Review: I Shall Wear Midnight – Terry Pratchett

I Shall Wear Midnight by Terry Pratchett is another Discworld book, which is centered on Tiffany Aching the young, no-nonsense witch.  The books that revolve around Tiffany Aching are marketed as YA (young adult), but are enjoyable no matter the reader’s age, as long as they like the Discworld series.

This novel returns the reader to the Chalk where young Tiffany has her steading.  A young pregnant girl, Amber, is beaten by her dad to the point that she miscarries.  The townspeople take up the rough music, which spreads on an accord of its own and plan to drive Amber’s father from town, or kill him.  Tiffany intervenes, but things go wrong from there.  It seems a distrust is growing toward witches.  Tiffany’s actions are misinterpreted and used against her.

On a journey to Ankh-Morpork, Tiffany encounters a spectral figure with dark tunnels of nothingness where his eyes should be.  From him emanates a foul stench.  The figure screams threats at her and all witches.  He is the Cunning Man, the left over hatred of an old Omnian priest.  The Cunning Man infects people minds, and his hatred toward witches takes over.  It’s a mob mentality of the worst kind.

Pratchett’s novels usually have some real world issue, which he’s poking fun at or focusing our attention on.  In I Shall Wear Midnight, he turns his attention to outsiders, class, and persecution.  Sure, it’s wrapped up in the fantastic story of a witch, but it’s written in such a way to transcend fantasy.  Discworld is a version of our world, but where they have trolls, vampires, witches and assassins that are known and recognizable, we must look harder to uncover who is malicious and who is not.

The fate of witches hangs in the balance.  Tiffany must defeat the Cunning Man or be taken over by him.  It’s a battle that must not be lost.

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