Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Book Review - Terry Pratchett's A Hat Full of Sky

A Hat Full of Sky (Discworld Book #32) by Terry Pratchett
Published by: Doubleday
Publication Date: 2004
Format: Hardcover, 349 Pages
Challenge: Terry Pratchett, Fantasy
Rating: ★★★★
To Buy(different edition than one reviewed)

Tiffany is leaving her beloved chalk behind. She is off to the mountains to learn the witching. Little does she know, she does not travel alone. There is a dangerous creature following her. The Hiver senses her great power and is drawn inexorably closer. The Feegles are also drawn inexorably closer, but just cause they like watching out for their hag. She has been placed in the house of  Miss Level, both of her, with her OCD ghost. Tiffany has never been away from home and soon the longing for familiar surroundings is almost overwhelming. But soon the local "coven" extends her an invitation. If a bunch of young witches being bossed around by one of their own, Annagramma, could be considered a coven and not just a gathering for say Annagramma to exert control. But Tiffany is not really made welcome, and soon she is questioning why she wanted to be a witch, after all there's not much magic, and a lot of helping the poor, sick and elderly, and no one could see her invisible hat that was given to her by Granny Weatherwax. In fact, her belief was all that made the hat exist, and once that is gone The Hiver has it's invitation. Through the centuries, inhabiting the strongest, the most powerful, the Hiver has used up their lives and discarded their husks behind in a wake of evil. Tiffany is his newest shell. A wonderful, powerful flesh casing. The Hiver tortures and torments those around Tiffany, with only the littlest bit of Tiffany still remaining to watch on in horror, especially during those broomstick rides, Tiffany has never been a fan of heights, or as they should be rightly called, depths. But, as luck would have it, she's able to gain control of her body again and cast the Hiver out. But that only solves the immediate problem. The Hiver is not in Tiffany, which means where has the Hiver gone? How can Tiffany defeat the undefeatable? Can she fight this creature unto the domains of death himself and gain back her faith in herself with all the witches watching and wondering? But the final question is, what does the Hiver want?

This book is the book that made me irrevocably love Tiffany Aching and Terry Pratchett when I first read it. While on one level it is about growing up and not fitting in all while trying to find your calling in life. With the girls in their little exclusive club not looking favorably on the newcomer with a talent for making cheese. There is so much more. The witches in Discworld, while capable of the magics, show that having power and using it are two different things. The greatest power is caring and nurturing and seeing to them that can't. A witch is someone who sees the greater picture and knows that caring for your fellow man is the most powerful magic of all. But Pratchett has this knack, this amazing ability to balance these weightier issues with sheer comic genius. The Feegles are one of the best literary characters around. They have fierce loyalty in Tiffany all in the face of their busy schedule of the fighting and the drinking. But a peculiarity of theirs is that they have a fear of the written word, mainly because if their names are written down it's on a summons to appear in court. But the Feegles are willing to learn, if they are forced to. So begins the feegles sojourn with the alphabet. Rob Anybody views his battle with words as such, a battle. When he overcomes each letter, it's a major victory deserving of high fives all around. Leave it to Pratchett to take the struggle of illiteracy, the thing that is the bane and nightmare of every writer, and make it into the funniest scenes in his book. Because when battling with life and death, a good combat with the letter 'R' can surely lighten the tone of the book. A book like this can be read on so many levels, you really do need to open your eyes and then open them again.


I have yet to read a Tiffany book. I tried a few years back but could not get into it. Thanks to your wonderful review I will give this part of Disc World another shot.

I love Tiffany, she's totally worth a second try!

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