Title: A Hat Full of Sky
Author: Terry Pratchett
Page Count/Review Word Count: 352
Crivens, ye’ scunner – the Wee Free Men are back! This is the second of Pratchett’s novels to feature “the rowdiest, toughest, smelliest bunch of fairies ever”, and it was the first in the series that I really enjoyed. The first book was okay, but I didn’t think it was up to the standard of some of Pratchett’s other works – now, with the second one, he shows us why Tiffany Aching and the Wee Free Men deserve as much attention as any of his other characters.
In this novel, eleven-year-old Tiffany makes the mistake of temporarily stepping out of her body – the only problem is, there’s something waiting to try to get into it, something terrifying and invulnerable that doesn’t have the best intentions. The plot effectively follows what happens from there, as Tiffany and the Wee Free Men (who treat her as a Kelda, their queen) try to make things right again. It’s a fantastic tale and a credit to the Discworld ouevre, and I suspect that if this is the first time you’ve come across the Wee Free Men, you’ll fall in love with them, and with Rob Anybody in particular.
Because at the end of the day, Terry Pratchett is one hell of an author, and you can automatically assume that the quality will be high in any piece of his work. As always, the humour is sometimes subtle and sometimes hits you around the face like a punch from a troll, and because this book is shorter than some of the other Discworld books, it’s also an easy read.
One final thing to note – Pratchett’s use of Scots dialect is a master stroke in terms of the characterisation of the Wee Free Men, and it also feels natural. It’s pretty rare for an author to be able to write in a dialect without making it sound artificial, but Sir Terry nailed it. Definitely a recommended read if you’re a Discworld fan, like I am!