by Terry Pratchett
First sentence: “Why was it, Tiffany Aching wondered, that people liked noise so much?”
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Tiffany Aching has discovered that she was a witch, gone through training, accidentally joined a dance she shouldn’t have and had to kiss the winter as a result. Now, she’s back at the Chalk, a sixteen-year-old girl, trying to manage her stead as a witch. It’s not going too horribly: she’s managing to get the things done that need doing. Until one day, things start to unravel. It began with a beating of a young girl by her father, and the rough music started. Then it morphed into something grander: Roland’s engagement to Letitia, daughter of an uppity Duchess, the Baron’s death, and a growing resentment and fear of witches. It turned out that Tiffany had accidentally let out something quite evil, something which, if left to roam, will result in the demise of all the witches. And it’s up to her to make things right again.
I know it sounds dark, and there are some dark moments, but this book is so wonderfully affirming, so incredibly hopeful, that it isn’t the dark bits that stand out. While it’s not as hilarious as some of the other books in the series, it’s still quite amusing. And Tiffany really, truly grows into her own. She has to give up some things, and learn some things, and make some difficult decisions, but she does it all. And she makes some new friends, looking past prejudice and bad first impressions to see that everyone is wonderfully more complicated and interesting that we give them credit for at first.
A perfect ending for an excellent series.