I enjoyed this book far more than I thought it would. I was a little nervous about leaving the Discworld, but I was wrong to doubt.
This book is yet an...moreI enjoyed this book far more than I thought it would. I was a little nervous about leaving the Discworld, but I was wrong to doubt.
This book is yet another example of how Terry Pratchett's children's novels are more serious and personally revealing than any of his adult work.
I don't agree with everything Pratchett says in this book, but I think he raises questions worth asking, whether you're a person of faith or a person without. My biggest qualm with "Nation" was the presumed dichotomy between people of faith and people of science and reason. The two aren't by any means mutually exclusive..and I'm not sure Pratchett gets this. (less)
Another quirky and entertaining installment from one of my all time favorite authors. Witty and fun for both young adults and the fully grown. As enjo...moreAnother quirky and entertaining installment from one of my all time favorite authors. Witty and fun for both young adults and the fully grown. As enjoyable and well written as Harry Potter, but with more sophisticated humor. However, I can't help but wonder if some of the humor might go beyond adolescent experience. I would advise any adolescent who reads the Tiffany Aching novels to read them again in another 5 to 10 years. I think you'll find yourselves appreciating them even more.(less)
Pratchett's fourth and final novel in the Tiffany Aching is in my opinion, the best of the series. This series has grown along with little Tiffany Ach...morePratchett's fourth and final novel in the Tiffany Aching is in my opinion, the best of the series. This series has grown along with little Tiffany Aching, and I'm sure, along with many young readers.
Even though they are written for children, Pratchett's young adult novels don't skimp on depth or complexity. One of my favorite things about Pratchett is the fact that he clearly respects his young readers as much as he does his adult fans. In fact, he respects them too much to lie to them, and as a result, his young adult novels analyze some of the darkest lessons and experiences of childhood. I would argue that the Tiffany Aching novels deal with issues far darker and more serious than any of his other Discworld novels.
The series begins with a 9 year old girl fighting fairy tale monsters (horrible and terrifying, to be sure, but fairy tales nonetheless). It ends with a very nearly grown-up 16 year old Tiffany fighting new monsters. Monsters that are stronger, more horrifying, and harder to defeat than anything in the Fairy Queen's land. Because these monsters are real.
Many children's stories and fairy tales have tamed their monsters. The wolf doesn't actually eat Grandma anymore, but hides her in the closet. Pratchett's monsters are untamed however, and for good reason. He reminds us why we tell children fairy tales. We tell children fairy tales to prepare them for the real monsters; the monsters that Tiffany finds in her final novels. Monsters that exist all around us, in our friends, our neighbors, ourselves. Without bodies, without limits, without mercy.
I also find it most interesting that out of all of his novels, Pratchett seems to write the most about those issues we might expect to be nearest his heart in his novels for children. I recently read an article about Sir Terry's views on "assisted death." He is an avid supporter of the practice, advocates for it's legalization in Britain, and is considering ending his own life with assistance before succumbing to the pain and mental and physical devastation of Alzheimer's Disease. In his article, Sir Terry wrote that he once heard a nurse describe helping patients end their lives and "showing them the way." He also says that he hopes to be "shown the way," at the end of his life by such a kindhearted person. In "I Shall Wear Midnight," Tiffany describes one of the jobs of a witch as "showing (the dying) the way." In "A Hat Full of Sky," when the Hiver asks to die, she shows it how and guides it through death's door. She also helps the Winter die with a kiss in "Wintersmith."
Pratchett has also stated in interviews and speeches that he believes everyone should have a "good death," another idea reflected in "I Shall Wear Midnight." When asked by Nanny Ogg, Tiffany describes the Baron's death as "the perfect death."
These ideas are reflected, in a way, throughout the Discworld series. DEATH, after all, is really not such a bad guy when you get to know him and death is a common topic in all areas of the Discworld. However, I think Pratchett gives the topic even greater detail and consideration in the Tiffany Aching novels. And why wouldn't he? It is yet another topic and lesson central to childhood and growing up. (less)