February 10, 2016

Book Review || Saying Goodbye to Discworld

The Shepherd's Crown
Tiffany Aching #5 (Discworld #41)
Sir Terry Pratchett

Published: September, 2015

Random House, hardcover, 352p. (b&w ill.)
ISBN: 9780857534811

“We are all floating in the winds of time.  But your candle, Mistress Weatherwax, 
will flicker for some time before it goes out - a little reward for a life well lived.”

A Shivering Of Worlds.  Deep in the Chalk, something is stirring.  The owls and the foxes can sense it, and Tiffany Aching feels it in her boots.  An old enemy is gathering strength.  This is a time of endings and beginnings, old friends and new, a blurring of edges and a shifting of power.  Now Tiffany stands between the light and the dark, the good and the bad.  As the fairy horde prepares for invasion, Tiffany must summon all the witches to stand with her.  To protect the land.  Her land.  There will be a reckoning...

Ever since I heard of the death of Sir Terry Pratchett last year, I have been torn between wanting to read the final book in the Tiffany Aching series, and not wanting to read the final ever book of the Discworld.  But all good things must come to an end, and yesterday I picked up The Shepherd's Crown to say goodbye.

I enjoyed being back in the world of the Chalk, following Tiffany around as she struggles with the responsibilities left to her after the death of Granny Weatherwax.  The death of this character was totally out of the blue, but was strangely fitting under the circumstances - and it sets in motion the rest of the story.

Before we got to that though, there were two introductions, if you will.  First we got the backstory of the Shepherd's Crown, and then an interlude with a family that was quite out of the blue.

I wasn't quite sure where we were going when the author introduced us to Lord Swivel and his family.  Swivel was such a despot.  The way he treated his 3rd son as an unwanted, and unnecessary, burden... I just wanted to reach into the pages and punch him in the nose!  However, it did set the stage for a small plot that pays off at the end of the book - the chickens (keep that in mind) and the fateful fox hunt.  This is when the neglected son finds his courage to stand up to his father, leaving home and taking his pet with him - much to his father's fury.  This introduction of Geoffrey Swivel was an unexpected twist - and that goat, Mephistopheles!  What a character.  He's like a Feegle on four legs! Geoffrey is not the usual sort of character that one finds in the Chalk, but his unique type of magic plays an integral part in the upcoming fight against a well known foe - the Elves.

After the death of you know who (trying not to spoil you!), Tiffany is run off her broom.  Trying to be everywhere, and do everything herself.  She wants to do everything right, but has to learn when to delegate.  Not something she embraces in a hurry.  Roland is there once or twice, usually putting his foot in it, and we see more of Tiffany's family.  The Nac Mac Feegles are ever present as they try to help their 'big wee hag'.  Still love the Feegles.  They are so adorable, rough, loyal, and funny.   Oh, and there are plenty of quick cameo's by well known figures from the Discworld as news gets out about 'that death', and Tiffany.

Yes, life is changing on the Chalk.

I found reading The Shepherd's Crown to be a strangely sad experience.  It was funny in places, and yet there was the sense that the book was not quite finished.  There was so much more that could have been done with the story... all these little untied threads that now hang uselessly from the Discworld tapestry. 

Until next time,

No comments:

Post a Comment