The last time we saw the Witches, they were ushering off their third member into the perils of marriage, and to a King, no less. Anyway, Magrat’s gone now, and things are going funny without a third to balance things out. Nanny Ogg in particular is worried about Granny Weatherwax, who is terrifying under the best of circumstances. They take a trip to Ankh-Morpork after Granny learns that Nanny wrote a book that is a bestseller, but has gotten no royalties from the swindling publisher. And hey, while they’re there, they might as well drop in on Agnes Nitt, a girl from home who’s trying to make it as an opera singer, calling herself Perdita X. They know she’s a witch in the making, but Agnes is determined to resist her fate, even if it does mean everyone thinks the one singing all those beautiful arias is the skinny beautiful blonde girl who faints like a pro. Meanwhile, the legendary opera ghost who has been such good luck has all of a sudden started killing people right and left.
Of course Nanny and Granny (and sensible Agnes, with the great hair and the lovely personality) get involved, and do as only the Witches can do, making sense out of a whole mess of nonsense in every possible form.
This is my eighteenth Discworld book, and I feel like I’m at the point in this series where Pratchett had just nailed his own style so hard that even the halfhearted books are pretty amazing. My least favorite Discworld books have always been the straight parodies of things, so I was a bit surprised that I ended up enjoying this one so much (although I do love Phantom of the Opera). It was also a bit more lightweight than my favorites, but the thing he does with masks was pretty great, and I really love Granny and Nanny, as well as reluctant Agnes.
Also, I waited the whole damn book for the chandelier to fall, and it never did! Terry Pratchett, you dear departed tricky little man.
[3.5 stars, rounded up]