2003میلادی، در «انگلستان» انجام داد، چهار رمان سری «دیسک‌ورلد»؛ در فهرست یکصد کتاب برتر قرار گرفتند؛ همچنین مردمان «انگلیس»، در این نظرسنجی، چهارده رمان «دیسک‌ورلد» را، در شمار دویست کتاب برتر، دانستند؛ تا کنون، از این سری، چهل و یک رمان، به چاپ رسیده است؛ «تری پرچت» که پیش از درگذشتش؛ در ابتدای سال 2015میلادی، از بیماری «آلزایمر» رنج می‌بردند، اعلام کردند که خوشحال می‌شوند که دخترشان، «ریانا پرچت»، به جای ایشان، به ادامه ی این سری بپردازند؛ تا جلد بیست و ششم رمان این سری، رمان «دزد زمان (2001میلادی)» به دست «جاش کربی»، به تصویر کشیده شده ‌اند، اما نسخه ‌های «آمریکایی»، که انتشارات «هارپرکالینز» آن‌ها را، منتشر کرده، دارای تصاویر روی جلد متفاوتی هستند؛ پس از درگذشت «جاش کربی»، در سال 2001میلادی، نقاشی‌های روی جلد کتاب‌های بعدی این سری، بدست «پائول کربی» کشیده‌ شدند

کتابهای اول و دوم: «رنگ جادو»؛ کتاب سوم: «زنان جادوگر»؛ کتاب چهارم: «مرگ»؛ کتاب پنجم: «سورسری (برگردان فارسی جادوی مرجع)»؛ کتاب ششم: «خواهران ویرد»؛ کتاب هفتم: «هرم ها»؛ کتاب هشتم: «نگهبانان! نگهبانان»؛ کتاب نهم: «اریک»؛ کتاب دهم: «تصاویر متحرک»؛ کتاب یازدهم: «مرد دروگر»؛ کتاب دوازدهم: «جادوگران خارج»؛ کتاب سیزدهم: «ایزدان خرد (خدایان کوچک)»؛ کتاب چهاردهم: «لردها و بانوان»؛ کتاب پانزدهم: «مردان مسلح»؛ کتاب شانزدهم: «موسیقی روح»؛ کتاب هفدهم: «اوقات جالب»؛ کتاب هجدهم: «ماسکراد»؛ کتاب نوزدهم: «پاهای خشت (فیت آو کلی)»؛ کتاب بیستم: «هاگفادر»؛ کتاب بیست و یکم: «جینگو»؛ کتاب بیست و دوم: «آخرین قاره»؛ کتاب بیست و سوم: «کارپه جوگلوم»؛ کتاب بیست و چهارم: «فیل پنجم»؛ کتاب بیست و پنجم: «حقیقت»؛ کتاب بیست و ششم: «دزد زمان»؛ کتاب بیست و هفتم: «آخرین قهرمان»؛ کتاب بیست و هشتم: «ماوریس شگفت‌انگیز و موش‌های آموزش‌دیده‌اش»؛ کتاب بیست و نهم: «ساعت شب»؛ کتاب سی ام: «مردان آزاد وی»؛ کتاب سی و یکم: «هن�� بزرگ»؛ کتاب سی و دوم: «کلاهی پُر از آسمان»؛ کتاب سی و سوم: «گوینگ پوستال»؛ کتاب سی و چهارم: «تود!»؛ کتاب سی و پنجم: «وینتراسمیت»؛ کتاب سی و ششم: «بدست آوردن پول»؛ کتاب سی و هفتم: «دانشگاهی‌های نادیدنی»؛ کتاب سی و هشتم: «نیمه‌شب بایست بپوشم»؛ کتاب سی و نهم: «اسنوف»؛ کتاب چهلم: «بالا آمدن مه»؛ کتاب چهل و یکم: «تاج چوپان»؛

تاریخ بهنگام رسانی 17/01/1400هجری خورشیدی؛ ا. شربیانی
Profile Image for Mariel.
667 reviews1,054 followers
January 26, 2011
I didn't become a Terry Pratchett fan until 2009. My twin sister told me numerous times that it would be a very good idea for me to read him. I do listen to my twin, it's just that particular urgency to heed her advice hinges on many factors: did she tell me too much (in the interest of fairness, I do this more to her than she does to me), was I feeling a loner and left out of hyper enthuasism... Probably that last one. Everything good about Terry Pratchet you've probably been told or read (or said and written, if you're a fan) is true. His fans love him to peices. Me too. (It is a very good thing for me that I came to The Beatles and The Smiths on my own with no awareness of fanbases...) (I'm not trendy. Proof of my inbred untrendiness: Welsh roots instead of Irish.)

What decided me? A Buffy the Vampire Slayer comparison on the book jacket of the first Tiffany Aching book. (With 38 and counting Disc World books out there, the four book series is a good place to start. It's not intimidating to have a little slice cut out. That said, you can read any Disc World book first.) (One thing I love about the Disc World books, one person's "It's funny and quite good" can be another person's "My personal favorite!" Don't always go by those four or five star ratings on gr. You could still hit your own "Oh hell yes" Disc World stride. This isn't prolificness for the sake of being prolific. Pratchett has something to say. Tiffany Aching, for instance, came to him as such that he dropped everything else he was doing to write her.) Lots of things are wrongly compared to 'Buffy', of course (probably by people who didn't realize why 'Buffy' was really great). Maybe it was my twin's rec coupled with the Buffy. Whatever it was, Buffy decided me. No, Tiffany Aching isn't Buffy herself, but one thing 'Buffy' the show and 'Tiffany' the series have in common (besides names with unfair reputations. Thank goodness Mariel hasn't yet become a "bimbo" name. I'm flying below the radar he he he) is that everything good you've heard is true. You can open up any line in a Terry Pratchett book and find a line to knock your socks off.

I'll do it right now, for example. (Trust that I'm doing this randomly. No fixed fights.) (John Turturro in Quiz Show is theatrically patting the sweat off his brow.) "The world is full of omens, and you picked the ones you liked." (page 145 of I Shall Wear Midnight, hardback edition). (Turturro: "They made me take a dive!" You could've chosen a better line than that. But I like that one!)

I'm going to try (I said try!) to express why I loved the final Tiffany Aching book (hell, that whole series) so much in a way that doesn't veer into hyperbole that will not make an outsider feel lonely.

The magic is personal magic, from the heart, earth, soul. The witches are the people who fix things that nobody else knows needs fixing. People who fall through the cracks, are left to die alone, the witches warm their cold feet, bury them when they need to. That's magic. The darkness of the world is fear of the unknown, losing yourself to hatred, being too clever and stupid at the same time, stupid people being clever, losing because the world is often unfair. Are you yourself, the girl, or the hat (the witch)? I think anyone can relate to that feeling of being just your job, how sometimes the lines blur because of how you are seen by others.

I don't think this is just a ya series. Sometimes I feel embarrassed by coming-of-age stories about younger characters who become much more emotionally evolved than I am (turning 31 the day after writing this review). Not so with Tiffany. I don't think the expectations are unreasonable, or ignore other complicated human feeling possibilties. If anything, it is encouraged to think about things (the magical powers of first thoughts. And second thoughts, thinking about what you were thinking in first thoughts). It's not denying your own personal hurts, but also acknowledging that the world isn't about only you. Adjusting to expectations, retaining the dreams and keeping the right to have them without bitterness... I loved that. Yeah, I'm not 9-15 (her ages in the series), but Tiffany is my role model.

