Book Review: “The Wee Free Men” by Terry Pratchett

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It’s set in the Discworld of so many of Terry Pratchett’s books, but somehow it doesn’t seem to be part of the Discworld Series. Some characters from the series even appear in it, but it mainly stands on its own. It’s the exciting, scary, outrageously funny fairy tale of a nine-year-old witch named Tiffany Aching, who plunges into a Fairyland where dreams come true (horribly true) in order to save her obnoxious baby brother Wenworth, who has been stolen by the fairy Queen.

Armed with first sight, second thoughts, and a frying pan, and accompanied by a clan of little blue, kilted warriors called the Nac Mac Feegle– also known as the Wee Free Men– also known as the pictsies (not pixies)– Tiffany shoulders the burden of a grown witch. Which is really something, since she lives in the Chalk country (while witches prefer hard rock under them) and has had no lessons in witchery other than the example of her silent, deceased Granny Aching and a single lesson by from the enigmatic Miss Tick.

And now she must face not only her painful memories, but her worst nightmares as well. Besieged by razor-toothed grimhounds, headless horsemen, and Jenny Green Teeth, haunted by parasitic creatures that steal your dreams, and finally confronted by a powerful lady of the Fair Folk who never thinks about anyone but herself, she must navigate the frightening Fairyland to bring back Wentworth, as well as a spoiled rich kid who was stolen by the fairies a year ago. And then she has to keep the Queen from following her back into the Chalk Country, to take over the real world as her own.

Pratchett does a great job depicting Tiffany’s inner and outer journey, and her growth into a great fighter of magical nasties. He also writes some very knowing jokes that had me gasping for air many a time. I love the Nac Mac Feegle! I hope you will meet them soon.

Recommended Age: 12+