Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Wintersmith - by Terry Pratchett

WintersmithWintersmith is the third Tiffany Aching novel and the 35th in Terry Pratchett's Discworld series.
Two years after the events of A Hat Full of Sky, young Tiffany Aching is now 13 years old and in training with the terrifying old witch Miss Treason. When Miss Treason takes Tiffany to witness the secret "dark morris", the dance that welcomes in the winter, Tiffany finds herself drawn into the dance and joins in. Unfortunately, she finds herself face to face with the Wintersmith, the spirit of winter himself, who mistakes her for the Lady Summer and falls in love with her.

The Wintersmith pusues his suit well and gives her gifts of ice roses, her name in the frost on windows, snowflakes with her picture on and even giant Tiffany shaped icebergs. When Miss Treason, Nanny Ogg and Granny Weatherwax find out about all this they try to recify things and recruit the Nac Mac Feegle to find a hero that will rescue Summer from the Underworld and sort things out before the prolonged and harsh Winter descends forever. Meanwhile the Wintersmith is trying to make himself ... a man!

Wintersmith is another cracker of a read from Mr. Pratchett. The characters are, as ever, up to par with the best in comic theatre. Miss Treason, the blind old witch, lording it over her flock with a rule of fear and Boffo is perfect as Tiffany's tutor. Regulars like Granny Weatherwax and Nanny Ogg still deliver some amazingly funny quips and the Nac Mac Feegle are hilarious all through the tale in their attempts to protect their Big Wee Hag and avoid the wrath of the witches.

Then there's Tiffany! In training but wiser than any witch her age should be and the side-story around Miss Treason's cottage with Annagramma and Mistress Earwig and the other young witches adds yet another layer to the tale.

The idea that an ageless elemental like the spirit of Winter could imagine itself as human or even in love adds a dark and mysterious edge to the story as well and the trip into the Underworld is both frightening and funny. I mean the ferryman wants his fee but also really doesn't want the always-skint Feegles to stay and cause absolute chaos in his nice, ordered realm.

A very funny book and well worth reading if fancy something light and humourous.

Genre: Comedy, Fantasy
ISBN: 978-0-552-55369-8
My Rating: 8/10

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