Book Review – A Hat Full of Sky (Discworld: A Tiffany Aching Adventure) by Terry Pratchett
The Heroine: Tiffany Aching, incipient witch and cheese maker extraordinaire. Once saved world from Queen of the Elves. Is about to discover that battling evil monarchs is child’s play compared to mortal combat with a Hiver (see below). At eleven years old, is boldest heroine ever to have confronted the Forces of Darkness while armed with a frying pan.
The Threat: A Hiver, insidious disembodied presence drawn to powerful magic. highly dangerous, frequently lethal. Cannot be stopped with iron or fire. Its target: Tiffany Aching (see above).
The Nac Mac Feegle: A.k.a. the Wee Free Men. Height: six inches. Color: blue. Famed for drinking, stealing, and fighting. Will attack anything larger than themselves. Members include: Rob Anybody, Daft Wullie, and Awfully Wee Billy Bigchin. Allies to Tiffany Aching (see above).
The Book: Hilarious, breathtaking, spine-tingling sequel to the acclaimed Wee Free Men.
The Author: Terry Pratchett, celebrated creator of the internationally best-selling Discworld series. Carnegie Medalist and writer extraordinaire.
Well, I’m still working my way through Terry Pratchett’s YA-oriented Discworld: A Tiffany Aching Adventure series. I loooved the first book The Wee Free Men (as you can tell from my linked gushy review). And I’m happy to report that I’m still loving the series; the second book A Hat Full of Sky is still a joy to read, just like the first!
In a A Hat Full of Sky, Tiffany Aching is now eleven and has had to leave her beloved Chalk country to travel far away and be an apprentice to the witch Miss Level. This older Tiffany is nowhere as preternaturally confident as her nine-year-old self, however. Tiffany may have defeated an evil Queen of the Elves before, but the jury is now out on whether she can defend herself against a dangerous enemy that’s stalking her – the Hiver – an invisible entity as old as time that ‘possesses’ its victims’ minds. Tiffany is weakened by homesickness, self-doubts about her magical talents, and bullying by another ‘mean girl’ witch-in-training… but not to worry, she has the best people in her corner – the loyal Wee Free Men (or the Nac Mac Feegles) and the best witch in Discworld – Mistress Weatherwax. Easy peasy, right? Right?! Not really… but you’ll have to read the book for details!
I loved Tiffany Aching when she was a bossy nine-year-old who knew she was always right (mostly because I wanted to be her). But the more vulnerable eleven-year-old Tiffany Aching is so much more relatable. I remember when I too became self-conscious about my appearance, or when acceptance by my peer-group gained an all-encompassing importance in my life. I’ve been there, thinking that I’m not good enough or trying not to cry when mocked by other little girls or in unleashing my inner ‘mean girl’ too. I’m not exactly sure how Terry Pratchett was able to put his finger on how an eleven-year-old girl feels growing up, but he got it. And bless him for showing us how Tiffany learns to deal with it (and the Hiver, of course).
The Nac Mac Feegles provide most of the comic relief (as usual), but I loved how Rob Anybody was such a hero here! Some of my favorite scenes involved Rob Anybody, especially with his wife Jeanie (the new Kelda of his clan). I didn’t like Jeanie at first, but she totally redeemed herself. And oh, needless to say, Mistress Weatherwax kicks everyone’s ass as usual (I did miss her sidekicks though)
Like I said, it was a total joy to read A Hat Full of Sky – I laughed many, many times… I got scared for Tiffany at times… and I also empathized with her growing pains. It is going to be such a pleasure to read the rest of the books in the series and watch Tiffany grow up some more (and maybe become the ‘best’ witch in Discworld).
A Hat Full of Sky (Discworld: A Tiffany Aching Adventure) by Terry Pratchett is available on Amazon as a Kindle Edition ($6.99), a Hardcover ($11.55), a Mass Market Paperback ($6.99) and Audible Audio Edition ($20.95).
You can also get the book at Barnes & Noble for the same price.