Terry Pratchett is funny, he's witty, tongue in cheek, he's got style and grace. He does it that it looks easy and you don't even notice he's doing it. It would be easy to take him for granted because he's always at least very, very good. Pratchett could probably be one of those witches that are taken for granted because they are always there doing their thing sometimes on the fringes and sometimes in big saving the day blasts. (He won't always be there. Sad face.) This isn't technical fantasy about fictional distant lands and politics name-dropping and weaponry names. It's very real feeling. That's what would appeal to me the most, anyway. Emotions in the thinking way.

I loved The Wee Free Men. Hopefully the Nac Mac Feegles won't "find" all of my personal belongings for saying this, the fairy folk in Martin Millar's The Good Fairies of New York are more my style: rock 'n' roll and punk as opposed to... pub drunken fun. I love the little blue men, just they aren't my favorite part of the series. Give me Johnny Thunders over Floggin' Molly any time. (Or I could've said they aren't my bag...pipe. I'm not Terry Pratchett, clearly. And I've used that ahem joke before.) I loved so very much the flashbacks of Tiffany's dead grandmama. Definitely one of the most heartfelt tales of bereavement and memory I've read. The stories of the old lady terrorized to her grave that made Tiffany want to become a witch were moving and terrifying. That it had a profound effect on young Tiffany and suitable motivation for becoming a witch was something I could believe wholeheartedly. I dug the story of the travelling teachers, the chalk (based on Pratchett's own upbringing), cheese and sheep and sheepdogs, fighting the fairy queen. Every day fantastical fantasticness and seeing the mundane in the terrifying. Awesome book.

Book two A Hat Full of Sky is my fuck yes that was amazing favorite Tiffany Aching book. I loved the story of the hiver who takes up camp in Tiffany's mind, how the knowledge of others changes how Tiffany thinks. It's all about thinking and feeling those first and second and third thoughts. I do that all of the time, constantly try to put myself into how someone else feels and trying to remember that I'm not the only person. This is magic to me.

Wintersmith is the third book. Tiffany gets moved into the morris dance to bring in the change of the seasons and takes the place that did not belong to her, that of Summer, setting the Winter after her to take her place as his queen. Being who you aren't meant to be, making up for mistakes, learning the way of it through daily grind, that's the way of things. Some things are everything falls into place falling from the sky realizations, most of the time it is ingrained in the mind through constant wax on and wax off practice.

I Shall Wear Midnight is the earned culimination of the three books that came before it. Almost like little hindsight short stories in Tiffany's daily life of hard work and precious little sleep, 'Midnight' is the just growing up story.

Making the every day into magic is the most magical thing there is. Doing that is HARD.

Now I'll indulge myself: Crivens! Terry Pratchett is awesome.
Profile Image for Lyn.
1,868 reviews16.5k followers
January 31, 2019
Reading any Terry Pratchett Discworld novel has a smile-O-meter factor – while you read you are constantly smiling at his descriptions, references, allusions and turns of phrase. He is simply a very entertaining writer with a keen ability to tell a good story.

Add to this quality while reading his 38th Discworld book I Shall Wear Midnight (first published in 2010 and featuring recurring protagonist Tiffany Aching) the feeling that Pratchett’s narration is like a comforting blanket in which the reader can snuggle and get cozy.

Pratchett’s repeated description of witches is that they have and use magic, but much of what they do and the good they provide a community is the domestic enchantment of stewardship, husbandry and good sense. Tiffany, like witches across the Discworld, roll up their sleeves and do good – whether it is as a midwife, a nurse, a shepherd, or making cheese (at which Tiffany is especially adept).

Yet as in all of his fictional narratives, Pratchett does not stray far from truths found on earth as well as the Discworld. Witches can be, and frequently are, mistrusted and even demonized. Here he personalizes this sentiment into a properly demonic character (that reminded me of the ghost preacher from the Poltergeist films.) Tiffany and the inimitable Nac Mac Feegle - and some special guest appearances by the witches of Lancre - must contend with The Cunning Man.

One of his darker entries into this celebrated series, this is also filled with hope and his ubiquitous and unique humor.

A very good Discworld book.

Profile Image for Dan Schwent.
2,929 reviews10.6k followers
June 23, 2011
Things are hostile toward witches on The Chalk and Tiffany Aching aims to find out why. But how can she with the future mother-in-law of the new baron gunning for her? Can the Nac Mac Feegle help her clear her name and the name of witches everywhere?

Terry Pratchett has been one of my "buy everything" authors for years now and this book is a good example why. It would be easy for old Pratch to phone it in at this point. He's written something like 50 Discworld books and has been stricken with early onset Altzheimers. I'm proud to say there was no phoning in, or even texting in, in this one.

Like all of the Discworld books, this book is about something. It's about prejudice and mass hysteria, how seemingly rational people can be driven to do some pretty irrational things. It's funny how a lot of people dismiss the Discworld books as fantasy parody when they're so much more.

The Nac Mac Feegle, demented Scottish smurfs that they are, provide comic relief as always. Preston, the guard who's too smart to be a guard, provided a believable future love interest for Tiffany. Tiffany herself has come a long way since the Wee Free Men. Her grace The Duchess was such a foul villainess I couldn't wait to see her taken down a peg. The Cunning Man was pretty horrible as far as Pratchett villains go. And the cameos by Vimes, Nanny Ogg, and Granny Weatherwax were worth the price of admission.

Something that not many people mention, Terry Pratchett does a lot to advance the concept of the fantasy witch as more than juts a cackling hag. He portrays them more like shaman or jacks of all trades, doing whatever is necessary for the people in their steading.

So why a four? Why not five? I'll tell you, Arnold. For one thing, the ending was a little too easy. For another, too many plot threads were swept under the rug. Amber, the girl who's dad beat the hell out of her, was forgotten for most of the book after spending time with the kelda of the Nac Mac Feegle. The Duchess, likewise, was defused at the wedding near the end and it seemed out of character. The thread of Letitia being a witch came out of left field and also didn't go very far. It could be that old Pratch is planning another Tiffany Aching novel but I was under the impression that this one is the last.

All in all, this was a worthy addition to the Tiffany Aching saga and the Discworld series. Lots of laughs and also some thought provoking stuff.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Trish.
1,947 reviews3,404 followers
July 28, 2020
In this 38th Discworld novel, we once again meet Tiffany Aching. She’s the Chalk’s witch now and supported by the Nac Mac Feegle. However, lately, people have started criticizing her, daring to question what she does. Something unheard of. When the baron dies, Tiffany goes in search of the baron’s son (whom she saved a few books back) so he can take his dead father’s place (he’s away to buy stuff for his soon-to-be-wife).
Thus, she ends up in Ankh-Morpork of all places - and discovers that the situation is even worse there. Apparently, it’s The Cunning Man’s work. No, he’s not really a man, though he used to be. In the meantime, he’s more like an idea whose time has come. Tiffany needs to find a way to defeat The Cunning Man before witches are burnt and things escalate for good (well, bad).

The highlight was seeing Tiffany and the Wee Free Men in the Disc’s most famous … well, notorious … city. The other witches encountered there - not least of which was Escarina Smith, of course - as well as the run-ins with The Watch were just the most mentionable highlights here.

