Wintersmith by Terry Pratchett
One of the things that I have found as I have read fantasy book after fantasy book, is that life is different in those books. Of course it is, ya daftie, I hear you cry, but bear with me. I obviously know that life is different, that’s why I read them: when you are a freelance writer, you look for any chance possible to jump out of the real world. But you have to remember that if a bit of the book is different, then it is all different from your reality.
By this I mean that if a 13 year old girl is fearing being married off to a prospective husband in a book, you look at the rest of the book to see if that is likely, not your own life.
All of this is to say that, when a writer manages to successfully communicate to me that a 13 year old girl can very well assume the role of someone who, in our day and age, would be a decade or so older, I am exceedingly happy. And that is what happens time and time again throughout Wintersmith by Terry Pratchett, the third book in the Tiffany Aching series of books.
Things were a little better when Tiffany had warmed up. She wondered how much brandy Nanny had added to the milk. Nanny had done one for herself, with probably some milk added to the brandy.
“Isn’t this nice and cozy,” said Nanny after a while.
“Is this going to be the talk about sex?” said Tiffany.
“Did anyone say there was going to be one?” said Nanny innocently.
“I kind of got the feeling,” said Tiffany. “And I know where babies come from, Mrs. Ogg.”
“I should hope so.”
“I know how they get there, too. I live on a farm and I’ve got a lot of older sisters.”
“Ah, right,” said Nanny. “Well, I see you’re pretty well prepared for life, then. Not much left for me to tell you, I expect. And I’ve never had a god pay any attention to me, as far as I can recall. Flattered, are you?”
“No!” Tiffany looked into Nanny’s smile. “Well, a bit,” she admitted.
It is another two years on since A Hat Full of Sky, and this time Tiffany has gone and put her foot in it; literally. The elemental embodiment of winter has fallen in love with her, and it’s going to end badly for somebody. Meanwhile, Annagramma unwittingly becomes the pawn of Granny Weatherwax in her continuing struggle to remind the world that witching has nothing at all to do with magick.
I am sometimes fascinated by the ease with which Pratchett manages to so completely and utterly draw me into the life of a 13 year old girl. It is enough to make me worry: about him or me, I don’t really know. But Tiffany Aching very quickly pervades your life, and you end up finding yourself calling those you’re in love with Tiffany without really realizing what has happened. Tiffany becomes someone that you fall in love with all by yourself, and you ache (teehehe) for her.
Wintersmith is very much the book that, so far, makes you ache for this girl. In the past she has encountered hardships, trials that she must overcome, but they have been of the adventurous sort. This time around, it is her life that is coming under threat, and in a way, it is all her fault.
Her father’s hand caught her chin and gently turned her head around. How soft his hands are, Tiffany thought. Big man’s hands but soft as a baby’s, because of the grease on the sheep’s fleeces.
“We shouldn’t have asked you, should we…” he said.
Yes, you should have asked me, Tiffany thought. The lambs are dying under the dreadful snow. And I should have said no, I should have said I’m not that good yet. But the lambs are dying under the dreadful snow!
The book starts off with a chapter that, chronologically, is set much deeper into the book. This is quickly followed by the obligatory “few months earlier” equivalent. But it works well, because there is known impending doom, and the question is “how did Tiffany get to such a place?” So when it comes time to read over that journey, the lessons learnt, the mistakes made, and the hastily avoided discussions about sex with Nanny Ogg are all part of the dire straits that started us off, and will finish us off as well.
There are beautiful scenes in this book that once again give you an insight into the lives of real shepherds. These scenes make you wonder whether Pratchett himself was a shepherd in another life, or whether his research skills are just top notch. Regardless of how they were formed though, the imagery presented adds gravitas to the actions that Tiffany must take to save the day.
Truly these three books – The Wee Free Men, A Hat Full of Sky and Wintersmith – are some of Pratchett’s greatest works. As such, they are some of fantasy’s greatest works. Much more than just humorous stories for teenagers, these books tell a tale so rich in depth and so full of hidden jewels that they are easily mistaken for works of high literature.
