The Wee Free Men - an entertaining fantasy
The Wee Free Men #30 Discworld by Terry Pratchett
Genre: YA Fantasy
Published 2003, 375 pages
Certainly I've heard of the Discworld series all over the internet and book blogs. My youngest son is a fan. I've been daunted by the number of books in the series - what if I like it? 30+ books??? BUT, I picked this one for a reading challenge this year and now I'm going to have to go back and read 30+ books!
Though it's the 30th in the Discworld series, it's the first in the first in the Aching series. I've learned that the series is broken down into smaller, more digestible, mini series but are loosely related as in the same world/universe. So, I'll work through this "Aching" series (4 books I think), and then will work on the rest.
What an unexpectedly fun book! I didn't realize it was going to be directed at such a young audience, but after the first couple chapters, I found myself thoroughly caught up in the story. Nine year old Tiffany is a self-possessed, smart, determined, and thoughtful girl. And she wants to be a witch.
Tiffany has read her family's only kids' book - fairy tales. And she doesn't believe them.
"She preferred the witches to the smug handsome princes and especially to the stupid smirking princesses, who didn't have the sense of a beetle. They had lovely golden hair, too, and Tiffany didn't. Her hair was brown, plain brown. ... And did the book have any adventures for people who had brown eyes and brown hair? No, no, no ... She couldn't be the prince, and she'd never be a princess, and she didn't want to be a woodcutter, so she'd be the witch and know things, just like Granny Aching."
Tiffany meets an older witch who recognizes her potential and also tells her that two worlds are going to collide and the two of them need help. While she goes to fetch more witches, Tiffany gets caught up in an extraordinary adventure where she meets a talking, helpful toad, AND the delightful, funny, constantly entertaining Wee Free Men. What a creative development! Blue with tattoos, 6 inches tall, oddball little men with bizarre names. Oh my, I loved them all.
Put it all together - a terrific girl character, a grand adventure, witches, an evil queen - and it makes an excellent read. I can't wait to read the next in the series!
And here's a final piece of wisdom passed from Granny Aching to her granddaughter Tiffany after she stopped a man from abusing his donkey:
"Them as can do has to do for them as can't. And someone has to speak up for them as has no voices."