Many people say that Tiffany’s adventures are weak volumes in the series, that the author’s foray into what many call the YA genre was mistake even. I’m here to tell you it’s all poppycock.
The writing was fast-paced and sharp in its observations about human nature, the puns intelligent and fantastic. The dialogues were laugh-out-loud-funny. The animal sidekicks (always a gem in the witches books) were wonderful. The actual topic here, the mystery or threat so to speak, was full of an assortment of mythological tidbits and cultural history, deliciously brought together by the lovely cast of characters.

So yes, I was once again enchanted. I was angry on behalf of all the hard-working witches and how they had been treated. I was downright homicidal about the nurse, a certain soon-to-be mother-in-law and Amber’s parents (to name but a few). I was delighted by the mischief of our favorite blue-skinned lads.
In short: the book, as usual for Terry Pratchett, has snark, meaning, and - most importantly - heart.
Profile Image for Bradley.
Author 6 books3,975 followers
July 29, 2020
Re-read 7/29/20:

I jumped into the fire with Tiffany. :)

Run, rabbit, run!

Original Review:

Extremely enjoyable witch novel. This sub-branch of the whole disc-World always has the ability to make me giddy and giggly with the feeling that imminent practicality is the most magical skill in the world. It's a consistent feeling, of course, and not endemic to this novel. On the other hand, for all of the Aching novels that all appear to be about coming-to-age, there's a delightful variety in how one can come of age. I got the distinct impression that this 16-year-old woman just got wiser and has received a great deal of Esteem, in a very Maslovian way. It filled my heart to the brim.

And by the way, fantastic use of foreshadowing. I'm not even referring to the hare. I caught many of the other ones before they bore fruit (barely) and had to reread the lines I thought I was paying attention to because I kept laughing out of turn when the larger set-up kept kicking me in the shins. So very enjoyable for any novel, but for the Discworlds, I might just put this one at one of the tops.

Fantastic stuff. :)
Profile Image for Melindam.
633 reviews275 followers
June 17, 2021
I hate giving any books by Terry Pratchett less than 4 stars, but I had to do it for this one.

I read it twice. My original rating for this book was 3 stars and yep, it stays that way (though at one point I was tempted to downgrade). It was the weakest book of the Tiffany Aching-series .... well until The Shepherd's Crown was published anyway :( (That one made me infinitely unhappy not just because Sir Terry passed away, but because I found it so bad.)

This was definitely the book where things started on the slippery slope for me with the series. Was it because Tiffany has (almost) grown up? Dunno.
The core was interesting, but it was surrounded by so much unnecessary, and let's be honest, boring padding that started grating. Also I couldn't shake the feeling that Sir Terry was actually spoonfeeding us with the same facts and information basically in every chapter and this put me quite out of countenance with him.
Tiffany, whom I always admired for her down-to-earth thinking, first sight and second thoughts, became almost insufferable with her self-anointed martyrdom and basically 50 % of the book was about nothing else but the constant repeat of how much she is doing alone as there is noone else to do it. It became rather tiresome after Chapter 1.

As I said, the core story saved the day eventually, but it's far below par the best Discworld standards.
Profile Image for Len Evans Jr.
1,450 reviews204 followers
February 3, 2020
I am used to Terry Pratchett making me laugh out loud when I read his books. Not cry like a baby! But he sure plays every heart string in this one, while all keeping the humor level just as high. Have loved Tiffany since he first book, it has been a priviledge watching her grow up. Only a slim few of Terry's books left to read... been straggling them out as you can only experience each of his books for the first time once and sadly there shall be no more...
Profile Image for Wanda Pedersen.
1,864 reviews370 followers
April 18, 2022
As Miss Tiffany Aching matures, she faces more adult challenges. She has realized that she is a social worker as well as a healthcare worker and that both are demanding roles. As she says at one point in the book, sometimes there are no good choices, just choices.

She must also learn to take care of herself first. Like they say in airline safety talks, put on your own oxygen mask before assisting others. She's going to need more than naps and snacks if she's to be the Chalk's witch. I don't know about you, but my mother had a similar philosophy about sleep. “Go to bed,” she would say, “and things will look better in the morning.” I most often found this to be true, as we need sleep as a mood stabilizer and refresher. And I know many people who get hangry if not fed and watered regularly, myself among them.

Additionally, Pratchett shows us the ease with which people can be convinced of totally false ideas when the zeitgeist is right. There are always gullible people out there or people who want to do harm or those who are looking for someone to blame for their troubles. It's difficult to combat, but we must give it our best effort.

One of Tiffany's best characteristics is her ability to see the good qualities in the people around her and she makes those folks into friends and allies. It's good to see this positive side of a very young woman who has allowed herself to get worn down and bossy. Thankfully she recognizes that she has been condescending to those around her and that she must adjust her attitude and fix her own mess. I wish I had been so sensible at sixteen!
Profile Image for Kaethe.
6,406 reviews462 followers
December 25, 2020
I Shall Wear Midnight: A Story of Discworld (Discworld Novels) 2011, January 1

Oh, goodness, how I loved this book. Wintersmith was okay, but this is fabulous. Tiffany's grown up some more, and now she's home on the chalk, where she's coming into her own as the local witch. Against that, there's someone stirring up witch-hunts again, and Roland has a girlfriend who's the daughter of a Duchess. And the Nac Mac Feegle are into everything, shouting Crivens! Delightful because it gets Tiffany back where she belongs, and because she gets out a bit, enabling Pratchett to introduce her to all sorts of characters, beloved ones from other books, and new ones. And, everything works out very well indeed, in a most satisfying, and clear sort of way.This will probably be my favorite Pratchett along with The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents, and, of course, Good Omens.

Library copy
Profile Image for Lightreads.
641 reviews525 followers
April 17, 2011
This is more of the same for this subseries – which is a good thing! More adolescent witch adventures, more growing up too fast, more dry humor with teeth underneath.

Critics go on about how magic in fantasy novels is a metaphor for political power or social power or insert power here. Which is usually a really unsatisfying reading to me because fantasy novel magic is so often inborn, inexplicable, a random or genetic gift. Which is a good metaphor for social power, often, but it’s not very interesting – you are powerful because you are, and you are because you are. Okay then.

I read this months ago, but I still remember what I liked about it. Tiffany is a really powerful witch, but not in the usual fantasy novel way. Her power is in direct proportion to how smart she is, and how careful. She doesn’t have some inexplicable inner spring of magic, and this book is very clear: Tiffany wasn’t born chosen. She made herself a witch because there was a terrible need; because someone died in a small, common, horrible way; because someone had to do something, and she was there. That is a magic whose metaphors I can get behind. IN fact, the metaphors pretty much collapse. These aren’t books with stupid extended training montages where young people learn magic by chanting a lot. Tiffany learns by living. That’s not a metaphor at all, that’s good literature.

I love that. And I love that Tiffany doesn’t always wear power well, that she struggles for compassion, that she feels isolated. I love how almost everyone in this book is faking it inside whatever role they’re living.

