Friday, June 18, 2010

Title: The Wee Free Men
Author: Terry Pratchett
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 263
Genre: Fantasy/Weird
Date Started: May 6, 2010
Date Finished: May 7, 2010

Rating: B

Description (from Barnes & Noble): Up on the chalk downs known as The Wold, witches are banned — ever since the Baron’s son vanished in the woods. Anyway, as all witches know, chalk is no good for magic.

Nine-year-old Tiffany Aching thinks her Granny Aching — a wise shepherd — might have been a witch, but now Granny Aching is dead and it’s up to Tiffany to work it all out when strange things begin happening. There’s a fairy-tale monster in the stream, a headless horseman and, strangest of all, the tiny blue men in kilts, the Wee Free Men, who have come looking for the new “hag”. These are the Nac Mac Feegles, the pictsies, who like nothing better than thievin’, fightin’ and drinkin’. When Tiffany’s young brother goes missing, Tiffany and the Wee Free Men must join forces to save him from the Queen of the Fairies.

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My first impression about this book was "This is a weird story." It was good, just very strange. And it made you think, which is a good thing. But it's still strange. It's supposed to be made into a movie, and I really don't know how they're going to pull that off.

My favorite characters were absolutely the Nac Mac Feegle (the wee free men). They were funny and entertaining, and their matter-of-fact reactions to crazy, magical things helped set them apart from everything else, helped make them more magical (as if being tiny, blue creatures wasn't enough). They are the anti-Smurf. While the Smurfs liked to sing and dance and play games, the Nac Mac Feegle swear and drink and steal. Their dialogue was great too, because Pratchett wrote in brogue for them, rather than merely saying "They had a Scottish brogue."

The main character, Tiffany, annoyed me a little, especially in the beginning. I was having such a hard time connecting with her, but by the end of the book, she had redeemed herself. Speaking of the end of the book, I'm going to have to reread that part, because it still doesn't make sense to me.

Pratchett's writing style helped make this book fun and exciting. It reminded me of the Princess Bride, where the author keeps breaking in to the story to point something out in parentheses. Pratchett did something similar in this book, either through Tiffany or as the narrator. I love it when writers do that. B

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