Title: The Wee Free Men
Author: Terry Pratchett
Page Count/Review Word Count: 320
The Wee Free Men is odd, because I didn’t think much of it when I first read it, and despite the fact that I haven’t re-read it since, I’ve grown fonder of it. Perhaps it’s because the titular characters made appearances in later books in the series, and because Rob Anybody and his gang of feegles somehow manage to be annoying and endearing at the same time. It takes a while to get past their brash exterior, but beneath all of the drinking and the fighting, they also have fiercely independent personalities.
This book is the first book to introduce the characters, as well as little Tiffany Aching, a young girl who would grow to become one of Pratchett’s most popular witches, and certainly one of his most popular from his later period of work – after all, I don’t want to go on record saying that someone is better than Granny Weatherwax in case I wake up as a frog.
The story line here follows Tiffany as she sets out to rescue her little brother from mischievous fairies, armed with a frying pan, a book called Diseases of the Sheep, and the help of the Nac Mac Feegle. With an arsenal like that, you’d have to give her pretty good odds, but Fairyland is a dangerous place, and not everyone comes back.
I don’t want to go into any more detail on that because I don’t want to ruin the story line, but that should be enough to give you an idea about whether you want to read it or not. The only thing to add here is that although this is, in some ways, a children’s book, I actually think it’s far more suited to adults. You should read it before giving it to your kids.