I Shall Wear Midnight is Terry Pratchett’s fourth installment in the series featuring the young country witch, Tiffany Aching, and her raucous team of little blue “pictsie” cohorts, the Nac Mac Feegle, otherwise known as the Wee Free Men. As the title implies, this book is much darker than the first three novels in the Tiffany Aching series.
It is evident that Tiffany has grown up far beyond her sixteen years, due largely to the cumbersome responsibilities of being a witch and dealing with the uglier aspects of life that no one else wants to tackle or clean up after. Though the community she serves should be grateful to her for doing the jobs that no one else seems capable or willing to do, instead, Tiffany finds herself the object of a witch-hunt led by a dark spirit known as The Cunning Man. Once again, it is up to Tiffany to save the day, to save herself, and to restore order to her land and her people.
“When the charging, clanging mob arrived, Tiffany was sitting quietly in the barn with the sleeping girl. The noise went all around the house but did not go inside; that was one of the unwritten rules. It was hard to believe that the anarchy of the rough music had rules, but it did…”
Despite the more chilling storyline, there is still a healthy dose of Pratchett’s playful humor and imaginative characters. As with the other Aching Adventures, the Feegles had me laughing out loud throughout the book. My family has now incorporated certain words and phrases from the Feegle Glossary in the back of the book, such as “crivens” (a general swear word) and “waily, waily” (a cry of despair), which now crop up in our everyday speech when situations warrant a more Feegle-like approach.
The first three books in Terry Pratchett’s young adult Tiffany Aching fantasy series are The Wee Free Men, A Hat Full of Sky, and Wintersmith. These tales also overlap with several of the storylines, locations, and characters found in Pratchett’s adult fantasy Discworld series. Pratchett has received numerous prestigious awards for his work which spans the genres of books for children, young adults, and adults.