I don’t love some slightly odd ways this book talks about post-violence trauma, but that’s a whole other conversation.
Profile Image for VickiWithNoE.
7 reviews
May 2, 2011
I would read the phone book if Terry Pratchett wrote it. I have read all his books; including the ones for kids and young adults. I've given away a fortune in his YA and kids' books at schools.
I am only a short way into the book but it is already filled with Pratchett's signature wit and (yes) wisdom. No one uses the English language like Pratchett. If I sound like FanGirl, it's because I am, absolutely. Pratchett makes Tiffany "feel" like a real 16-year old girl; with all the confusion and angst that implies.
Empress V (avatar) and I ARE amused and are thrilled to be reading a new Pratchett "Tiffany" book. vc

Today I finished this book and it is not a spoiler to say it felt like I was saying goodbye to a good friend. It was funny in parts, it was philosophical, it was sad. I loved this book and Tiffany is a Character with a capital "CHAR". I have heard this is possibly the last of the Tiffany Aching series and if so, it went out beautifully. vc
Profile Image for Algernon (Darth Anyan).
1,495 reviews962 followers
January 5, 2022

‘When I am old, I shall wear midnight. But not today.’
[...] And I know why the hare leaps into the fire.

My fourth Tiffany Aching story, and I know by now what to expect [but nothing about the hare, yet], so I saved it for the last book to read in 2021. A sort of special treat for being a good reader and finishing my self-imposed Goodreads challenge. Terry Pratchett has never let me down, and I’ve been roaming all over the Discworld under his guidance since 1991, when I picked ‘Pyramids’ simply because I liked the crazy cover of Josh Kirby. It’s almost impossible to pick a favourite among so many great and colourful characters that populate this imaginary flat Earth, but there is something special, something bittersweet and endearing, about this plucky teenage heroine that simply does what needs to be done.

‘I wish it wasn’t you doing this, Tiff. You’re not sixteen yet and I see you running around nursing people and bandaging people and who knows what chores. You shouldn’t have to be doing all of that.’
‘Yes, I know,’ said Tiffany.
Why?’ he asked again.
‘Because other people don’t, or won’t, or can’t, that’s why.’
‘But it’s not your business, is it?’
‘I make it my business. I’m a witch. It’s what we do. When it’s nobody else’s business, it’s my business,’ Tiffany said quickly.

In a perfect world, Tiffany would be celebrated and honoured in her rural community, but Evil finds a way to sneak in past her guardianship of the Chalk, as her witching domain is known. A blind force, a spectre from the past known as The Cunning Man, is spreading rumours of malfeasance and inflaming her neighbours and even her friends to pick up the pitchforks and ‘Burn the Witch!’ Rational thought goes out the window, as every good deed Tiffany does around the village and in the Baron’s Castle is twisted into something else and the ‘rough music’ of lynching mobs is heard over the chalk hills.

‘Poison goes where poison’s welcome’

Tiffany knows that there is a supernatural force at play in these events, and that she is the one who needs to do something about it. A touch of bitterness about the ungrateful nature of the people whom she dedicated her life work to cannot be avoided, in particular the young Roland, heir to the ailing Baron and former boyfriend material in her childhood fantasies. The Cunning Man has managed to turn almost everyone against Tiffany, with the notable exception of the Nac Mac Feegle, the Wee Free Men who are as usual at her side, cheerfully spreading havoc instead of helping their Big Wee Hag.

I will not do a full synopsis of the latest danger that Tiffany Aching must deal with in this first book where she acts like a fully qualified witch, but I do feel the need to mention that we meet a lot of old friends, both in the Chalk and during a visit Tiffany and her wee little devils make to Ankh Morpork.

‘This is AnkhMorpork, Mr. Vimes; in the summer the river catches fire and it has been known to rain fish and bedsteads, so, in the great scheme of things, when you think about it, what’s so wrong about a pub spinning on its axis? Most of the customers do the same!’

The City Watch makes a guest appearance, as do the mountain witches led by Granny Weatherwax. A unique lady wizard, supported by the city witch of AnkhMorpork lend a helping hand to Tiffany, while the tribe of Feegles are welcoming a stray named Wee Mad Arthur. The humour is as sharp as ever, but the laughter is frequently tempered by the seriousness of the struggle against prejudice and lies and ancient hatred. I liked in particular the comic relief provided by the Feegles, the old folk wisdom that comes through in several aphorisms and proverbs [ Everybody was good at something. The only wicked thing was not finding out in time. ] and the usual tongue-in-cheek footnotes about Discworld lore. The language of forget-me-lots flowers and the key to understand equestrian statues caused me to laugh out loud.

And what are my weapons? she thought. And the answer came to her instantly: pride. Oh, you hear them say it’s a sin; you hear them say it goes before a fall. And that can’t be true. The blacksmith prides himself on a good weld; the carter is proud that his horses are well turned out, gleaming like fresh chestnuts in the sunshine; the shepherd prides himself on keeping the wolf from the flock; the cook prides herself on her cakes. We pride ourselves on making a good history of our lives, a good story to be told.

The Tiffany Aching books belong technically to the Young Adult category, but they are so charming and so well constructed that I will not hesitate to recommend them to all ages. If the readers are already familiar with the Discworld and with previous episodes, they will surely appreciate the Easter Eggs and the references to the City Watch and to the Witches books. If they are not, and they happen to start the journey with this particular novel, I am confident they will soon become fans of both Tiffany and of the style of presentation.
Sir Terry has all the reasons to be proud of a good story well told.


My job is to make things up, and the best way to make things up is to make them out of real things ...

The Chalk in the Tiffany Aching books is quite transparently inspired by the Wiltshire Downs where the author resided in his later years. In the afterword, the analogy is taken even further along to mirror people and events from his childhood but, as I am inevitably getting closer to the end of the road in this incredible journey, I cannot help noticing how the author himself is preparing us for saying goodbye.
“I Shall Wear Midnight” was published in 2010, a couple of years after Terry Pratchett was diagnosed with a degenerative brain disease. I may be reading too much into this, but I believe the artist was trying to cope with this situation through his writing, thinking about his legacy in a manner similar to the hero of that classic Kurosawa film: ‘Ikiru’.
Death was always a part of Discworld, but of all the characters in the Discworld, Tiffany Aching seems the one destined to meet it most often.

‘Have you ever seen Death?’
‘Usually you just feel him passing, sir, but I have seen him twice, in what would have been the flesh, if he had any. He’s a skeleton with a scythe, just like in the books – in fact, I think it’s because that’s what he looks like in the books. He was polite but firm, sir.’

There will be a funeral in the novel, followed shortly by a wedding, and Tiffany’s commentary on the events reflects a maturity well beyond her sixteen years of age.

It shouldn’t rain on a funeral. It made people to gloomy. She tried not to be gloomy at funerals. People lived, and died, and were remembered. It happened in the same way that winter followed summer. It was not a wrong thing. There were tears, of course, but they were for those who were left; those who had gone on did not need them.

The way I want to remember Sir Terry Pratchett is with a smile of gratitude for all the laughter that he so generously offered.
Profile Image for Melissa McShane.
Author 58 books746 followers
November 17, 2021
Re-read 10/7/21: I discovered this year that I do not like reading books for the first time in audio, because I get impatient. And yet I like having a book to listen to while I'm crafting in the evenings. I went from Wintersmith to this one, and it did not disappoint. See below, plus I really loved the ending this time:

Read 8/30/15: I realized some ten pages into this book that I'd only ever read it once before, which is unusual for me; I go to Terry Pratchett's books in the times when I can't handle anything else. (This happens often.) It seemed appropriate, given that the US release of The Shepherd's Crown is Tuesday, and turned out to be exactly what I needed on a Sunday evening.

