Reread: Wintersmith

wintersmithby Terry Pratchett
First sentence: “When the storm came, it hit the hills like a hammer.”
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Others in the Series: The Wee Free Men, A Hat Full of Sky
Content: There’s a bit of mushy love stuff, but it’s fairly understated. It’s in the YA section (grades 6-8) of the bookstore.

I spent the review the last time I read this talking about the characters and how they’re what really matters when reading this series. And that’s true. Tiffany Aching wouldn’t not be Tiffany without the other witches, like Nanny Ogg or Granny Weatherwax or Annagramma or Petulia, or without Roland or the Nac Mac Feegle. Or the Chalk. But, what stuck with me was not the characters (perhaps because I’m reading all these one right after another) but the plot.

Basically, Tiffany disrupts the seasons when she gets impulsive during the winter dance and joins in. The Wintersmith, the elemental who runs winter, is intrigued and decides that he needs to woo Tiffany. Which, because he’s Winter, involves a lot of ice and snow and cold weather. And because of this, spring is delayed. Tiffany has taken on the role of Summer in this dance, and has to figure out how to get out of it. Before the cold starts killing animals and people.

I loved the way Pratchett was playing with Old Stories, with mythology. I loved the way Tiffany had to take responsibility for things, even though it was impulsive and she didn’t “mean” to. This time, I enjoyed what it was about as much as the journey.

This series is just so great.


by Terry Pratchett
ages: 12+
First sentence (not including the Nac Mac Feegle glossary): “When the storm came, it hit the hills like a hammer.”

I got this email from Laura from Life after Jane yesterday that I haven’t been able to stop thinking about. She says,

You never get just a story with Pratchett. You get life lessons and a unique way of looking at things. I’ve heard him called the Douglas Adams of fantasy fiction but I have to disagree. If you ever read any of the Hitchhiker’s Guide series you’ll notice that fabulous and witty as it is, Adams clearly didn’t like people. With Pratchett I’m always amazed how he can poke fun at the silly, pettiness of people while at the same time expressing a very real and warm love of them. I always finish his books feeling that he has a very profound point and that he really just adores everything and everyone.

I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it because she’s absolutely right. It’s the reason why his books are so delightful — even if they’re not quite as soaring as the other books in the series — why you find yourself laughing out loud or nodding in agreement: because Pratchett cares, and it comes across in the writing.

Like the other two books in the Tiffany Aching adventures, the plot really isn’t what matters. It’s the characters — in this one we have the Wintersmith and Roland, who are both infatuated with Tiffany, even if she’s not really that interested, and Nanny Ogg whom you just want to hug, as well as ones from the other books — and the little nuggets of wisdom or humor that are littered throughout. My mom said that she thought these were good “girl” books, but I’ll take it a step further: these are just good books.

And Pratchett is definitely a good writer.

Buy it at: Amazon, Powell’s or your local independent bookstore.