Title: I Shall Wear Midnight
Author: Terry Pratchett
Page Count/Review Word Count: 424
I didn’t think much of the first Tiffany Aching novel, but my opinion has slowly improved with each successive book. By the time I got around to reading this one, I was hooked, and I think she’s now up there as one of my favourite Discworld characters, and certainly one of my favourite witches (behind Granny Weatherwax, of course).
Part of that might be due to the fact that this was the only Tiffany Aching book that I hadn’t read, and I read it with the knowledge that Sir Pratchett sadly passed away, and now there won’t be any new ones. I also think that it takes you a little while to get used to some of Pratchett’s characters, and that with the Tiffany Aching books, the order that you read them in probably has an impact on your enjoyment of them, although you don’t necessarily need to read them in chronological order.
In this story, Tiffany Aching has to wage war against a sinister opponent – a spectral figure with holes where his eyes should be, who brings poison ‘wherever poison’s wanted’. Basically, his mere presence can make a crowd turn upon a witch, and it’s thought that he’s behind the spates of witch burning that happened in our own reality, except a real witch would never be dumb enough to get caught.
The witches of the Discworld are fascinating, because the witching ethos has been so well-developed by Sir Pratchett that you can almost predict the way that a witch might act, based on the way that you know how a witch should act. And let me tell you, we’re not talking about cackling or building houses out of gingerbread – that’s a sure sign that a woman’s been witching too long and she’s started to lose her marbles.
One particular highlight here is the fact that Eskarina Smith, one of the main characters from right at the start of the Discworld series, in Equal Rites, makes an appearance. Truth be told, I can’t really remember much about her character from the first time round, but she was delightfully eccentric here. However, Roland turns into a bit of a knobhead in this book, but I can’t talk about that.
I strongly recommend this if you’ve already read and enjoyed a Tiffany Aching book, and while it might not be the best introduction to the Discworld, you could do a lot worse.