Terry Pratchett is one of my favorite authors. I would love to meet him and shake his hand, thanking him for nearly single-handedly raising the intelligence-level of modern fantasy and satire. As you read his Discworld books with their deliciously irreverent mythologies and perfectly aimed character descriptions, you get the feeling that this guy has read more books than you could ever read– and he’s remembered all of it.
I Shall Wear Midnight is the fourth book in Pratchett’s Tiffany Aching sequence and is in many ways the most sentimental and brazen. It follows Tiffany as she encounters an evil that is bent on destroying her and her kind. Her journey is accompanied by the delightful and brilliant Nac Mac Feegles. These people are a few inches tall, insanely strong, blue, and talk with a heavy brogue. They have names like Rob Anybody and Daft Wullie. They live by a strict code of honor, and aside from that code, anything goes.
Between Tiffany, love interests, the Nac Mac Feegles and a strong plot, I Shall Wear Midnight is a good read. What makes it an unusually moving yet frustrating read is the bold sentimentality and preaching done by Tiffany and witches in general. On the good side, Pratchett has a wonderful appreciation for women and what they do. He also has a reverence for life which is inspirational. Additionally, his protagonists are motivated by a strong sense of real justice and duty. Furthermore, his books are populated by people who act like real people and the people we are cheering for find strength and courage to become better, and by doing so, overcome their challenges.
This is wonderful.
But Pratchett is obviously atheist. There’s nothing wrong with that. Indeed, he’s typically been very indulgent towards believers, essentially allowing them their strong beliefs and rituals as long as their harmless. But in I Shall Wear Midnight, deity and worship seem to be a big joke. The priest of Om in this book seems to know perfectly well that what he believes is idiotic and silly. Indeed, the antagonist originated as a priest. It just feels a little preachy.
I have little trouble putting these attitudes aside as I read. Thus, the book is still excellent. There are long stretches of prose so beautiful that you marvel. There are brilliant, laugh-out-loud moments as well. As always, the Feegles delight. This book is highly recommended.
Pens: 4.5 out of 5