There were things I remembered: Tiffany's changed relationship with Roland, the Nac Mac Feegle in Ankh-Morpork, Letitia the very damp Duchess's daughter with unsuspected depth. What I'd forgotten is the strong theme of responsibility that ties the whole thing together. Tiffany Aching, as the new witch of the Chalk, bears responsibility for hundreds of people, most of whom fear her, or possibly fear what she represents. One of Tiffany's gifts is balancing between good and evil, pain and peace, and at the beginning of the book she's become so obsessed with playing that role that she's forgotten, just a little, why it is she's doing it. She's justifiably proud of her skills--she's the girl who kissed the winter, after all--but it's made her somewhat distant from the people she has to serve. So when a formless evil sets its sights on her, she's put in a position where all her skills are, if not useless, at least ineffective to fight her opponent. Woven into the plot is Tiffany's need to grow and understand the world in ways outside her experience. By the end, she knows why witches face tragedy and suffering and the hard choices the way they do, and for all her skills, it's that moment when Tiffany is a true witch.

I remember being a little put off by the dissolution of Tiffany and Roland's romance (this is not a spoiler, it's revealed in the first few pages) because that relationship had been telegraphed fairly well in previous books. But the explanation even Tiffany has to accept is that the two of them really were just thrown together, and mistook their both being alone and different for being compatible. Their relationship as future Baron and witch makes a lot more sense, and I like Roland's fiancée Letitia very much, even before we find out her secret.

But the heart of any Tiffany Aching story is the Feegles, who were mostly played for laughs in Carpe Jugulum but have steadily become--like pretty much everything about the Discworld--a serious, solid presence in the story. Not that they aren't still hilarious; I love Daft Wullie, who is guaranteed to say the wrong thing every time. But the image of Rob Anybody ready to start a war to defend his wife and family--that's deadly serious. And there are so many serious moments between the funny ones that it's a little strange to look back over the Discworld series and realize those early books were written by the same man.

I have no idea what to expect from the final Discworld book. Terry Pratchett's later works, after his illness was serious, aren't quite to the same quality as the earlier ones. What I'm looking for, I think, is a sense of closure. Raising Steam, for all its faults, brought to an end several plot threads that had been unreeling for several books, and I found that satisfying. I look forward to seeing how the final chapter in Tiffany's story plays out.
Profile Image for Julie.
1,953 reviews38 followers
May 26, 2022
Review June 18, 2019: I went to listen to this book and realized I had the abridged version. A quick check on my local library's website resulted in finding the unabridged version read by my favorite narrator, Stephen Briggs, available to download from Overdrive! I felt excited and grateful!

This book had a much larger emotional impact because I had read all the preceding volumes in the series. Indeed, it was wonderful to be present at Tiffany Aching's coming-of-age and discover the capable and independent adult witch she has become with plenty of common sense, which seems to be a rare commodity these days.

Favorite quotes:
"You could read Mr. Petty like a very small book, one with finger marks on all the pages and a piece of bacon as a bookmark." I had to chuckle at this, as at our library we find all kinds of things in books being used to mark the pages!

"The breath of a cow, warm and smelling of grass was a kind of medicine in itself." I love this image, as it immediately brings to mind their large gentle eyes with long lashes and their soothing mediative chewing of grass.

"Humdrum was the sound boredom made because it sounded like a very tired fly buzzing at the closed window of an old attic room on a boiling hot summers day." What an apt description!

I have a special place in my heart for tapestry, particularly those sewn by a gathering of women in medieval times to depict current events. I remember wandering The Louvre in Paris and quite by chance coming across a gallery of such tapestries. I stood and stared in awe as I imagined the women who stitched and talked together as they made such a beautiful illustration of history together.

So, the following quotes have special meaning to me: "Given that battle is very fast and noisy, they presumably had to stop fighting every couple of minutes to give the ladies who were making the tapestry a little time to catch up. Tiffany knew the one nearest the fire by heart, all the kids did. You learned your history off the tapestries if there was some old man to explain what was going on."

And there you have it, my impressions, which only skim the surface of this great novel. It is a bittersweet ending as I am getting ever closer to the last in this wonderful series.

Update 5/25/2022: I am currently reading this book for a second time while staying in Atlanta with my daughter. We are active each morning and come back to our home away from home to rest and enjoy a cup of tea in the late afternoon before going out exploring again. While we relax and drink our tea we enjoy another few chapters of the audiobook.

Favorites quotes this time around:

"Redheads and brunettes sometimes got more than a walk-on part in the land of the story, but if all you had was a rather mousy shade of brown hair you were marked down to be a servant girl."

"there are those who would rather be behind evil than in front of it"

"They teach facts, but not understanding" ~ Tiffany Aching

"She stretched out her arms to the dark and, just for a moment, as the world turned, Tiffany Aching wore midnight."
Profile Image for Nathan.
Author 5 books115 followers
October 2, 2010
I don't find many books that I'd gladly give to my girl and say "this, this is what being human is". In the Tiffany Aching series, Pratchett nailed it and in this, the final book (which can be read alone), Pratchett nails the story too. The others have featured metaphors-come-to-life as antagonists, but they were very active antagonists. In this book, the antagonist is more in the background: he exists, there's pursuit, but it's all playing second fiddle to Tiffany's battle with her feelings and the prejudices of others.

There aren't enough stars for this character and this book. You might not like Pratchett's style or his sense of humour but his sense of humanity, and what it means to be human, is unparalleled. He makes us find sympathy for people even as he unveils their ugly side, and writes as though he loves us, warts and all.

Loved it to the point of being all teary at the end because of just how fucking perfect it was.
Profile Image for Clouds.
228 reviews632 followers
January 7, 2015

Following the resounding success of my Locus Quest, I faced a dilemma: which reading list to follow it up with? Variety is the spice of life, so I’ve decided to diversify and pursue six different lists simultaneously. This book falls into my LOCUS Y-A list.

I think I’ll always have a soft-spot for imaginative young-adult speculative fiction and as the good people at Locus did such a grand job with picking their Sci-Fi winners, I’ll trust them to single out some special y-a books too.

I read I Shall Wear Midnight a couple of months ago, and put-off writing my review until I could untangle my mixed reaction.

(- **NOTE: I Shall Wear Midnight is not actually a Locus Y-A Award winner - but the first three books in this sequence were, so I included this in my award reading list because I'm a completionist. -)

I first came to the Tiffany Aching sequence sceptically. To my mind, there was no need (apart from marketing considerations) to deliberately create a new Discworld character targeting the Young-Adult niche. I started reading the Discworld books when I was twelve, and still love them now, just shy of thirty. Pratchett has always straddled the line between fantasy and satire with incredible ease, and that blend offers something for readers of all ages. So I was cynical of this YA series; it sounded more like a publisher's idea, not Terry's.

But give the man scraps and he will cook you something sublime (at least, most the time). Pratchett's little heroine won me over big-time. She's awesome - really, an excellent job. I could gush for some time, but let me stay on point. I came to the sequence sceptical, and the first three books made a covert of me, which is why, by the time I reached I Shall Wear Midnight (book four following Tiffany) I was comfortably expecting something special - I'd pulled a U'ey. Thus; dissapointment.

