With the way this year started out, I figured some light, heart and wisdom would go a long way. It has taken me this long to go back to Sir Terry Pratchett’s books after his death, but I was feeling melancholy and in need of a lift.
Witches Abroad is a fish out of water/fairytale nod that features Granny Weatherwax, Nanny Ogg, and Magrat Garlick (who shall always be known as Magrat the wet hen). The titular witches do indeed travel abroad, and I absolutely would read just a travelogue of their going there and back again , or sit down to a coffee book of Nanny’s postcards home. But there is a story that has to happen, a city to rescue, a Good Witch to be put to rest.
I don’t really like the way the setting for the grand finale, Genua (loosely New Orleans) is done. It seems….superficial, and ill-served. Yes, the book relies on the reader to pick up and be able to fill in references, and I’m aware it’s not the real New Orleans, but an amalgam- to me it stuck out. There are times when Terry Pratchett’s setting come alive as a character in and of themselves (Ankh-Morpork, the Chalk), this is not one of those times. It’s a minor quibble, however, in a story that has a lot going on.
Funny, philosophical, the good guys ‘win’, the bad guys are suitably punished, with a cast of rollicking extras, it’s a good distraction on a freezing cold, down kind of day.