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VINE VOICEon September 29, 2010
Tiffany Aching is facing an insidious evil; "poison goes where poison is welcome". Not a literal poison, but a poison of souls that causes the people who need witches to question, misinterpret, and attack people like Tiffany. Tiffany spends her days helping people, she goes to "feed them as is hungry, clothe them as is naked, and speak up for them as has no voices". What comes for her is blind and hateful.

To add to this, the Baron is dying, his son is under the spell of someone other than Tiffany, Tiffany has to face the bane of witches throughout the ages, the other witches are watching and judging her, and, worst luck, the Nac Mac Feegle are ready help her again. Along the way, she meets the genius behind Boffo, a skeleton that is much happier with a teddy bear than without, a young woman with a unique gift for languages, and Roland's (the son of the dying baron) fiancée and her mother, the Duchess.

Dark, with humorous highlights. Sir Terry Pratchett addresses the worst aspect of the human soul; petty and willfully ignorant hatred for those to whom you are indebted. Someone spends their days healing and giving to others, so, of course, the human reaction is sullen rage and resentment. At the same time, the Nac Mac Feegle are in fine form. Jeannie, the Kelda of the Wee Free Men is growing into her role as their matriarch (and mother to most) of the clan. Rob Anybody has apparently mastered the hiddlins (secrets) of the explaining, the heart of being husband to the Kelda, but truly lets forth his rage before the tale is told. And of course, there is always Daft Willie and his pal, Horace the cheese.

This one was much darker than Pratchett's other books, cutting straight to what is worst in humanity and hauling it out into the daylight, then on to the fire. The themes and imagery are very powerful, and should have any reader stopping to think about where this has been seen, and what it is really about. Without spoilers, there is light at the end, but this is in question at times.

Deeply moving and absolutely brilliant.

Edward M. Van Court
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on September 3, 2010
An absolutely beautiful book. It actually brought me to tears on three separate occasions (I will admit to being a bit of a sap)

I have been reading Terry Pratchett's books for 16 years since I first discovered 'Sourcery' in my high school library and then went back and caught up with the others and I truly believe this is his best. At least, it resonated the most with me.

Considering at the point he wrote it his Alzheimer's had reached the point where he could no longer type but needs to dictate his words, this is an incredible achievement. The man is still sharp as a whip and an incredible storywriter to boot.

I haven't loved one of his books this much since I read 'Maskerade' and I loved that book an awful lot.. as I did 'Witches Abroad' so maybe I'm just partial to the witch related stories? Nevertheless if you are a fan, you owe it to yourself to read this. After reading the previous three Tiffany Aching books of course as they all tie in together.

Once again, I love this book and it has made my top ten of favourite books ever.

As far as the Kindle edition goes, it was just fine. Formatting was great, easy to read, all the illustrations translated quite nicely and only one spelling mistake.
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VINE VOICEon September 29, 2010
This is the latest entry in Pratchett's four-book sub-series about a young witch, Tiffany Aching, as she grows up and learns, appropriately enough for her trade, to be a wise woman. (There are upwards of thirty or forty "Discworld" books total, which cluster into subgroups around individual characters). While you could certainly start here if you wanted to, new readers might find it more rewarding to begin with The Wee Free Men, the first in Tiffany's sub-series, followed by A Hat Full of Sky and then Wintersmith, before proceeding to this one.

This is billed as a children's / young adult book, although little sets it apart from Pratchett's other fantasy except for some (very) slight bowdlerizations; primarily, this is a young adult book because the heroine is a young adult, and it deals with issues that young adults have to deal with. Like the Harry Potter books, the content and tone of the Tiffany series have been maturing ever so slightly with each book to match the advancing maturity of the protagonist, and while this one's still suitable for younger readers, it definitely contains a few jokes likely to fly over their heads (at least unless some other source has educated them). Tiffany herself is portrayed as very mature for her age - a portrayal deliberate on Pratchett's part, I believe, as Tiffany is exactly as mature as most people that age tend to think they are, and almost as mature as she herself wants to be.

Each volume in the series sets Tiffany a particular problem to resolve; here the problem (s) are innuendo, rumour, gossip, romantic rivalries, and pointless mob hatred, things that many if not most teenage girls will identify with (even if in Tiffany's case the "witch hunt" she has to deal with is somewhat more literal). Tiffany's prior romance with Roland, the son of the local Baron, has clearly ended, and Roland's is about to marry Letitia, the daughter of a (very obnoxious) Duchess; meanwhile, some of the residents of the Chalk are stirring up hatred and accusations against Tiffany, and stalking her is the Cunning Man, a personification of suspicion, envious rage, hatred, mob violence, and the witch hunt.

