This review contains spoilers for the first three Tiffany Aching books – start with The Wee Free Men.
Tiffany Aching is finally a witch and on the Chalk, the land where she grew up and which she deeply loves. Being a witch, unfortunately, means that she’s overworked and constantly trying to do the best for everyone, even if they don’t like it. It also means that she’s ostracized, even from the people she once held dear. This includes Roland, the boy she saved in The Wee Free Men and who she thought would be her boyfriend, someday. Instead, as his father lies on his deathbed, Roland must assume the Baron’s responsibilities. But there are bigger problems afoot, namely the Cunning Man, who nudges thoughts against witches wherever he goes, and makes Tiffany endure far more hardships than otherwise would be necessary.
I loved this book. I think it’s my favorite of the series (which makes it appropriate to review today, on my birthday). It was everything that I loved about the rest, with added maturity, romance, and a feeling of completion. I’m content to leave the series here, and in a world where far too many series go on unending, I like that a lot. It could continue, but it doesn’t have to. It’s a book about Tiffany growing up, growing into the inheritance we’ve known about since the start, and even if it’s difficult and she gets into tough situations, she embraces it with all her heart. At the end she has grown and learned. She’s not only a better witch but a better person, an adult ready to face the world.
And, of course, probably half the reason I loved this book best was the fact that it does center on more mature issues; namely, romance, one of my obvious favorite types of plot. I must admit that I was quite sad to discover that Roland and Tiffany weren’t going to end up together, but the explanation was simultaneously so sad and wise at the same time that I couldn’t disagree with it. The way it ends up, of course, is just perfect for Tiffany and hit precisely the right note. I found it even more satisfying than what I had thought was going to happen throughout the first three.
The rest of the book is also substantially darker. Tiffany is now dealing with issues that closely mirror problems in the real world, such as when she rescues a young woman from her abusive father, who has beaten her so badly that she has miscarried a child. There is still humor, but the fact remains that Tiffany is no longer a little girl and the issues she faces are genuine and difficult. I don’t think it’s any coincidence that she also finds herself in the city in this book; it’s more closely intertwined with the adult Discworld books, which reflects on its place as a more mature story than the earlier, more enclosed novels.
I Shall Wear Midnight is a wonderful conclusion to this series, if it is the conclusion; it’s unquestionably my favorite and I know I can’t wait to read this series over again. Highly, highly recommended.
I am an Amazon Associate. I purchased this book.