This week I’m reviewing the books I’ve made it to from my Top 10 2015 Releases I Didn’t Get to post.
I almost didn’t want to listen to this last-ever Tiffany Aching book by Terry Pratchett. And yet, as saving it won’t bring him back, I did anyway.
The Shepherd’s Crown by Terry Pratchett. Read by Stephen Briggs. Harper Audio, 2015.
Things have changed since Tiffany was a nine-year-old rescuing her baby brother from fairy land in The Wee Free Men. Now she’s a fully-fledged witch with her own steading, trying to decide if she can keep up with her responsibilities there and have a love life as well – her sweetheart, Preston, is working at the hospital in Ankh Morpokh. But as always, the reward for doing well is more work, and Granny Weatherwax, knowing her own end is near, calls Tiffany in to help. There’s also rebellion in the elf world, goblins on the railroad fighting for their rights, and a boy named Jeffrey with a companion goat called Mephistopheles who wants to be a witch. The stakes are higher than ever, but at least Tiffany still has the help of the tiny, fierce and hard-drinking Nac Mac Feegle, who are determined not to let their “big wee hag” come to any harm.
I went into this book wondering if it would hold up to the others in the series that I love so very much. (Although I get most of my reading from the library, including this, we own half the series on audiobook and are working on collecting it all, as three out of four of us love them.) I came out too happy to be spending more time with these characters to be certain I can be objective about it. Here are some thoughts anyway: Granny Weatherwax! Fabulous to the very end! Stephen Briggs does a wonderful job of bringing the story to life. My love pointed out, quite accurately, that this book ties into the rest of Discworld much more than the rest of the Tiffany Aching sub-series, many of which (happily for those coming in without having read the rest of this very long series) don’t really feel connected to it. Strands from many other Discworld sub-series are woven together here, which gives us a little less time with Tiffany but a nice closure for the larger series. One of the things that I’ve always loved about Pratchett is his ability to say deep things about life in the midst of a hilarious, high-action plot. This plot, with Tiffany spending nights on her broomstick so that she can spend her days to far-flung people in need of her help, seems to me to be saying that having it all is over-rated, having friends to help is good, and you need to find your own way to make it work.
Thank you, Sir Terry!
Here are the other books from the post that I’ve reviewed already: