The Wee Free Men by Terry Pratchett

Alas! Ana has finally convinced me to read a series out of order. You don’t understand how big of a deal this is to me. It’s ingrained into me to the point of a compulsion that I HAVE to read a series in the order in which is was published. Even if there are subseries within a series. Or even if there are technically books that can be read as standalones. It doesn’t matter. No, no, no. Published order…..The key word being “order”. But Ana has been telling me since day one that with Discworld, it’s ok to jump around. So when I Shall Wear Midnight came out, I said “Well Ok…I’m going to read THAT!” But then Ana said….”Well…you can’t QUITE do that Chris…first, you have to read the other Tiffany Aching books. You need to start with The Wee Free Men.” And I said “Oh. Ok!” And that is what I have done. And it is with much restraint (or a busy work schedule) that I have not yet read A Hat Full of Sky, it’s immediate sequel!

OMG I want a Nac Mac Feegle!!!!! That would be a Wee Free Man…a little blue man…or whatever you want to call them. If I had one, I would probably adamantly say that I did not want one any longer and would someone please get rid of it, but right now I really want one so it can say “crivens” and talk in a wonderful Scottish accent and just cause general shennanigans. But I’m getting ahead of myself. Our story is about Tiffany Aching, a young girl who lives on The Chalk (the ground is made of chalk) on the farm where her grandmother once lived. Granny Aching was a quiet woman, but a woman who was well respected by all and could cure a sheep of any ailment known to man..mostly by using her sheep liniment, a liquid potent enough to get just about anyone drunk. When Granny Aching did speak though, she left words of wisdom. But Granny Aching has passed away now leaving Tiffany to her family and her little brother who is known for getting himself into sticky messes.

Tiffany seems to have a gift that no one else in her family has. A gift that her Granny had as well. And that is the gift of the second sight and third thoughts! The makings of a witch. And when her brother disappears, those gifts are soon put to the test. With the help of the Wee Free Men..little men tattooed all in blue that appear seemingly from nowhere…she sets off on a journey to discover who she is, where her place is in the world, where she comes from and who she will become.

I haven’t said much about the Wee Free Men themselves, because I think they’re best left discovered on your own 🙂 What I can say about this book is that it’s just perfect and I liked it even better than Nation, which up until now I’ve said is my favorite Terry Pratchett book. Of course, it was also only my second Terry Pratchett book I had read! The more Pratchett I read, the more I realize what a genius this man is. Prior to actually reading his books, I always thought he was that “clever and funny fantasy writer.” And he is that…but he’s so much more than that.

In between the humor, and often during the humor, there are truly touching moments. And profound moments. There are “yes!” moments and moments of perfect clarity where Pratchett just seems to get it. And describe things absolutely perfectly. In this book, Pratchett tackles the idea of death quite a bit…the idea of loss, legacy, fulfillment of roles and expectations, memories, dreams, hopes and goals. Does it all so well. Better than I can describe here. You just have to read it for yourself.

There was a moment when the Nac Mac Feegle talked about being dead and Tiffany exclaims to them that they’re quite alive! That she sees them, feels them…and they say that no, this is heaven. That our world, the world we live in day to day is heaven. And she says “But I’M not dead” and they basically say “says who?” or “so what?”. And I just loved that. Replace the idea of heaven with anything else. We assume that everything is ours. We look at everything from our point of view only without ever pausing to think of anyone else. But how much would things change and how much bigger would everything seem or how much smaller would we seem if we stopped to look at things from another perspective? This is why I love Terry Pratchett.

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16 Responses

  1. oh geez Chris.. don’t make me add another book to my wish list! I’m in gothic mode right now…pahleeze! and I so can’t afford any books but thrift shop books right now as it just cost me 400 for new perscriptions and glasses!! go figure huh?! now I can read clearer but can’t buy anything lol.. but happy I have such a large tbr pile!!!!

  2. ps: oh good! I went to amazon and this book is only out in the small paperback version and even with new glasses the small paperbacks are too much of a challenge for me! phew!

  3. I do love Terry Pratchett’s books, but for some reason have yet to read any of this sub-series. I really really must, because everyone says they are wonderful.

  4. I have a copy of this one and now I will make sure that I read it first. I loved your enthusiasm and genuine feelings about this one Chris!!

