I miss the days when a Pratchett book was just a Pratchett book – brilliant and wonderful and funny and sharp and thought-provoking. Now, rereading A Hat Full of Sky, it’s all those things, but now there’s this overlay of SAD. Sad that we don’t get to see Tiffany Aching grow up. Sad about what happens to Granny Weatherwax. Heartbroken and furious at the universe for what happened to Sir Terry. SIGH.
But if you let the Nac Mac Feegle chase away the sad for a while, it’s still a great book. Tiffany Aching is 11, a witch of the chalk, a hag o’ the hills. The time has come for her to hone her natural witching ability with actual training, so she goes to apprentice with Miss Level, leaving her chalk hills for the first time. This book perfectly captures the adolescent growing pains, as Tiffany is excited and scared by all the newness, trying to fit in with her peers, away from home but trying desperately to be a grownup.
It’s not only regular growing-up doubts and fear that plague her, of course – that would be too easy. Tiffany has also caught the attention of a hiver: a mindless, formless, power-hungry entity that haunts the world looking for powerful humans to possess. Luckily, she’s got the Nac Mac Feegle on her side (like the fairies in the flowers, except if the flowers were thistles), and Granny Weatherwax herself is in Tiffany’s corner.
This book had me heaving a happy, melodramatic, bittersweet sigh. It’s always a treat to revisit the Discworld, and while now it’s sadder, it will help me not take these marvelous books for granted.