Friday, March 29, 2013

REVIEW: The Wee Free Men by Terry Pratchett

The Wee Free Men
by Terry Pratchett

"All witches are selfish, the Queen had said. But Tiffany's Third Thoughts said: Then turn selfishness into a weapon! Make all things yours! Make other lives and dreams and hopes yours! Protect them! Save them! Bring them into the sheepfold! Walk the gale for them! Keep away the wolf! My dreams! My brother! My family! My land! My world! How dare you try to take these things because they are mine! I have a duty!"

Tiffany Aching wants to be a witch. She is a girl from a shepherding family on a land unkind to witches, but she pays that no mind. And when the queen of the fairies steals her brother, she must summon up every inch of witchiness in her to handle the tiny Nac Mac Feegles, nagivate fairyland, and rescue him. 

This book was supposed to be a palate cleanser after the intensity of Company of Liars, and but alas the taste jarred a little. When I began to read it, it felt like fluff. The Nac Mac Feegles were silly, but unremarkable, and fairyland itself, though dangerous, was forgettable.

However, Tiffany Aching herself is a badass. I believe she might be my favorite female Prachett character to date. She does not have crazy fighting skills like many of the "strong female characters" in books these days (aside from walloping monsters with a frying pan). She has sense. And perseverance. And a deep connection to her roots. She is my kind of gal.

When battling with the queen, she must struggle with her own self-worth, her place in a vast universe, whether everything she ever thought about herself is wrong. It feels like the slippery slope of depression that I feel we have all struggled with. But thanks to her strong roots, she comes out on top. (And made me cry.)

The best parts of the book describe Tiffany's relationship with her grandmother, Granny Aching. Granny Aching is an old shepherding woman with two dogs, Thunder and Lightning. She tramps all over the hills in her giant boots in any weather, saving lost sheep and birthing lambs. She quietly and wisely protects the town and it's inhabitants from any wrong doing. She has died before the book begins, but it is from her lingering presence and her memory that Tiffany draws strength. She takes up the mantle of her grandmother to protect  what is hers. They are the kind of heroines I like to see, and I kind of want to be Granny Aching.

Other books like this:
Equal Rites by Terry Prachett

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