  5. I have never read any Terry Pratchett books. I don’t think that I’m intimidated as much as worried that I’ll totally hate them while everyone loves them to pieces.

  6. I admit even though I really liked the one Terry Pratchett book I read (and more recently I loved his joint book with Neil Gaiman), I’ve been really scared to try more of them. For some reason the title of “wee free men” is completely off-putting to me, and I don’t even know why! I’m glad it worked for you. Maybe that’ll help me put off my fear of this book and actually read it sometime.

  7. I definitely share your compulsion to read series books in order. If you don’t, it just feels wrong, but I had heard that Discworld is pretty forgiving if you want to jump around a bit. This reminds me that I really want to reclaim a few of the Discworld books languishing on my bookshelf and read them and that The Wee Free Men should probably be on my bookshelf, too. 😉 Great review!

  8. I’m also pretty reluctant to read a series out of order, but I think I’m going to do it with the Discworld books! I wasn’t terribly impressed with THE COLOUR OF MAGIC, but everyone says the later ones are sooooooo much better that I figure I’m safe jumping ahead to Tiffany Aching. 🙂

  9. Deslily, Oh no!! That’s a lot of money for eyeglasses, but I’m so glad that you can see better now! Sadly, I totally understand…I’ve dropped the same on glasses before. Sucks not being able to see, huh? lol. It’s ashame you can only find this one in mass market size! It’s such a fantastic book!!! You really would like this one!

    Fence, Oooooh, I do so think that you would like this one 😀 It truly is fantastic!!

    Staci, YAY \o/ You make my day hearing that you may read it 😀 It’s so very good!!! Hope you enjoy it!!

    Christina, I get that feeling completely. I had the same concern the first time I read him and I started with the first Discworld book, The Color of Magic, which is definitely my least favorite of the three I’ve read. You may want to ask Ana, but from the three I’ve read, I’d start either with this one or Nation…Nation is SO GOOD!

    Amanda, Oh but I think that once you meet the Wee Free Men you’ll absolutely love them 🙂 I do I do I do! They’re such wonderful little guys. I think that if you’ve liked two things he’s written that you’ve read, you’re probably pretty safe with him. Like I told Staci, I wasn’t nuts about The Color of Magic…the first Discworld book, but even that wasn’t horrible.

    Megan, Thank you! I’m glad someone else shares my compulsion :p It feels absolutely horrible to me to read something out of the published order!! Like some type of mortal sin or something :p

    Memory, Another one that is reluctant to read out of order! Hooray 😀 I’m with you…I wasn’t horribly impressed with Color of Magic either,though I didn’t think it awful. But yes…definitely jump ahead to this one!! It’s amazing Mem! I think you’ll really like it!

  10. I am so glad you enjoyed this one, Chris. I read it a few weeks ago and I just love, love, loved it! I’ve been reading Pratchett like crazy this month! He is so wonderful! I can’t believe it took me so long to read him! You should also read Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents!!!

  11. If I were playing Bad Bloggers right now, you would definitely get a point for this book! This series has been on my TBR list for awhile now. I’m definitely going to read it soon. Thanks for telling us to read the series in order. I was wondering about that!

  12. Glad you loved this one Chris. The Nac Mac Feegle are fantastic 🙂 I really need to catch up on these, I’ve still got Wintersmith and Midnight to go.

  13. Okay, now I’m really torn as to which Terry Pratchett to read next–this one? Or The Bromeliad Trilogy? Or Small Gods? Too many good books to read…

  14. Yes! I knew you’d love this. And yeah, I’m a total stickler for series order too, but really, Ana is so right. There are cycles within Discworld that it helps to read in order, but really the whole series doesn’t have to be. Wait till you read the rest of these! I can’t wait to hear what you think.

  15. I want a Wee free Man too! I love them little things to bits. Get to a Hat Full of Sky pronto, it is just as good as the first Tiffany Aching book. Wintersmith was nice too, and very appropriate for the coming season, but I didn’t love it as much as the first two.
    I don’t know why I haven’t read I shall wear midnight yet…O_o

  16. […] reviews: Medieval Bookworm ; Stuff as dreams are made on ; Original content ; Picky Chick This entry was posted in Books and tagged 9 Stars, […]

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