Tag Archives: Terry Pratchett
Bedtime Stories: I Shall Wear Midnight
Post by Mark T. Locker.
I Shall Wear Midnight by Terry Pratchett
The imaginative universe known as Discworld is vast, varied, magical and hilarious. Terry Pratchett’s creation has developed quite an adoring following since the first novel was published in 1983. In 2001 he wrote his first novel for young adults. Naturally, that’s when I finally became interested. In all, Pratchett wrote six young adult novels which is only a fraction of the 41 novels overall. Five of these are about the young witch of the Chalk, Tiffany Aching, and her horde of tiny, blue, crude fae folk, the Nac Mac Feegles. Dressed in kilts and always ready for a fight, a drink, or preferably both, the Feegles are sworn to protect the “Wee Big Hag” and are always nearby, if unseen.
In I Shall Wear Midnight Tiffany Aching is now all of 15 years old and officially the witch of the land. Although the people rely on her and she helps them with all manner of problems, once in a while a sentiment of fear and suspicion arises in the villages and witches are seen as a threat more than anything. Unfortunately this is where Tiffany finds herself now. Even the baron distrusts her, although she has been his friend since she freed him from the Fairy Queen when she was nine years old. It’s trying time for all the witches.
Terry Pratchett had a particular knack for striking a tone between silly, insightful, and touching all at once. This book is no exception, though it is a little more touching than the earlier Tiffany Aching novels. Maybe that’s because we are also watching this little girl (who was already awesome and tough at nine) grow up into a young woman, full of self-confidence but also doubt, frustration, and confusion as she learns how to navigate the world as an almost grown-up. This series of books has been a great companion to me and I highly recommend it to any fans of fantasy, YA lit, or just great storytelling.
Bedtime Stories: The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents
Post by Mark T. Locker.
The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents by Terry Pratchett.
Ladies and Gentlemen, I have discovered Terry Pratchett. It’s possible that there are one or two who have “discovered” him before me. Maybe the impeccable narrator of the YA series I’ve been enjoying. Maybe some others who put together the 8 million websites devoted to his vast collection of novels, most of which are set in the magical Discworld realm. I began devouring his stories a few weeks ago only to discover that I even own a couple and I never even knew. Well, I guess I have fantastic taste even when I don’t even know it!
The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents is the first book in the Discworld series aimed at young adults. It tells the story of a cat named Maurice and a band of rats and a “stupid looking kid” that travel with him from village to village. Mind you, these are not your average rats and cat. The kid? Well, he’s pretty average. But the rats, who lived once in a garbage pile behind a wizards’ castle, ate some discarded magical paraphernalia and gained a sudden self-awareness, complete with speech and understanding. Maurice, too has gained the same knowledge. He doesn’t eat garbage, but he does eat rats, so…I’m sure we can guess how he got his gift. My favorite bit about this book is the rats’ names. They picked them out themselves off labels from discarded food containers. So we have rats named Additives, Peaches, Serves Four, and—my personal favorite—Dangerous Beans.
My six-year-old isn’t quite at a point to take on all the themes and scary bits in this story, but in a couple years he will be and we will venture through this hilarious magical world together as Maurice and his stupid looking piper kid and his trained rats trick locals into believing that they are ridding the towns of rats.