Dan Schwent's Reviews > I Shall Wear Midnight

I Shall Wear Midnight by Terry Pratchett
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's review
Mar 05, 2010

really liked it
bookshelves: pratchett, 2010, young-adultery
Read from September 28 to October 02, 2010

** spoiler alert ** 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.
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Reading Progress

09/29/2010 page 5
05/29/2016 marked as: read
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Comments (showing 1-14 of 14) (14 new)

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Libby Per all things Pratchett - I dropped everything to start reading this as soon as it arrived. I'm about 1/2 way through - I agree that Terry still gives 110% to each book which is why he's so amazing.

I really like the growth of the character that we see in this book - the tone and plot reflect how much Tiffany has grown up.

Its sad that people dismiss his work as "just fantasy" or parody - but that's their loss - Pratchett's books, especially the more recent works, are some of the most thoughtful and insightful books on human nature I've ever read.

message 2: by Dan (new) - rated it 4 stars

Dan Schwent Libby wrote: "Per all things Pratchett - I dropped everything to start reading this as soon as it arrived. I'm about 1/2 way through - I agree that Terry still gives 110% to each book which is why he's so amazin..."

I agree with you entire post. Pratchett's insight into human nature is what keeps me coming back.

I'll be watching your progress on this. I want to pick your brain a little when you're finished.

Libby Dan - did you read Nation? It was a bit of a departure from the Pratchett norm but it was incredible - personally, I consider it his best work

message 4: by Dan (new) - rated it 4 stars

Dan Schwent I haven't read Nation. I had good intentions but never got around to it.

Libby I'd be interested to see what you think of it - I'm hoping to find time to finish this one this week

message 6: by Dan (new) - rated it 4 stars

Dan Schwent I'm a little uneasy about the non-Discworld Pratchett books. I tried Strata years ago and didn't like it very much. Still, I'll probably track down Nation sooner or later.

message 7: by Robert (new)

Robert Strata was a very early novel - prior to Discworld. He didn't hit his stride, novel-wise until Discworld.

Libby Good point Robert - Pratchett's earliest works are my least favorite. Even the first Discworld novels - I like them but IMO he really found his stride about Wyrd Sisters. Nation is as good as any recent Discworld novel and I liked it better than Unseen Academicals

message 9: by Dan (new) - rated it 4 stars

Dan Schwent That's true about the early Discworld books. I know a few people who haven't made it past Color of Magic.

message 10: by Robert (new)

Robert I think Equal Rites was the point where he found he could do more than just parody the fantasy genre.

An Odd1 I wasn't as fond of Nation, see my review. Sorry to hear about illness, Agatha Christie's work tumbled at the end. Chuffed about his Knighthood. Hope he stays well enough to really enjoy.

Peter I just read this and loved it. I know what you mean about plot threads that don't quite play out - I thought Prachett was setting up all those for a salem witch trial ending, especially with the frog lawyer, who I thought was hilarious - and then that doesn't occur, but I did love the ending as was, he is such a master storyteller.

message 13: by Dan (new) - rated it 4 stars

Dan Schwent Old Pratch has another book coming out fairly soon, Dodger, but it's not a Discworld book.

message 14: by Paul (new)

Paul Wardman Nice to see Esk make an appearance after so many books. Although why she appears to be so old when she was only a child when she was trained by Granny Weatherwax puzzled me. Unless it was to do with the time travelling.

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