Gavin F (gavluvsga) wrote in 50bookchallenge,
Gavin F

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Book #55: The Wee Free Men by Terry Pratchett

Number of pages: 320

The second young adult Discworld novel sees the return of the Nac Mac Feegle, a band of tiny blue men, who previously appeared in Carpe Jugulum, and introduces a new central character, Tiffany Aching, whom the rest of the young adult novels revolve around.

Tiffany Aching is descended from a famous witch, and wants to become a witch herself; near the start, she catches a glimpse of the Nac Mac Feegle, and eventually becomes friends with them. The main plot seems reminiscent of The Snow Queen, and has Tiffany and the Nac Mac Feegle travelling to a world where it is permanently winter where a mysterious queen has kidnapped Tiffany's younger brother.

This is where things start getting bizarre, as all of the characters find themselves trapped within dreams, manipulated by the queen herself, as they attempt to get Tiffany's brother back.

I enjoyed this more than the first young adult title; I found the plot easier to get into, even when the dream sequences got increasingly bizarre, and I found there was more humour. I enjoyed looking out for references, and found allusions to The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, Labyrinth and even (as far as I could tell) Time Bandits, as well as several very funny jokes about fairy tale cliches.

One of the best moments came near the end though, when...

[Spoiler (click to open)]

Granny Weatherwax and Nanny Ogg made an appearance.

I'll have to get used to them being written with younger readers in mind (essentially they act the same in this book, only without the frequent swearing found in the adult books), but I got the impression from their brief appearance that they feature more significantly in the subsequent Tiffany Aching books, which I want to read, even though I did hear a spoiler for the final book, The Shepherd's Crown.

Overall I enjoyed this book a lot, and hope that the subsequent young adult titles will keep up the standard set here.

Next book: Moirai (Ruth Silver)
Tags: dreaming, fantasy, witchcraft, young adult

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