Science fiction and fantasy
A Hat Full of Sky
by Terry Pratchett
Miss Level seems to be very concerned with helping the sometimes feckless and ungrateful villagers, and Tiffany is learning that being a witch is one of the least glamorous of career choices. Annagramma Hawkin's view is that a witch should look the part, wear the jewellery, and work the sort of magic that looks impressive.
Tiffany's body-vacating trick has attracted the attention of a hiver, an entity without a body or mind which ends up killing everyone whose body it has ever occupied. A hiver can't be killed, and no one has yet survived one. How could Tiffany fight it, if it's in her body?
A book about Tiffany Aching wouldn't be complete without the Nac Mac Feegle, although the rowdy fairies have a lesser role, and they're somewhat subdued by having to learn to read and write. Granny Weatherwax also makes an appearance. There are the usual touches of Pratchett-style humour, although unlike some of his work, here he's not out to satirise any particular target so much as just to tell a story.
A Hat Full of Sky is a good read because Terry Pratchett knows people. His fantasy has always been a reflection of the world we live in rather than an escape from it. Tiffany, with the help of Granny Weatherwax, tackles everything with brains rather than brawn, having the benefits of her second and third thoughts. In A Hat Full of Sky Tiffany is growing into one of Pratchett's best characters, and not simply a younger version of Esme Weatherwax. It's a consistently entertaining book with plenty of careful observations on the importance of substance over style, yet this is writing that has both.
If you like this, try:Of Quills and Kings by Joel Reeves
In a world of demonic hedgehogs and cannibalistic giants, Jonathan Quintain is a young man who can forget about a quiet life.
Review © Ros Jackson
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