Top critical review
81 people found this helpful
Terry Pratchett - I Shall Wear Midnight
on 8 September 2010
Erm, I may have missed something, I'm not sure. This is by Terry Pratchett. Ergo, it's very good. Fair enough. I can get on board with that. That statement is so reliable that I'd consider it as close to fact as anything subjective can be.
However, this one's lacking. Sorry, it is. Is this effort not just a bit too slight (even considering it's one of the "Young Adult" entries)? I certainly think so. The plotting is loose, the writing is quite loose. It may well be a factor of the books now being written by dictophone technology. That's fine: I'd expect some kind of adjustment period. However: that doesn't alter the fact that I Shall Wear Midnight is a weak entry in this series.
Pratchett is ALWAYS fantastic fun, and this book is no exception. He is always clever, and always witty, and this is no exception either. But there's something missing here: the newly introduced characters lack the depth of newly introduced characters in previous books (Mrs Proust, for example, who brims with potential but never quite makes it, and Eskarina Smith, who sees a wonderful return after nearly 35 books without a mention!) who normally burst off the page fully [mal]formed. The plotting needs tightening up. The big "evil" our Tiff' has to deal with feels more like a ten minute sub-section to an episode of Eastenders than the stuff of a full novel, and is treated as such in the end. That's not to say that all the periphery stuff - a visit to Ankh-Morpork, the death of Baron and the passing on of a baronetcy, a marriage, a witch where one was not expected, etc - is all great fun and very amusing to follow, but there's less coherence and grand design here than normal. It's all just very flimsy. Ogg and coven put in an appearance and say all the usual things, but Pratchett's just going through the motions, and they never feel like real characters are they normally always do. Normally, Pratchett writes up to the young adult audience. I don't get that impression here at all. This is territory previously covered in all the other Aching books, and at a more intelligent level.
As such, it's the weakest Pratchett novel since - possibly - Eric, which you never get the impression Pratchett really got off the ground with himself. However, all that being said... it's still a very very pleasant day's reading, and an off-par Pratchett is much better than the majority of books you could select. My true feeling is to give it a four, however I take it upon myself to award a three to get the average closer to my true feelings. Mean, I know.