If you are a Discworld fan, you know this is the last book in the series. It’s a Tiffany Aching story and because she’s a witch, the Ramptop witches figure prominently in the story as well. Since this is Terry Pratchett’s last book, one can’t help but think this is his last message to the world.
Brace yourself because Granny Weatherwax dies. I’m not really spoiling anything here because it happens at the beginning of the book and is a catalyst for Tiffany’s journey in finding her place in the witches’ hierarchy. The manner in which Granny Weatherwax treated her impending death – practical to the very end and a no-fuss funeral – is how I imagined Pratchett dealt with his own mortality. The way he wrote of everybody’s reaction to the news is not unlike how the entire world reacted to Pratchett’s own death. It was definitely a somber and heartrending chapter in the book.
With Granny Weatherwax gone, the elves in the Fairy World see an opportunity to enter Discworld and take over. It is up to Tifanny and the other witches to try and stop them. In between, Tiffany struggles with new responsibilities, a long-distance relationship and training an apprentice named Geoffrey.
I couldn’t help but wonder if Tiffany’s journey is how Pratchett views his daughter, Rhianna’s journey. Tiffany has to find her own voice, to carry own Granny Weatherwax’s work but only in the way she sees fit. Perhaps this is how Pratchett would like Rhianna, who is also a writer, to continue on. “Do it your own way,” he seems to say.
The Shepherd’s Crown did not have any true laugh out loud moments like all the other Discworld books. It certainly feels unfinished, like a lot of things could have been further elaborated. However, I do feel it is a sweet, fitting, ending to the Discworld series. The Color of Magic had a tourist going over the edge of the world, beginning all sorts of fantastic adventures. This book ends rather quietly, with teamwork and with lots of help from friends.