Friday, August 9, 2013

Tiffany Aching Series

Aaaaannnnnd now I know why everyone who loved Pratchett before Dodger came out was less than impressed by that book. It's like a completely different person wrote these books. I waited so long to read any Discworld books because I had a strong suspicion I would be hooked. Yet I felt like I could no longer go on as a lover of fantasy, particularly British fantasy, without reading at least the four Tiffany Aching books: The Wee Free Men, A Hat Full of Sky, Wintersmith, and I Shall Wear Midnight. The Summer Series Challenge was the perfect kick in the pants I needed to get this done.

I'm going to do something a little different and not give my thoughts on each book, but instead talk about what I loved of the series as a whole.

Tiffany: I think you should be proud of not being worse than just deeply introverted and socially maladjusted. This was said by an enemy of Tiffany, an enemy trying to convince her to give up. Yet the words are not untrue. Sometimes the truth has more power, and this does describe Tiffany well. She is a girl who would be described as awkward, often invisible in plain sight, one who thinks and watches, and only speaks when necessary. Man can I relate to her and how her mind works, which helped to suck me into the story from the beginning.  Watching her grow up and come into her own, accepting who she was and owning it over the course of the four novels was a delight.

The Nac Mac Feegle: The Nac Mac Feegle are the most dangerous of the fairy races, particularly when drunk. They love drinking, fighting, and stealing, and will in fact steal anything that is not nailed down. If it is nailed down, they wills teal the nails as well. I'm probably not supposed to think they're adorable. They would hate that. I can't help it. Everything about their cursing, drinking, fighting, stealing ways makes me want to pat them on their little heads. When they are at their most fiercely aggressive I want to scoop them up and hug them. I'm sure they would appreciate this about as much as my son does when I do it to him. They are an integral part of Tiffany's story in addition to being comic relief and adorable. Who she is is very much tied in with the Nac Mac Feegle. Rob Anybody, the leader, is a ferocious protector of Tiffany and is a major player in shaping who she becomes as the series progresses.

Roland: Admittedly-and it took some admitting-he was a lot less of a twit than he had been. On the other hand, there had been such a lot of twit to begin with. Roland is rescued by Tiffany in book one, but because he is older and trained to fight everyone assumes it happened the other way around. Tiffany allows them to believe this. Roland allows them to believe this, but much to his credit he is not entirely comfortable with it. Which is surprising because when we first meet him Roland really is a twit. But he grows through the books, even if he sometimes still does twitty things. I also liked the realistic development of the relationship between Tiffany and him. I like how Pratchett played with the reader's expectations here.

The Older Witches (particularly Granny Weatherwax): These are true mentors. They don't teach. They don't instruct. They watch and let the younger witches learn. Granny Weatherwax is like that teacher you always wanted to impress, but who didn't impress easily, and when she was impressed it was hard to tell. I like how she's more than a little ruthless too. She is unwilling to bend rules, even for Tiffany, who she likes very much. She gives advice and lets Tiffany do her own thing, but is not gong to bend the rules of the universe to save her or get her out of trouble. She lets her live with the consequences and does not treat her like a special snowflake (even if she literally is one at one point). How refreshing. 


Preston: For reasons.

The Writing: These books are clever and oh so humorous. They are not laugh out loud funny (okay-maybe occasionally). It is more the sort of humor that has you smirking as  you read. It is subtle and tongue-in-cheek. I love this sort of understated humor. The stories of magic, fights with monsters, love, reconciliation, friendship, and family told within the pages of the four books are fun and fast paced yet also filled with heart and soul. I flagged so many pages when I was reading. So many fun quotes, so much wisdom, so much humor, so much great figurative language. I am in awe.

So now I want to read more Discworld books. Discworld people tell me, where should I go next? Do I just start from the beginning with #1 or is there a better route to take? 

8 comments:

  1. Oh, yay! Now I feel the vicarious delight of a devotee meeting a new convert. Is he great or what? My notebook is full of favorite Pratchettisms. ("Trouble is always easy to find when you have enough people looking for it.") My gateway Pratchett was The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents, picked up at a used book sale-- wow, was it only five years ago? Now, of course, I buy them new.

    Everyone's tastes are different, but mine are for the post-1992 Pratchetts. I think Small Gods is the first one where his true literary brilliance shone through. (Although Pyramids, which is 1989, is also rather fine.) I don't care as much for the earliest ones featuring Rincewind. But some people swear by those.

    Pratchet at his best imho:

    Thief of Time
    Small Gods

    The merely stunning:

    Going Postal
    Jingo
    Pyramids
    Night Watch
    Hogfather
    Thud
    The Truth
    Monstrous Regiment
    Nation (ya, not Discworld)
    The Amazing Maurice
    Feet of Clay

    The sadly only excellent:

    Guards! Guards!
    Men at Arms
    Reaper Man
    Making Money
    Fifth Elephant
    Unseen Academicals
    Witches Abroad

    Your mileage will of course vary. But oh, you are about to meet such wonderful characters. Lord Vetinari and Susan Sto-Helit. The witches of course you've already met, and Death.

    You can read them out of order, although there are certain sequences-- the Captain Vimes sequence, the Moist von Lipwig sequence. Those still make sense if read out of order, though.

    By the way, thank you for your kind words about Jinx. It really made my day when you said you felt like it was written for you.

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    1. Thanks so much! This was exactly the sort of information and enthusiasm I was looking for. I just need to process it now. :)

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  2. I think you and Bit should read The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents together.

    but as to what you should read next...it's tricy. Starting in late summer last year, I read them all in order publication, and it was pretty fun, but sadly the very first two are not the bestest. I'd read either Mort or Gaurds, Gaurds, next.

    My own personal favorite of the series is Night Watch, which stunned me....

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    1. Oh I like new books Bit and I can read together. I don't think she's quite ready for me to read the these to her so I will get The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents and give it a try.

      Thanks!

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  3. I love this series! I didn't know the fourth book existed though, haha
    My favorite Terry Pratchett book is The Amazing Maurice and his Educated Rodents. I keep meaning to read more of his books, but it hasn't actually happened yet. Sighs.
    - Kritika @Snowflakes and Spider Silk

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    1. Everyone seems to love the Rodent book. I think that will definitely be the next one.

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  4. I love that you think the Nac Mac Feegle are adorable! I haven't started this series yet, but I'm really looking forward to reading it now. I also love that sort of subtle, intelligent humour. It's definitely my sort of thing. Thanks for sharing, Brandy. :)

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    1. They are HILARIOUSLY adorable. I hope they never turn these into a movie because I don't want my visual of them ruined.

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