Pratchett's typical mastery is still present here, his wit and his wisdom; the only real sign of his advancing illness is that there's a sense, especially in the novel's conclusion, that this may be the final Tiffany Aching novel and the final novel of his Witches series (if only because it features a cameo appearance from a character we haven't seen since the very first Witches-series novel, Equal Rites, first published twenty-plus years ago). All in all, it's an excellent book, fully as good as anything else he's written, and a book that will definitely please fans of the series and new readers alike.
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Tiffany Aching is the witch of Chalk, which means that she has to do all the messy rural stuff that witches do. But witches aren't always as appreciated as they should be, and Terry Pratchett's "I Shall Wear Midnight" flings the sensible young girl -- and the Nac Mac Feegles -- against a threat that really, really doesn't like witches.

Tiffany is doing the usual witchy rounds in Chalk -- nursing the sick, burying the dead, watching cheese races, and rescuing the occasional girl from an abusive father. Then the local Duke expires after a long illness, and it's up to Tiffany to tell his son Roland and his "watercolour-painting wife-to-be" about what happened.

The problem is, she's being stalked by a creepy eyeless man with a vile psychic stench, who is inspiring people to hate and distrust witches. Suddenly stones are being thrown, accusations are being made, and Tiffany even finds herself in the Ankh-Morpork jail. And if Tiffany doesn't find a way to stop the Cunning Man, things will get very toasty for the witches...

Due to having Alzheimer's disease, Terry Pratchett had to dictate "I Shall Wear Midnight" instead of the usual computer typing. As a result, the book's beginning is very rambly and scattered, as if Pratchett hadn't fully thought out how the plot was going to go -- but after the Duke's death, things start to tighten up and move faster.

And Pratchett hasn't lost any of his delicious wit, whether it's poking fun at cliches (the cackle box!) or sharp dialogue ("Have you boys got no shame?" "I couldnae say, but if we have, it probably belonged tae somebody else"), or his knack for writing truly chilling moments, such as Tiffany seeing the Cunning Man's holes-where-his-eyes-should-be, or the almost palpable darkness as hatred starts to take over people's hearts.

But unlike authors who talk down to "young readers," Pratchett doesn't shy away from realistically dark moments, like Tiffany caring for a girl who was badly beaten by her father until she miscarried. These parts -- and the "rough music" -- are more horrifying than the Cunning Man.

Tiffany herself is a very realistic depiction of a sensible, mature, no-nonsense young lady (like a younger version of Granny Weatherwax). While Pratchett occasionally reminds us that she IS still young (and prone to little stabs of jealousy), she grows up a great deal in this book. And there are some hints of romance with a young guard (who can pronounce the word "marvelous").

"I Shall Wear Midnight" is an excellent -- possibly final -- entry in Terry Pratchett's Tiffany Aching series. It starts out rather slow, but soon kicks into stride.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon November 11, 2011
It's difficult to think of an author who is more humane, more caring, more simply likeable than Sir Terry. He believes in people, even those he doesn't have much use for. And these traits have made him one of the most popular living authors in any language. Having said all that, it's also nice to be able to say that this is a very good wrap-up to the four-volume story of Tiffany Aching, Witch of the Chalk, Witch of the Hills, Big Wee Hag to the Nac Mac Feegles, and all of sixteen years old -- though she's been a witch since she was nine. At least, I *assume* it's the wrap-up -- but I previously thought _Wintersmith_ was the end of a trilogy. (On the other hand, there're Pratchett well-known medical problems. . . .) Tiffany has had a hard apprenticeship, what with overcoming local prejudice and kissing Winter and all, but now she's got a handle on things and she stays very, very busy, looking after her people. But trouble is brewing in the form of an ancient and evil force of hatred and prejudice, and if she doesn't defeat it, it could make things very difficult for all witches -- not to mention for innocent old ladies who merely seem a bit odd. But if the evil defeats her, it will take over her body and will know everything she knows. And then the other witches will have to kill her, whether they want to or not, for their own protection. As Granny Weatherwax says, "We do good. We don't do nice." But Tiffany has a number of uncommon skills she can call on, including her friendly relationship with fire. Meanwhile, she also has to help the old Baron prepare for his upcoming death, and help Roland become the new Baron, and figure out how to deal with the jealousy of Roland's fiancée, who is also an untutored witch. Note that this is (theoretically) a YA book, though some people (those who think adolescents must be protected from the world) will undoubtedly object to certain themes and scenes. But, like Robert Heinlein, Pratchett produces books for young readers that will appeal to us middle-aged types as well. And through it all, Pratchett spins his own magic with the language, which he does better than almost anyone. A lovely book.
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on October 12, 2014
I loathe to give anything by Terry Pratchett anything less than 5 stars. And it's not exactly the book's fault, but it's the marketing, really. I had been reading all of the Tiffany Aching stories to my son, age 6. I don't read him the regular Discworld books because the subject matter is too, shall we say, advanced. But Tiffany Aching was great, and he so much enjoyed hearing the voices for all of the Nac Mac Feegles. So when we ordered I Shall Wear Midnight as the next installment of Tiffany Aching, it was strange to find the cover a bit different and the book taller than the others. I assumed this was a fluke.

