The third book of the Tiffany Aching series, part of the larger Discworld series, finds Tiffany accidentally taking place in a Morris dance. She can’t help herself; she’s simply drawn in. Unfortunately, due to her folly, she finds that the Wintersmith is in love with her because she has taken the place of the Summer Goddess. Since Tiffany is in the mortal world, unlike the Goddess, the Wintersmith can follow her every move, and she must kill him if Spring is ever to arrive for her people. As always, there are plenty of sideplots in the mix, including a witch who sees her own death and the misadventures of the arrogant Annagramma, who finds that she needs quite a bit of help to actually be a witch.
Wintersmith was another enchanting book in the Tiffany Aching series – and a perfect read for when the world is covered in snow, as Tiffany’s is too. It’s full of the same insights and little wisdoms as the first two books were, although I would argue that it’s probably the weakest. Tiffany has much to distract her from the Wintersmith and after the beginning, which throws us into the mix of things, much of the rest of the book feels a bit slow (despite its short length). I still appreciated it all, but the plot definitely felt a bit looser than the previous ones. I did especially love the ending, though.
I probably mentioned it in my last review, but one of the things I appreciate the most about these books is how incredible wonderful all of the characters are. Pratchett doesn’t cut corners on any of them; even Annagramma, the witch who doesn’t really know what she’s doing, has several layers to her personality. She could have been a stereotype so easily, but Pratchett doesn’t take the easy route – he makes her a witch who is uncertain, who covers that up with arrogance, but who truly does want to do well. And, of course, there is Tiffany, who always has that edge of reality to her, as though she could just be a twelve-year-old I’d meet on the street. Plus, it’s impossible to not love the Nac Mac Feegles; the addition of Horace the cheese makes for some hilarious moments throughout this book.
I really enjoyed Wintersmith; it had me so eager to read I Shall Wear Midnight that I didn’t actually wait more than two days, although most of me was saying I should let the series last a bit longer. I would definitely recommend it to all fans of fantasy, but as always I think the series is best begun at the beginning (of this arc anyway) with The Wee Free Men.
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