I thought it fell a bit flat. Well, a lot flat. Tiff has grown-up a great deal by this point and all the relationship dynamics are skewed. A big element of the story involves Tiff haring (no pun intended) off to Ankh-Morpork and I thought "aw yeah, this is going to be great!" - but you know what, it's not. The city... does not sing. There are a few cameo appearances for the Watch, and there's a new city-witch introduced (who didn't do much for me) - but by and large the city itself was very generic... it just didn't really feel all that Ankh-Morporkey to me. Big opportunity lost to crash a great character into a great setting. Anticlimatic.

Throughout the book there are little 'omen' moments, forsehadowing Tiffany's eureka-moment when she saves the day (that shouldn't count as a spoiler to anyone, right?) but as familiar as I am with Sir Terry's plot-weaving skills, these felt surprisingly unsubtle, ham-fisted and poorly integrated.

The nemesis Tiffany faces in I Shall Wear Midnight played too many cards similar to the Hiver monster she defeated in a previous book, and despite all efforts to play the big-bad-ominous card, Tiffany has grown into an exceptionally capable young woman and never, ever, seemed seriously at risk.

I can scan a shelf of Discworld books and tell you my favourite scene from each and every one - except for Jingo, Pyramids, Lords & Ladies... and I Shall Wear Midnight . Sorry, Terry - for me, this one was a dud.

But I still gave it three stars because despite all these flaws I still 'liked' it - I never thought, "ye, gawds, must I go back to that tome of trash again?!". I was always happy to snatch it up for my lunch break - (and let's be honest, I would happily read An In-Depth Guide to Precision Grouting if it was written by Pratchett) - but my attention drifted frequently and by the end I was keen to move onto the next book on my list (which was better).

After this I read: Leviathan
Profile Image for Jen3n.
357 reviews20 followers
January 27, 2011
I still feel weird putting these under the heading of "children’s books." They aren't, really, and never have been. Even when the main character was just a ten year old girl.

So. This is the last of the Tiffany Aching books and the last time we will ever hear of Granny Weatherwax or Nanny Ogg ever again, thanks to Mr. Pratchett's disease. I am given to understand that most of this book was, by necessity, dictated.

And it's not a bad book. Quite good, given the circumstances. But a lot of characters from the Discworld seemed to just show up out of no where. It was like they were saying goodbye. Parts of it felt, when I read them, the way that last scene from the movie Labyrinth felt when I watched it. You know, when Hoggle and Ludo and everyone are telling Sarah goodbye. "If you should need us ..."

Man. I'm sort of tearing up. Hold on a sec.

AND we finally get to find out what the hell happened to Esk. I've been wondering about her for years. No lie. It was nice. It felt tidy and correct.

Parts of this book were really rather rough. It was much darker in places than many of his other books. I mean, any book that starts out with the near-death of a thirteen year old pregnant girl because her father tried to beat her into the ground is going down a rather particular path, if you know what I mean.

Other parts felt a little rushed. Like the love-interest. I'm not spoiling anything to say there is one in this book. Nor am I spoiling anything to say that it felt very sudden.

However, over all, this is an excellent end to the Aching series and a rather good book from my favorite author of Modern fantasy.

Highly recommended.
Profile Image for Ieva.
1,018 reviews77 followers
January 3, 2021
Šķiet, ka katru reizi, kad Tifānijai izdodas labot vienu situāciju, tā kaut kur aizkulisēs jau iekustinājusi nākamo - vai mēs esam pārliecināti, ka 2020.gadā nebija atvērta kāda dimensija un viņa no Diskpasaules neienāca mūsējā? Lai nu kā, ir patīkami lasīt un pamanīt, ka iemīļots grāmatu tēls pieaug ne tikai ciparos, bet arī raksturā. Tā ir tā pati asprātīgā un attapīgā Tifānija, kuru jau pazīstam, bet tomēr - viņa vairs nav skuķēns, bet gan ļoti jauna sieviete. Un tai pat laikā vēl jo vairāk patīkami, ka jaunas sievietes eskistences centrā tomēr nav "īstā mīla" (kaut arī tādas grāmatas man patīk, bet ir labi, ka ir arī šādas). Un beigās, pats svarīgājais: vai es lasot smējos, turklāt vairākkārt? Jā.
Profile Image for Rachel Hartman.
Author 14 books3,820 followers
April 8, 2011
Bah. Made me cry. Curse you Terry Pratchett!

Hat Made of Sky is still my favourite of the Tiffany Aching books, but I might even put this one second. The plot wasn't as tight as he (historically) has been capable of, and the menace of the villain didn't live up to its potential, quite. But there was so much other stuff here to love, and be moved by, and remind me of other things, that I didn't really care.

For the first half, seriously, I could only read about forty pages at a time because then I would get sad and have to go off by myself and think about things. I know people complain that the Tiffany Aching books are a bit didactic, or a bit obvious, but I think it's more complicated than that. It's like a beloved grandparent sitting you down and telling you his hard-earned wisdom about what it means to be human, and what's good in life. And, depending where you are in your own life, it may all seem rather trivial and obvious (because you're young and you already know everything, duh), or it may seem the old man is telling you the only knowledge worth knowing (because you've been through those fires, you have fought and lost, and earned this selfsame wisdom for your pains).

There's an urgency to these latter books, as if he has looked his own mortality in the eye and said, "Hold on, Death, there's a few last things I want to get off my chest." Maybe it's not as elegantly done as when he was younger, but he still just makes my jaw drop with the things he understands, and the depth to which he understands them. He is a thinker after my own heart.

I sometimes feel my reading superpower consists in being able to read between the lines, to see the writer behind the writing. I saw Terry Pratchett behind all the witticisms before he started tipping his hand more deliberately. In this particular book, he is transparent in every sentence; he's not even trying to fade into the background. It's sad, and it's lovely, and it felt like one long goodbye. I cried at the end -- and he actually did manage to surprise me, the old fox, which made me cry the more.
Profile Image for Carol.
75 reviews6 followers
October 29, 2010
Terry Pratchett is a genius! This book is the fourth in the Tiffany Aching Adventures, and my favorite so far, I think. Tiffany is a sixteen-year-old witch, self-assured and very wise beyond her years, yet still down to earth (or, in her case, chalk) and still sixteen. She is once again joined by her small, blue, kilted, ale-drinking, fist-fighting, hygienically challenged, oft-invisible clan of Nac Mac Feegles who provide the story's comic relief. Her nemesis this time is the Cunning Man--the pure, stinking essence of evil left eons ago when a witch-burning fanatic was drawn into the flames himself by one of his young victims. Tiffany realizes that a bit of him exists in all of us as the seed of doubt, fear and xenophobia that can grow into hatred, prejudice and mob violence all too easily. She finds herself facing off against him at a time of change and transition; the old Baron has died peacefully, just a few days before his son, Roland, is to be married. Several of Tiffany's witch sisters arrive for the occasion including Mistress Weatherwax, her severe but ultimately caring mentor, and the bawdy Nanny Ogg (who most willingly fills the bride-to-be in on some wedding night secrets and advice, wink-wink nudge-nudge). As usual, Pratchett had me in alternating tears of hilarity and tenderness and empathy. And, as always, the book ends with the reader feeling a cathartic cleansing, and the sense that Tiffany Aching is in her place, doing her job the best she knows how, and all is right with the world.
Profile Image for Carolyn.
2,178 reviews617 followers
December 16, 2015
It is with some sadness that I finished this knowing that Sir Terry will not write any more Discworld books. He writes in the voice of a 16 year old witch so brilliantly. Although Tiffany Aching is trying very hard to be grown up, she has to keep telling herself she is the witch of the Chalk and the people rely on her to be their witch. But now is no time to be unsure of herself. Something black and evil is hunting her down and putting bad thoughts about witches into people's heads. Tiffany is scared but knows the evil will eventually catch up with her and she will have to stand and face it alone. In the meantime she has the Wee Free Men, the Nac Mac Feegle to watch over her (when they're not getting into trouble themselves).

