A Hat Full of Sky (Discworld)
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Sir Terry Pratchett died on 12th March 2015
Photography © David Bird
Pratchett's third children's novel set in the Discworld, and the second to feature wannabe witch Tiffany Aching and the Wee Free Men, is so ridiculously well written and consistently funny it makes you wonder how he can keep writing such superlative novels without cheating a bit. It would be reassuring to think that the Carnegie Medal-winning author of The Amazing Maurice and his Educated Rodents and The Wee Free Men had his own small army of professional helpers, not unlike like a US sitcom, inventing and deliberating about which are the best jokes and plot lines to use to ensure the best quality quotient. But it's all his own work and that makes each brilliant novel more remarkable because of it.
A Hat Full of Sky continues the adventures of eleven-year-old Tiffany as she endeavours to become a proper witch. She's 'done' magic before, quite spectacularly and to great effect, but now she must be apprenticed to an established practitioner of the craft, the amazing Miss Level, in order to learn exactly how she did it. Unfortunately for her, there's a crazed and malevolent ancient spirit buzzing about, called a Hiver, who is looking for a convenient host to consume. Hiver's are attracted to greatness, and Tiffany hides an enormous talent that seems ripe for domination.
Still grateful for Miss Aching's past help, a crack team of several Wee Free Men, nature's funkiest, drunkest and bluest fairy folk, take it upon themselves to help Tiffany out. Hiver's, however, are unbeatable and it's a definite "sooey-side mission" to save the big wee hag from harm.
It's great to see writing of such quality in a children's novel, and it's further evidence that this sector of the publishing world is having a bit of a golden decade. Long may it continue! (Age 10 and over)--John McLay --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
"A great Pratchett strength is the sense that if the jokes were dropped there would still be a good, engaging fantasy thriller here" (Independent)
"Fantastically inventive and humorous fantasy adventure. Fans will be sky high" (Sunday Times)
"Pratchett's ear for dialogue is superb . . . His deep feeling for landscape, animals, kindness and courage make his adventures deeply satisfying as well as clever" (Amanda Craig The Times)
"Oodles of dry wit, imagination and shrewdly observed characters" (Independent on Sunday)
"Pratchett weaves a tale that isn't afraid to detour into biting satire or to stop and admire a mot particularly juste, but that keeps returning to the critical question of identity . . .By turns hilarious and achingly beautiful, this be just right" (Kirkus Reviews) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
The book also features an exceptionally rowdy, and thoroughly entertaining, bunch of fairies. The Wee Free Men, we also known as the Nac Mac Feegle, are a Pictsie race who were thrown out of Fairyland for being drunk, disorderly and rebellious. They are covered in tattoos, have red hair and blue skin and wear little other thank kilts and swords. An extremely fast and strong race, they are fond of fighting, stealing and drinking - Granny Aching's Special Sheep Liniment is a particular favorite. There have been a few changes since "The Wee Free Men", however. The clan now has a new gonnagle, Awf'ly Wee Billy Bigchin Mac Feegle, and a new Kelda, Jeannie of the Long Lake. Jeannie, as tradition demands, has married the Big Man o' the Clan, Rob Anybody Feegle. She is also responsible for possibly the biggest change of them all. The Nac Mac Feegle had once been afraid of reading and writing, believing it to be a dangerous type of magic. Jeannie now wants the clan, beginning with Rob Anybody, to learn how to read and write.Read more ›
This is the second book in the Tiffany Aching series (after The Wee Free Men and before at least a couple more with the tentative titles of Wintersmith and When I Am Old I Shall Wear Midnight).
Tiffany is now eleven, two years have passed since the events of The Wee Free Men and the incident with the Fairy Queen. She's learnt a few tricks since then, like the ability to step out of her own body, which is actually very handy when your only mirror is too small and you want to check if your hair is well combed at the back of your head. Although she likes wearing that invisible hat Mistress Weatherwax gave her.
Now Miss Tick the witch is bringing her to the mountains, to Miss Level's cottage to be more precise, an old witch with two bodies, where she shall begin her apprenticeship.
Her news friends, the other witches' apprentices, and especially Annagramma Hawkin, mock her because she's only good at sheep and cheese, and Miss Level only helps old people or acts as a midwife and she's not even doing proper magic, and of course Tiffany's not even wearing proper witch clothes with stars and sequins, let alone a real witch hat. In the end, Tiffany's apprenticeship turns out to be not exactly what she expected, but much, much more.
And all that time, the little blue fairy men, the Nac Mac Feegle, are watching over her. And what they find out is that an evil spirit, a Hiver, is pursuing Tiffany, waiting to take up her body the next time she steps out of it. Rob Anybody and his mates set out to help her.
I really really love the Tiffany Aching books.Read more ›
In this sequel to The Wee Free Men, young Tiffany Aching begins her apprenticeship in witchcraft. However, her activities have attracted the attention of a disembodied spirit, an unkillable spirit that wants to take Tiffany over, body and soul. Tiffany's meager training has not given her everything she needs to defeat this invincible opponent, but with her native talent and pluck, plus the help of some good friends, it might just be enough.
This is another *great* Terry Pratchett book, perhaps the best that he has created in years! I enjoyed the new and fascinating characters that Terry includes in this story, plus the return of Granny Weatherwax and the wonderful Nac Mac Feegle (little blue pictsies who can outdrink and outfight just about anyone and anything). Plus, the setting is great, and the story is incomparable. If you are a fan of humorous fantasy, then you must read this novel by the king of them all, Terry Pratchett!
All the ingredients are here for a great Discworld story, but in a condensed, simpler form. Following on from The Wee Free Men, this book again stars eleven year old witch-in-training Tiffany Aching and the band of faires that help her, the Nac Mac Feegle. Mind you, these aren't you're ordinary faries. These are like a band of smurf-like Bravehearts, complete with thick scottish accents (which are a delight to read out loud) and a desire to fight everything that moves and a lot of stuff that doesn't.
Tiffany, moving away from the place where she lived, goes to learn from Miss Level, a witch with a very perculiar ability, even for a witch. But, something is moving with her, following her. An evil force intent on taking control of her body. And the Nac Mac Feegle, who fear nothing, are afraid of it. Probably because it hasn't got anything that they can deliver a good kicking to. The story moves along nicely, and is full of great touches. And, as a fan of the series, it was great to see Granny Weatherwax is still going strong, and taking a shining to young Tiffany - who could very possibly become a greater witch than even the legendary Granny Weatherwax.
I would strongly recommend this to any reader, young or old, who understands the value of a good story.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I used to own the paperback and probably still have it somewhere but found myself buying a few of the older Discworld books just to re-read again. Read morePublished 4 days ago by someone
Just one of Terry Pratchett's masterpieces. A fine addition to any Pratchett collection.Published 20 days ago by A G Stayte
Bought as a gift for my retired mother, she loved it as mush as any teenager would.Published 21 days ago by Tim R