Book Review: I Shall Wear Midnight by Terry Pratchett

I Shall Wear Midnight Tiffany AchingTitle: I Shall Wear Midnight
Terry Pratchett
Genre: Fantasy / Young Adult
Date: 2010
Publisher: Doubleday
Started: 27th January 2018
Completed: 30th January 2018
Rating: 5/5
Summary: 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.

The Shepherd's Crown coverI Shall Wear Midnight is the 4th book in Terry Pratchett’s Tiffany Aching series and 38th book in the Discworld series. It was the last Tiffany Aching book to be completed but an incomplete sequel, The Shepherd’s Crown, was released after Pratchett’s death.

I have previously reviewed The Wee Free MenA Hat Full of Skyand Wintersmith.

I do love this book, a lot, but I’ll never love it as much as Wintersmith even though it’s a fantastic book. I just thought I’d put a little disclaimer about that at the beginning of this review.

The plot of I Shall Wear Midnight is amazing. Tiffany is now (almost) sixteen and she’s facing a terrible enemy who has been living within books and the stories of people for years. He’s hunting Tiffany down, planning to burn her for being a witch, but she stares into his soulless eyes and battles for her life. She’s aided by the Wee Free Men, Roland and his fiancee, and new friends. The beginning of the book is very dark, with themes of domestic abuse and suicide being tackled, and that darkness continues through the novel. I loved this change because the books have grown up with Tiffany, becoming more mature and experienced as she does.

This book introduces a lot of new characters into the series, mainly Roland’s fiancee and her mother. The Duchess is awful until you learn her secret, and she’s still awful after that, and her daughter, Roland’s fiancee, is incredibly jealous of Tiffany and her relationship with Roland. She becomes more likeable towards the middle of the novel when Tiffany gets to know her and her motivations for turning the Baron’s staff against her. Some of the other new characters are much more likeable, including Preston who is a good-hearted guard (who wants to be a doctor) who cares for Tiffany and stands by her. The other witches don’t feature as much but Nanny Ogg knows far too much for her own good, especially in terms of what happens on the night of a wedding. However, a City Witch is introduced and she’s the owner of a ‘magic shop’. She doesn’t ride a broom or wear a pointy hat but she’s still a witch and she helps Tiffany with her task. As always, the Nac Mac Feegle are wonderful.

Pratchett’s writing is funny and yet profound. It’s accessible to everyone but you don’t feel like you’re reading a children’s book (or a book for ‘younger readers) because it deals with some dark themes. There are some wonderful messages in this book about staying true to yourself and not letting poisonous thoughts take over.

Overall, I loved this book. I would always recommend this series because it’s absolutely wonderful.

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