Author Terry Pratchett, creator of the Discworld series, passed away recently. I hadn’t read (or listened) to any of his novels. That is, until a friend strongly recommended them to me. She informed me that his series doesn’t have to be read in order, which was what was keeping me from beginning the 40 book series, and suggested starting with Wee Free Men on audiobook.
Wee Free Men lives in the Children’s Department. The Discworld storyline involving Tiffany Aching, the young protagonist of Wee Free Men, spans five books. The fifth Tiffany Aching book is Pratchett’s 41st Discworld book, titled The Shepherd’s Crown, to be published posthumously in September. The rest of Tiffany Aching’s books are in the young adult section, and the rest of Pratchett’s books can be found in the Children’s Department, young adult section (pb Y and Y), and science fiction section (pb SF and SF).*
The reader of Wee Free Men is Stephen Briggs, who brings this hilarious book and its hilarious characters to life. We meet Tiffany Aching, a young girl who has already decided that she will be a witch when she grows up after a local woman is falsely accused of witchcraft and freezes to death when her cottage is burned down.
It’s a good thing she’s open to the supernatural because a supernatural disturbance has come to her little village, drawing all manner of mystical creatures, like a sea hag she knocks out with a frying pan. The most interesting creatures are the Nac Mac Feegle, a race of 6 inch tall, blue Scottish warriors known for their speed, their strength, their fighting skill, their thievery, and their ability to drink. They call themselves the Wee Free Men.
Tiffany learns that the disturbance was caused by an evil fairy queen, who likes to steal children. When her own baby brother goes missing, Tiffany enlists the help of the Nac Mac Feegle and uses the meager magic she’s learned to go to the evil fairy queen’s world and get him back.
This book is so funny that I laughed out loud in my car while listening, not caring if I looked like a crazy person. Don’t let the fact that it’s in the Children’s Department make you dismiss it…a lot of books live in both young adult and children’s, like the Harry Potter, Percy Jackson, and Skulduggery Pleasant series. And you shouldn’t miss those books, either.
*What does it mean when you see a pb in an item’s call number? Well, in the fiction and genre fiction sections of the adult collection (which includes young adult), the mass market paperbacks (pb) are in a different location than the hardcover and trade paperbacks because the size difference made it difficult to shelve them. The pb section begins at the end of the alphabet of the regular section…the only exceptions being pb mystery, which begin on shelves perpendicular to the mystery shelves and pb gothic romance, which begin on the shelves closest to the romance.