Science fiction and fantasy
The Wee Free Men
by Terry Pratchett
Dreams and stories are the Queen's weapons, and Tiffany crosses over into a world of unreality where eating the food will trap you in a dream forever. It's all very fanciful, and like dreams the story lurches from one part to another without necessarily making much sense. It's not a satire or a commentary on anything in particular in the way that The Truth was about newspapers, or Maskerade was about the opera. Unless you count witchcraft, which is a recurring theme running through all the Discworld books. Tiffany is a lot like a younger version of Granny Weatherwax, with a very similar style of working things out. In fact we've heard it all before, but it was funnier the last time.
Tiffany has a talking toad to advise her, although it's clear he was something else before he became a toad. In fairyland they also come across Roland, the baron's son and another spoilt brat who has been abducted and needs rescuing. Tiffany also has the memory of Granny Aching to sustain her, a formidable and respected witch, although on the surface she was simply a sheperdess of few words.
Even though Tiffany is only nine she's an old head on young shoulders. It's not as though this book is simply too childish. It just lacks a certain something that grips the reader by the eyeballs and demands that you read on. The Wee Free Men isn't bad, it's entertaining and it comes to a satisfying conclusion. But it isn't the best of the Discworld stories.
If you like this, try:Knife by R. J. Anderson
A young faery is forbidden to have contact with humans. But she is bad at taking orders without question.
The Unwise Woman of Fuggis Mire by Raven Dane
Morven the Unwise Woman faces off against Royal fools and short-tempered demons in this high fantasy parody.
Triumff: Her Majesty's Hero by Dan Abnett
Sir Rupert Triumff fights for queen, country, and sobriety in this humorous alternate history.
Review © Ros Jackson
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