© Terry and Lyn Pratchett.
For a long time the only thing I’d read by Terry Pratchett was “Good Omens,” his collaboration with Neil Gaiman. I made some assumptions about that book I now realize were unwarranted, namely that all the funny bits and jokes were Terry, and all the deeper emotional bits were Neil. I finally tried a solo Pratchett book in 2011, “The Amazing Maurice and his Educated Rodents,” and liked it a lot. Indeed, while it had jokes and humor, the characters were well-rounded and the drama, suspense and emotional content of the story were handled well. The same is true for this one.
Teenager Tiffany Aching is a down-to-Earth farm girl whose grandmother was a respected authority in the area, and perhaps even a person of some magical power who kept it well hidden. Tiffany still mourns her, and when confronted with unexpected magic in her own life, tries to live up to her granny’s legacy, even though she knows nothing about magic. Too bad, because everyone else seems to think she does and should, considering her the old woman’s rightful heir. Tiffany doesn’t lack courage, and she wields a mean frying pan, but the plague of magical horrors emerging in the neighborhood are a tough challenge. Fortunately she has some very small but very strong and fierce allies, the Wee Free Men. They’re Pictsies. “Not PIXIES!” as they shout, combatively. When Tiffany’s baby brother is stolen by an evil fairy queen, she and the Wee Free Men set out to enter the queen’s own realm and steal him back, despite massive odds against them. Tiffany is bringing her pluck, her determination and her frying pan!
Not only are the characters great fun, the story is full of creative and inventive magic and enough twists and turns for several books. A second book about Tiffany and the WFM is part of this omnibus, and I’m looking forward to reading it soon. Highly recommended.