Then we naively began to read it aloud. Let me tell you something: this is NOT a children's book. The themes in it are dark, scary, unpleasant things that should not be introduced to children. It was only after the first few chapters (skipping as many unsavory bits as possible) that we came to recognize that this book was really not something that we could read to our first grader.

Some of the themes in it involve things like a teen girl whose father beats her so badly, while drunk, that she miscarries her illegitimate child. There are themes of lynching (a major theme) and suicide and insanity throughout as well as a thiller/scary ethereal character haunting around and inciting violence.

If you are looking for another Discworld novel that challenges your mind, this is a good read. If you are looking for a fun book to read to your child, skip this one.
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Tiffany Aching is the witch of Chalk, which means that she has to do all the messy rural stuff that witches do. But witches aren't always as appreciated as they should be, and Terry Pratchett's "I Shall Wear Midnight" flings the sensible young girl -- and the Nac Mac Feegles -- against a threat that really, really doesn't like witches.

Tiffany is doing the usual witchy rounds in Chalk -- nursing the sick, burying the dead, watching cheese races, and rescuing the occasional girl from an abusive father. Then the local Duke expires after a long illness, and it's up to Tiffany to tell his son Roland and his "watercolour-painting wife-to-be" about what happened.

The problem is, she's being stalked by a creepy eyeless man with a vile psychic stench, who is inspiring people to hate and distrust witches. Suddenly stones are being thrown, accusations are being made, and Tiffany even finds herself in the Ankh-Morpork jail. And if Tiffany doesn't find a way to stop the Cunning Man, things will get very toasty for the witches...

Due to having Alzheimer's disease, Terry Pratchett had to dictate "I Shall Wear Midnight" instead of the usual computer typing. As a result, the book's beginning is very rambly and scattered, as if Pratchett hadn't fully thought out how the plot was going to go -- but after the Duke's death, things start to tighten up and move faster.

And Pratchett hasn't lost any of his delicious wit, whether it's poking fun at cliches (the cackle box!) or sharp dialogue ("Have you boys got no shame?" "I couldnae say, but if we have, it probably belonged tae somebody else"), or his knack for writing truly chilling moments, such as Tiffany seeing the Cunning Man's holes-where-his-eyes-should-be, or the almost palpable darkness as hatred starts to take over people's hearts.

But unlike authors who talk down to "young readers," Pratchett doesn't shy away from realistically dark moments, like Tiffany caring for a girl who was badly beaten by her father until she miscarried. These parts -- and the "rough music" -- are more horrifying than the Cunning Man.

Tiffany herself is a very realistic depiction of a sensible, mature, no-nonsense young lady (like a younger version of Granny Weatherwax). While Pratchett occasionally reminds us that she IS still young (and prone to little stabs of jealousy), she grows up a great deal in this book. And there are some hints of romance with a young guard (who can pronounce the word "marvelous").

"I Shall Wear Midnight" is an excellent -- possibly final -- entry in Terry Pratchett's Tiffany Aching series. It starts out rather slow, but soon kicks into stride.
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Tiffany Aching is the witch of Chalk, which means that she has to do all the messy rural stuff that witches do. But witches aren't always as appreciated as they should be, and Terry Pratchett's "I Shall Wear Midnight" flings the sensible young girl -- and the Nac Mac Feegles -- against a threat that really, really doesn't like witches.

Tiffany is doing the usual witchy rounds in Chalk -- nursing the sick, burying the dead, watching cheese races, and rescuing the occasional girl from an abusive father. Then the local Duke expires after a long illness, and it's up to Tiffany to tell his son Roland and his "watercolour-painting wife-to-be" about what happened.

The problem is, she's being stalked by a creepy eyeless man with a vile psychic stench, who is inspiring people to hate and distrust witches. Suddenly stones are being thrown, accusations are being made, and Tiffany even finds herself in the Ankh-Morpork jail. And if Tiffany doesn't find a way to stop the Cunning Man, things will get very toasty for the witches...

