Lots of people I know, including my wife, keep telling me that I really ought to like Terry Pratchett, and I’ve tried a few times but haven’t. Except for I just finished reading the Tiffany Aching books (“for younger readers”, it says) and loved them.
The Problem · It’s just that I haven’t cared much about the people in the books. I admire the cynical wisecracking, often brilliant, and the sparkling imagination in the literary set construction and scene-painting. I mean, what if Death did have an apprentice?
But too often, the sequence I’m reading feels like a an elaborate setup for a (usually very good) punchline, and I’m not sure that Pratchett actually cares about the people he’s put on the pages, and what happens to them. So why should I?
Nac Mac Feegles · These are the Wee Free Men of the first book’s title; a tribe of tiny troublesome undisciplined nosy warriors who serve sort of as the chorus does in a classic Greek play. They’re a blast.
The protagonist is Tiffany Aching, a young witch where witching is serious business; serious as in sometimes dreary and scary and wearing.
And yes, Pratchett fans, there’s all the cynical wisecracking anyone could want. But he takes way more care than in his “adult” stories to keep the focus on his people; what they see and hear and feel and fear. And one does (or, well, I did) come to care quite a lot about the underappreciated Ms Aching and her problems.
Highly recommended. And now my 13-year-old is powering through them, so they work for kids too.