So, Terry Pratchett has a new book out. Thus is rarely a bad thing especially as he seems to be getting more inventive and imaginative as time goes on.
I Shall Wear Midnight is a continuation of the Witches storyline of the Discworld series, and more directly the fourth book in the Tiffany Aching Young Adults series (dealing with the adventures of a young girl becoming a Discworld witch). Pratchett has always used the Witches books to take well known stories be they myth, legend, or Shakespearian classics and throw a distinctly discworldy twist at them and I Shall Wear Midnight is no exception to this rule – though the legend it works around appears to take a bit more of a back seat this doesn’t stop hints of other classic fairytales making themselves known and adding to the story.
With The Cunning Man – and I don’t want to say too much here for fear of spoiling the story – Pratchett has created an effective and very creepy villain. It does lead you spending most the book trying to see a way that he could even be fought against due to his very nature and while at one point the plot all just seems a bit convenient this can be forgiven for a strong climatic end and some of the moments throughout the book – e.g. Outside the pub in Ankh-Morpork, or the first threat of the “Rough Music” – a wonderful idea – though hopefully these pointers will make no sense until you read the book!
The cameos throughout the book provide nice glimpses at Discworld characters we all know and love, and occasionally a few we’d forgotten were around – but it is nice to see their return especially seeing as these are some storylines that appear to have been left for now to focus on different characters – it’s still nice to see how things are going for some of the older characters.
With Unseen Academials (the first Discworld book after the Alzheimers diagnosis) I found that the style seemed very different from the previous books in the Discworld series and I wasn’t sure if this was a side-effect of the Alzheimers or a change in direction, with I Shall Wear Midnight we seemed back on more familiar/safer ground which was a good return – now we just have to wait and see what happens in his next book(s)…
Overall a very gripping read that’s not afraid to be dark and bleak when the story needs it – and it seems there’s plenty of life left in the Tiffany Aching series with all the new characters introduced in this crying for more attention.