Book Review: “Witches Abroad” by Terry Pratchett

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The twelfth novel of Discworld stars (once again) Granny Weatherwax and her friends, Nanny Ogg and Magrat Garlick. This time it’s a take-off on the fairy tale of Cinderella, and several other fairy tales get mixed up in it, as well as a journey to the Discworld equivalent of New Orleans.

The front-cover blurb summarizes it as “Three witches make the Godmother an offer she can’t refuse,” which sums it up pretty well. It’s about good and bad fairy godmothers — you can’t have one without the other — and the peril of magic mirrors, and the evil of happy endings, and the way one witch tries to force the real world to live a storybook life (which amounts to, Be Very Happy On Pains of Death).

There’s a frog prince, a sleeping beauty, a magic spinning wheel, a big bad wolf, a voodoo priestess, a zombie, a dwarf love machine named Casanunda (get it?), a lot of business to do with pumpkins, a riverboat gambling parlor, a Mardi Gras, a masked ball, some interesting magical duels, and a girl named Emberella forced to work as a servant though she is destined to be queen. There is also a tale of sibling rivalry and an outrageous episode in which Nanny’s cat, Greebo, is transformed into a man. Quite an adventure! And the moral of the story is, you can’t force happiness on people. It comes from the inside, not the outside.

Recommended Age: 14+