Book Review – Wintersmith (Discworld: A Tiffany Aching Adventure) by Terry Pratchett
At 9, Tiffany Aching defeated the cruel Queen of Fairyland.
At 11, she battled an ancient body-stealing evil.
At 13, Tiffany faces a new challenge: a boy. And boys can be a bit of a problem when you’re thirteen. . . .
But the Wintersmith isn’t exactly a boy. He is Winter itself—snow, gales, icicles—all of it. When he has a crush on Tiffany, he may make her roses out of ice, but his nature is blizzards and avalanches. And he wants Tiffany to stay in his gleaming, frozen world. Forever.
Tiffany will need all her cunning to make it to Spring. She’ll also need her friends, from junior witches to the legendary Granny Weatherwax. They— Crivens! Tiffany will need the Wee Free Men too! She’ll have the help of the bravest, toughest, smelliest pictsies ever to be banished from Fairyland—whether she wants it or not.
It’s going to be a cold, cold season, because if Tiffany doesn’t survive until Spring— —Spring won’t come.
Like all the previous Tiffany Aching books from Terry Pratchett, Wintersmith (Discworld: A Tiffany Aching Adventure) was a delight to read through. I’ve followed Tiffany as she has grown up in the books, and it’s really amazing to me how Terry Pratchett just gets teenage girls. Tiffany Aching is now thirteen and shaping up to be the most promising young witch around, while under the tutelage of the hundred and thirteen years old witch Miss Treason (not to mention the more-than-occasional interference from Granny Weatherwax).
This time around, Tiffany’s big challenge is a boy – and not just any boy – the Wintersmith (the elemental Winter itself) has an obsessive ‘crush’ on Tiffany (who he thinks is the elemental Summer) and he sets about trying to attract Tiffany’s attention in a pretty destructive (and freezing) fashion. Inspite of herself, Tiffany is flattered by all the attention (snow crystals in her image, for example) and doesn’t quite know how to react. This uncharacteristic hesitation eventually places all Tiffany holds dear in grave danger. It’s a good thing that the Wee Free men together with Granny Weatherwax and Nanny Ogg (yes, she makes an appearance here!) and an unlikely ‘hero’ in the Baron’s son Roland are all on her side as she tries to make things right again.
I did feel off-kilter though when I started reading Wintersmith – for some reason I still don’t get, Terry Pratchett starts the first chapter off with events that actually occur near the end of the story. It’s a very jarring experience – much like walking into a movie theater near the climax. And as a result, it took me some time to really get into the book when Mr Pratchett did go back to the beginning of the story. And still I didn’t get the point of this confusing approach even after I had read through the book.
And like I said, Tiffany is not quite herself in this book – I’m not quite used to this hesitant passive-aggressive Tiffany who needs protecting (even if only initially). But I did get why Tiffany couldn’t quite hate on the Wintersmith – there’s just something so heartbreakingly earnest & innocent about him as he went about trying to be a real boy and trying to impress his ‘crush’.
Long time readers of the Discworld series should be as delighted as I am with the return of the hilarious Wee Free Men. I personally loved getting Nanny Ogg back in this book (her relationship with Granny Weatherwax is one of the things I really treasure about the Discworld stories) and I really liked the new and improved (and surprisingly nerdy) Roland (ex-spoilt son of the Baron). I would love to see how Mr Pratchett develops Tiffany’s relationship with Roland in the next book :)
You can also get the ebook at Barnes & Noble for the same price.