A Hat Full of Sky by Terry Pratchett
book, review, discworld
This review was originally posted at Goodreads and imported here later with next to no spell/grammar checking.
This is a second book in the Tiffany Aching series and I head really high hopes for it. The first one (The Wee Free Men) was amazing. But I didn’t get along with A Hat Full of Sky as much as first.
The setup was good: Tiffany, who has proven herself a capable, but untrained witch leaves home to get an apprenticeship. Things start out well enough, but then something takes over her body and identity, leaving her mind trapped and powerless.
And… I don’t like that. Part of it is personal — losing my mind, my self, was a terrifying prospect long before I found out it’s a very real possibility for me. But part of it does go back to storytelling. I wanted to read more about Tiffany Aching rather than this Hiver-infested thing she became. Turning a protagonist into an antagonist might make for an interesting plot, but it makes for a less enjoyable read.
But mercifully, while this was ostensibly the main plot event, it did not occupy the majority of the book and the other parts make up for it. Tiffany meeting her teacher Miss Level, other witches her own age, dealing with the aftermath of what her body has done and growing. Those were all excellent.
I love the picture of the witches that Terry Pratchett has painted in his world. They take care of the communities nearby, help out people in need, redistribute resources, make sure the life is basically decent and generally do very little actual magic.
This was really nice to see being taught to young Tiffany. Showing how it’s much more about the people than any potions or incantations.
So I have enjoyed the book quite a lot overall, but not without reservations.