An excellent book in this Discworld sub series. Several of our favourite personalities make an appearance,including Granny Weatherwax and Nanny Ogg and the Ankh Morpork Watch. I'm also very glad there is still one more volume to read even if Sir Terry never got to do a final draft and it may still be a little rough in places. It will be sad to say goodbye to all our favourite characters.
Profile Image for YouKneeK.
645 reviews79 followers
May 8, 2017
I Shall Wear Midnight is the fourth book in the Tiffany Aching subseries of Discworld.

In this story, there is an entity that is causing an increase of bigotry against witches, and naturally its prime target is Tiffany. The story was ok, but very short and the plot was pretty thin. The book was carried by the characters, who are all still a lot of fun. I liked that we got to spend a short amount of time in Ankh-Morpork, which isn’t a normal setting for the Tiffany books, and I especially liked that we finally got a tie back to the first Witches book, Equal Rites. The timeline is rather questionable, but I was just happy to see some reference to it.
Profile Image for Hazal Çamur.
172 reviews202 followers
June 9, 2019
Bu kitapla birlikte emin oldum ki Terry Pratchett'ın Disk'teki favori karakteri Tiffany'dir. Özellikle son söz ile bir anısına yer verirken bunu bu kitaba nasıl yedirdiği düşünülürse kendimi bunu düşünmekten alıkoyamıyorum.

Eşit Haklar'da Eskarina'ya sonra ne olduğunu merak edenler bu kitabı mutlaka okumalı. Ama ondan da önce, Ged'in Yerdeniz'deki hikayesini, Harry'nin Hogwarts boyunca büyüme serüvenini sevenler Tiffany ile mutlaka tanışmalı.

Diskdünya'daki en en en çok sevdiğim alt seri Tiffany'e aittir.
Profile Image for Martyn Stanley.
Author 14 books185 followers
July 2, 2020
I wrote this review ages ago, thought I'd share it here also!

It's quite ironic that I last reviewed Equal Rites, a milestone book in the series which focused on character development more than narrative and farce as the first two books. It also introduced the iconic 'Granny Weatherwax' who is something of the archetypal witch.

The irony is most significant in the fact that Equal Rites was all about a character called 'Eskarina Smith' a little girl who ends up becoming a wizard and eventually a witch. After Equal Rites we never heard of her again... Until now.

It's interesting that the history of another minor Discworld character 'Wee Mad Arthur' of the city watch is also looked at in more detail - yet this is a book which the author doesn't seem to want us to consider part of the main series?

I say that because as with all of the Tiffany Aching books, we are warned that is for younger readers. Now this I found appropriate in the Wee Free Men, and to a degree the other Tiffany Books too - but I find it sits less comfortable in 'I Shall Wear Midnight' It's a book about growing up - like the other 'Aching' books, but it focuses on morality and character development to a greater degree and it covers some fairly adult themes. Personally I don't think it's as suitable for younger readers as the other 'Aching' books. That said I really enjoyed it, found it very hard to put down and read it in three days.

At the start of 'I Shall Wear Midnight' Tiffany is a fully fledged witch going about her business, but there are strange forces at work people are becoming fearful of witches and starting to persecute them.

An unfortunate scene where a dying Baron is witnessed with the Witch results in further mistrust and fear and Tiffany has to take a trip to Ankh Morpork - accompanied of course by the Nac Mac Feegles. It turns out the Feegles are nearly almost as spectacular at rebuilding things as they are at destroying them.... Tiffany meets the infamous owner of 'Boffo's Emporium' and the mysterious Eskarina Smith...

The whole plot slowly turns into a who dunnit, the it being the summoning of an ancient power known as 'The Cunning Man' who was an old Omnian witch finder. There's a wedding taking place at the castle, the older witches turn up, but the Cunning Man is close behind.

This is a book full of folklore references and surprises and it's hard to say alot about it without spoiling some of the fun.

All in all it's a fantastic book, possibly the best in the 'Tiffany Aching / Nac Mac Feegle' series although I would have liked more confrontations with the Cunning Man, and I thought it was a little too adult themed to still bear the subtitle 'aimed at younger readers'.

Martyn Stanley

The Last Dragon Slayer (Deathsworn Arc, #1) by Martyn Stanley The Verkreath Horror (Deathsworn Arc, #2) by Martyn Stanley The Blood Queen (Deathsworn Arc, #3) by Martyn Stanley The Blood Queen (Deathsworn Arc, #3) by Martyn Stanley The Lambton Worm by Martyn Stanley
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*Edit: Finished re-reading to my kids 01/07/2020. I stand by everything I said in the original review. This is a great book. An intriguing story and the Cunning Man is a suitable adversary for Tiffany (Who is fast becoming a powerful witch). There was noticeably less Nac Mac Feegle through chunks of this book. They faded into the background a bit and I think that's sad. However, it WAS nice to catch up with Eskarina again and Mrs Proust was a great addition to the cast. I thoroughly enjoyed the re-read and my kids enjoyed having it read to the for the first time.

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Profile Image for Nicole.
Author 6 books38 followers
November 22, 2020
4 1/2 stars. My objection to teenage marriage, even in a pseudo-18th century fantasyland, prevents me from finding this book perfect. But it's close.
I stalled a bit in getting to this one because it's the last* of the Tiffany Aching books, and I hate to see a good thing end (even though I can re-read the books at my leisure). Tiffany, as I've said in previous reviews, is a wonderful character. She's a far better person than I am, but somehow I relate to her--in part because she continually ends up with the fuzzy end of the lollipop. But she always rises to the challenge. She's book-smart and clever, she's resourceful, she's generally kind even when she doesn't feel it inside. She's fantastically human and wonderfully witchy. She takes on all the less glamourous aspects of being a witch (being doctor, nurse, midwife, counselor, and mortician, among other things) in stride; and sometimes she gets to do a fancy bit of magic.
Anyone who's read and loved the Harry Potter books needs to read the Tiffany Aching books. She could stand toe-to-toe with Hermione Granger and never blink...and she'd be her friend, too.
Pratchett has a true gift for portraying three-dimensional female characters. He doesn't stoop to easy stereotypes and catty female rivalry. In this book in particular, I liked how Tiffany and Letitia come to understand each other and how Tiffany and Mrs. Proust deal with the Duchess. I enjoyed the appearances by other witches from previous books, as well.
The Roland situation made me sad at first, but I was made to see that things do work out for the best. Preston is delightful, with his sometimes cleverly concealed cleverness, his curious and word-loving mind, and his loyalty. The Nac Mac Feegle are hilarious as ever, Tiffany's brave and devious allies. The Cunning Man and his mind-poisoning are Tiffany's toughest challenge yet, also calling to mind real-life history.
As with Wintersmith, I found myself shedding a few tears when I reached the end of the story, not because it's sad, but because it's beautiful and has such a ring of truth and a life-affirming quality to it--sort of like crying at a graduation or wedding. Although I also wish there could be more Tiffany stories.*
If you haven't read this series, please try it (starting with The Wee Free Men). Disregard the "YA" label; these books should be on the shelf next to the so-called adult Pratchett books. If you have read them, I hope you agree with me that Terry Pratchett is a literary treasure and a humanist of the first order.

