Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Roadtrip! Best Book of September: Wintersmith

This Week's Topic:
What was the best book you read in September?
(That's easy. Wintersmith by Terry Pratchett.)

I'm glad I get the chance to gush about this author again. I've already reviewed A Hat Full of Sky by Terry Pratchett earlier in my blog, but now I get to talk about Wintersmith. It is the last book in the Tiffany Aching series.

Words can't accurately describe how much I love the world of Tiffany Aching, the little witch who single-handedly (with the help of a horde of tiny blue men) went up against a faerie queen, a body-snatching spirit, and all the freezing power of Winter himself.

I love this girl. She's level-headed, independent, loyal, and strong. She could face off against any male protagonist in YA and probably best them all. (I'd love to see her versus Harry Potter.) What I love most about her in the books is that she's the story. She's the adventurer. All the action happens with her, not to her. She's not a damsel in distress. She's not the love interest, she's the hero. (spoiler alert) In fact, in the first book, she ended up saving a Baron's son, who develops a romantic interest in her in later books.(end spoiler)

If there were more YA novels like this one, I would enjoy reading YA a lot more than I already do. I get very tired of romance (which I interpret as a love story with a dash of plot). I like things the other way around. I like plot with a dash of love story. A very small dash.

Wintersmith, like a lot of Terry Pratchett's work, takes place in Discworld. And this world is engaging, and solid, and real. (It should be. He's had a very long time to develop it.) The characters are people you'd like to sit down to tea with, and ask for tips on baking or removing stains. They're quirky, and stubborn, and authentic. They're not afraid to roll up their sleeves and get their hands dirty. You could imagine calling on them when you're sick or have a problem you can't tell anyone else.

I'm drawn to characters like that. They're so well-developed you'd swear the author met them on the street and spent years getting to know them just so he could put them in his novels.

As for this novel, Wintersmith has more romance in it than the other Tiffany Aching books. But Tiffany is older than she was, and she's drawing the attention of boys - even icy ones. The plot revolves around her struggle to become a better witch and to fend off the advances of a very stubborn love interest. The seasons are in need of her help, and if she doesn't act quickly it could be Winter forever.

Of course she enlists the Nac Mac Feegle (violent smurfs in kilts), whether she knows it or not, and they come to her aid. They add a very entertaining element to the story, and I've grown to adore the angry, hairy little warriors. I end up grinning like an idiot everytime they turn up.

I applaud Pratchett's style of writing. It's easy to read, and has a very distinctive voice. Not to mention he writes the dialects of his characters so well that you want to read them aloud. I found myself quoting his characters, or occasionally muttering "Crivens!" after I'd read these books.

I was fangirling so hard over these books (and the author, in general) that I couldn't wait to find others who shared my interest. So far I haven't spoken to any, but I know they're out there. Terry Pratchett wouldn't have become a favorite in the fantasy genre if they weren't.

I will tell you that if you don't appreciate Pratchett's sometimes dark, sometimes satirical, and always British, humor, then you might not enjoy these books as much as I do. I, personally, love it. - I also love his version of Death, who seems like a rather pleasant fellow, in spite of what you might think.

If you like to laugh and do appreciate British humor, definitely pick up a Pratchett novel. I'd highly recommend the Tiffany Aching series. The delight and life lessons in those books will linger with me for a long time.


  1. My brother got me reading Discworld when he sent me the first two from the UK (I loved the cover art for these--shame you can't get them anymore, at least over here). I am now slowly working my way through the series. I finished Little Gods a while ago, so I'm nowhere close to reading Wintersmith--hence I kind of skipped over your review. Spoilers. Sorry! :) Death is by far my favourite character so far.

    Anyway, I just wanted to endorse your opinion of Pratchett. Being an ex-pat Brit, of course British humour is the best. :)

    I've posted my selection for the month on my blog:

  2. I love his books, but I've only read the first one in this series. Not because it was bad, but because that's all our library had. I'll have to go back and see if they've added any more.


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