Due to having Alzheimer's disease, Terry Pratchett had to dictate "I Shall Wear Midnight" instead of the usual computer typing. As a result, the book's beginning is very rambly and scattered, as if Pratchett hadn't fully thought out how the plot was going to go -- but after the Duke's death, things start to tighten up and move faster.

And Pratchett hasn't lost any of his delicious wit, whether it's poking fun at cliches (the cackle box!) or sharp dialogue ("Have you boys got no shame?" "I couldnae say, but if we have, it probably belonged tae somebody else"), or his knack for writing truly chilling moments, such as Tiffany seeing the Cunning Man's holes-where-his-eyes-should-be.

But unlike authors who talk down to "young readers," Pratchett doesn't shy away from realistically dark moments, like Tiffany caring for a girl who was badly beaten by her father until she miscarried. These parts -- and the "rough music" -- are more horrifying than the Cunning Man.

Tiffany herself is a very realistic depiction of a sensible, mature, no-nonsense young lady (like a younger version of Granny Weatherwax). While Pratchett occasionally reminds us that she IS still young (and prone to little stabs of jealousy), she grows up a great deal in this book. And there are some hints of romance with a young guard (who can pronounce the word "marvelous").

"I Shall Wear Midnight" is another excellent entry in Terry Pratchett's Tiffany Aching series. It starts out rather slow, but soon kicks into stride.
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on September 29, 2010
I pre-ordered this book -ages- ago and had been extremely excited to get my hot little hands on it. When the book came, I tore open the package, sat down, and consumed it. And now that I have, I write this knowing full well that most people will disagree with my take on it. However, like Unseen Academicals and Monstrous Regiment, I disliked this story from the beginning.

I appreciate that he addressed -real- topics that happen in real life--domestic violence, the power of hate, the ugliness of rumors, and the bittersweet nature of growing into adulthood in general. He knows damned well that kids are more than able to deal with these topics, especially if they are being written about in an intelligent, thoughtful manner. That is one of the things I always have loved about Pratchett and that I always will, especially in his kids books. I reread most of my Discworld books at least once every few years--my absolute favorites I reread at least once a year. A few treasured ones (for me, Feet of Clay is my ultimate Discworld book, with the other Guard books behind it) are reread several times.

But this one felt...forced and stilted to me, from the start. Admittedly, part of that is the style. The beauty of Pratchett has always been in his utterly genius way with words, the way he skillfully takes innocent looking words and strings and slides them together into a prose that almost seems to glow on the page with a sly and intelligent sense of humor that -at the very same time- manages to make very real social commentary about our own world. This book lacked that same flow of words and blazingly fast wit. Before people pile on, I understand the main reason behind the style issue (apparently this book had to be dictated) and (frankly) am rather in awe of the achingly (ha, no pun intended!) brief but sweet glimpses of the turns of phrases that were prime Pratchett that occur occasionally in the book.

That said, the real problem with the story for me, period, was the actual....story. The villain was definitely scary but despite this, I found that I disliked MANY of the new characters in the story. The idea of new characters themselves don't bother me. (Moist Von Lipwig is still one of my favorite Discworld characters and Tiffany? Is fantastic!) But I violently disliked Amber, Preston, Leticia, the Duchess, Derek, and the urban witches. I disliked how several of the characters behaved in the book and the strange way their strange behavior never....really....got addressed. (Two in particular? Jeanne and Roland.) There was also the resurfacing of an long-gone Discworld character that made no sense, seemed tossed in for no particularly good reason and who, ultimately, contributed very little beyond a bit of 'so this is the backstory'. Tiffany's 'adventure' in Anhk-Morpork made zero sense as I read it and seemed, quite frankly, horribly forced.

As I read the book, I was to surprised to find that I felt angry the entire time and I violently threw the book away once I finished. I will reread it down the road and give it another try after some time passes but I'm not anticipating liking it on a second read (I didn't like Unseen Academicals or Monstrous Regiment on a second read either.) I understand where the more positive reviews are coming from but I have to say, when I finished reading this book, I was extremely disappointed.

Will I buy the next Discworld book? Absolutely, even while knowing I may well dislike it (won't know till I read it). Do I still love Terry Pratchett? Without even a smidge of doubt. Did I enjoy this book? Not even a tiny amount.
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on October 14, 2011
The fourth book in the ongoing tale of Tiffany Aching is darker than the first three, but the same wisdom, cleverness and charm comes through.

Reading the book I was struck with the idea that this would be the end of the Aching novels, and some things at the end of the book (no spoilers!) seem to confirm that. Even so, the book is wonderful. There is always more than meets the eyeand Sir Terry delivers full value for your money.

Read the first three books (The Wee Free Men, A Hat Full of Sky, Wintersmith) and you will love the last (or perhaps latest) in the series.

Good stuff.
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