* When I read this, this was the last of the Tiffany books. Some time later, The Shepherd's Crown was released.
Profile Image for Emily M.
350 reviews15 followers
November 4, 2022
As the name suggests, this story takes a slightly darker turn, with a 16-year-old Tiffany facing her most frightening foe yet - The Cunning Man, a sort of distillation of the idea of witch hunting:
‘What did the bitch do to him? Do not trust her!...Do not suffer a witch to live!’ Tiffany didn't hear the words; They seemed to crawl across her mind like some kind of slug, leaving slime behind it...Then she saw him...The two holes in the air staring at her just before vanishing."
To beat him, Tiffany will have to learn to use the flames to her own advantage.

There’s a lot of other things going on in this book too, though Pratchett balances them so that it doesn’t feel cluttered. There’s an early dark turn into a tale of familial abuse, in which the town turns on a man who beat his pregnant daughter^ so hard that she miscarried. And though Tiffany does the right thing, including taking the girl to the Feegles to be healed*, that turns on her a bit as suspicion of witches spreads.

At the same time, there’s a romantic tension/resentment sub-plot, as the Baron’s son Roland (19 at this point, I think) is getting married to someone else. Tiffany knows she shouldn’t be salty, that the only reason they were kinda-sorta-dating for a while is that neither of them fit in with everyone else, but she can’t help but be a bit depressed by how many witches are single! However, the new bride, Letitia, turns out to be not at all the soppy and useless girl Tiffany expected based on the frilly dress and golden hair – gotta love some female-rivals-turned-friends! – and Tiffany ends up meeting someone who is a much better match for a studious witch:
“ ‘What do you think of the word conundrum?’ Tiffany stared at Preston… ‘What was that you asked?’ she said, frowning…‘When you say the word, doesn’t it look in your head like a copper-colored snake, curled up asleep?...Preston looked at things. Really looked at things… ‘Why are you a guard, Preston?’ ‘Don’t like sheep very much, not very strong so I can’t be ploughman …My mother taught me to read and write…and since that meant I was no good for a proper job I got packed off to be an apprentice priest…I learned a lot of interesting words, but they threw me out for asking too many questions, such as Is this really true or what?’ He shrugged. ‘Actually, I quite like the guarding…there’s plenty of time for reading if you keep out of sight.’”

This book also gives us a glimpse of what Eskarina Smith, the girl who inherited a wizard’s staff in the third Discworld novel Equal Rites has been up to! She seems to currently consider herself not quite a witch and not quite a wizard, having blended the two styles and added her own elements to gain some very cool abilities – as well as an actual personal life that is only barely alluded to, but which Tiffany picks up on. She seems older than I would expect (given that Granny was already, well, Granny when Eskarina was a young girl) but that might be a product of one of those abilities in particular.

There’s some really powerful stuff in this story regarding the kind of dangerous ideas that are hard to truly eliminate, and that return again and again to infect groups of people and cause suffering:
“You hear people talk about witches being burned, but I don’t reckon many real witches ever did get burned…But it’s very easy to push an old lady down to the ground and take one of the doors off the barn and…pile stones on it until she can’t breathe anymore. And that makes all the badness go away. Except it doesn’t. Because there are other things going on and other old ladies. And when they run out there are always old men. Always strangers. Always the outsider. And then, perhaps, one day there’s you. That’s when the madness stops. When there’s no one left to be mad.”
Being a Discworld novel, though, it still manages to be quite funny and has a happy ending.

^The one awkward point here is that the age listed for the girl and her boyfriend seems WAY too young for the way they talk and act. So since this is a small sub-plot and the word is only mentioned once, I like to imagine that “thirteen” was a misprint for at least “fifteen” – it would make a lot more sense, and would still work with the story! (Though maybe it’s not the worst thing in the world to include a very-early-pregnancy subplot in a YA-type story, given that a lot of parents don’t think they need to talk to their kids about sex at all until they’re starting high school – like “yes, this IS possible!”)

*"'Her mother will be worrying' 'Is that so?' said Jeannie. 'And did her mam worry when she left the poor thing taking a beating?' Tiffany wished the kelda wasn't so astute... 'Well, Amber's mother is, she's not very, clever'...'most beasts is short on brains and yet still the doe will stand her ground to defend her fawn'...'Humans are more complicated'...'So it seems' the kelda said, her voice chilly"
Profile Image for Nate.
74 reviews4 followers
October 4, 2010
Sometimes I feel like there's not enough joy left in the world. Then Sir Pratchett publishes another gem like this, and it makes me feel better.

Tiffany Aching is 16. In a world that looks a lot like our 19th century, that's taking the 'young' out of Young Adult. This is a book with genuine terror, truly adult situations, and more joy and laughter than you'll find almost anywhere.

Tiffany is now the true witch of her Chalk; she's bandaging wounds, helping the old and sick shuffle off their mortal coil, and dealing with viciously abusive parents (not her own). And now, she's woken something truly evil, something that wants to see every witch stoned or burned at the stake. And because she's the kind of person who takes responsibility seriously, she knows she has to deal with it herself. Fortunately for her the Nac Mac Feegle take few things seriously, and that includes their promises not to help. We get to see a number of fan favorites; the City Watch makes an appearance, the first female wizard sticks her head up again, and Wee Mad Arthur discovers his roots.

The book started a bit slow--or if not slow, like some of the language wasn't quite doing the story justice. But then it rockets along, and the true masterpiece it is starts to shine through.

If you've got an 8 or 10 yr old who loves the Tiffany Aching stories, I'd wait a couple years before introducing them to this one; teen pregnancy, attempted suicides, murderers, and a truly terrifying villain without redeeming qualities might be too much for them to handle. But you owe it to yourself to read this book, and see how Tiffany's story comes to an end. It's almost perfect.
Profile Image for Lee Battersby.
Author 34 books64 followers
July 17, 2011
Pratchett-by-numbers, with nothing memorable or engaging to tie the plot around. Characters and subplots are added for no good reason and resolved without the slightest sign of conflict or character change, the antagonist is poorly defined and, in the end, despatched with such ease that it leaves the reader wondering just what the fuss was all about-- if this thing has been the scourge of witches throughout the centuries then the witches can't have been very good at what they do to have been beaten by such a lame-ass baddie. The usual sharp Pratchett wit is buried under long, rambling asides that (normally so witty and insightful) just resemble a storyteller getting sidetracked without the discipline to keep on track. And, ultimately, it feels like sound and fury signifying less than nothing.

All in all this is just a very muddy, loose, unfocussed work, where even the tricks Pratchett normally uses to keep the reader entertained whilst he wanders away from the plot fail to work. Easily one of the worst Discworld novels to date. Deeply disappointing.
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