This Wintersmith book review was written by Joshua S Hill
All reviews for: The Discworld Series
The Colour Of Magic
The Discworld Series: Book 1
In the beginning there was…a turtle. Somewhere on the frontier between thought and reality exists the Discworld, a parallel time and place which might sound and smel...
Lords and Ladies
The Discworld Series: Book 14
The fairies are back – but this time they don’t just want your teeth… It's Midsummer Night - no time for dreaming. Because sometimes, when there'...
Feet of Clay
The Discworld Series: Book 19
For Commander Vimes, Head of Ankh-Morpork City Watch, life consists of troubling times, linked together by…well, more troubling times. Right now, it’s the latt...
The Light Fantastic
The Discworld Series: Book 2
A red star has appeared in the sky and the Discworld is heading right towards it. There is only one person who can save the world; but unfortunately this is the rather inep...
The Discworld Series: Book 20
Throughout history, there's always been a perfectly good reason to start a war. Never more so if it is over a 'strategic' piece of old rock in the middle of now...
The Fifth Elephant
The Discworld Series: Book 24
They say that diplomacy is a gentle art. That its finest practitioners are subtle, sophisticated individuals for whom nuance and subtext are meat and drink. And that master...
The Discworld Series: Book 28
For a policeman, there can be few things worse than a serial killer at loose in your city. Except, perhaps, a serial killer who targets coppers, and a city on the brink of ...
The Discworld Series: Book 3
Death comes to us all. When he came to Mort, he offered him a job. After being assured that being dead was not compulsory, Mort accepted. However, he soon found that romant...
The Discworld Series: Book 3
The last thing the wizard Drum Billet did, before Death laid a bony hand on his shoulder, was to pass on his staff of power to the eighth son of an eighth son. Unfortunatel...
The Wee Free Men
The Discworld Series: Book 30
Nine-year-old Tiffany Aching thinks her Granny Aching – a wise shepherd – might have been a witch, but now Granny Aching is dead and it’s up to Tiffany to...
The Discworld Series: Book 31
Polly becomes Private Oliver Perks, who is on a quest to find her older brother, who's recently MIA in one of the innumerable wars the tiny nation of Borogravia has a h...
A Hat Full of Sky
The Discworld Series: Book 32
Something is coming after Tiffany . . .Tiffany Aching is ready to begin her apprenticeship in magic. She expects spells and magic – not chores and ill-tempered...
The Discworld Series: Book 33
Moist von Lipwig is a con artist... ... and a fraud and a man faced with a life choice: be hanged, or put Ankh-Morpork's ailing postal service back on its feet. It'...
The Discworld Series: Book 35
Tiffany Aching is a trainee witch — now working for the seriously scary Miss Treason. But when Tiffany witnesses the Dark Dance — the crossover from summer to w...
The Discworld Series: Book 36
It’s an offer you can’t refuse. Who would not to wish to be the man in charge of Ankh-Morpork’s Royal Mint and the bank next door? It’s a job for li...
The Discworld Series: Book 37
Football has come to the ancient city of Ankh-Morpork. And now, the wizards of Unseen University must win a football match, without using magic, so they're in the mood ...
I Shall Wear Midnight
The Discworld Series: Book 38
A man with no eyes. No eyes at all. Two tunnels in his head... It's not easy being a witch, and it's certainly not all whizzing about on broomsticks, but Tiffany Ac...
The Discworld Series: Book 39
It is a truth universally acknowledged that a policeman taking a holiday would barely have had time to open his suitcase before he finds his first corpse. And Commander Sam...
The Discworld Series: Book 4
There was an eighth son of an eighth son. He was, quite naturally, a wizard. And there it should have ended. However (for reasons we'd better not go into), he had seven...
The Discworld Series: Book 40
To the consternation of the patrician, Lord Vetinari, a new invention has arrived in Ankh-Morpork - a great clanging monster of a machine that harnesses the power of all of...
The Shepherds Crown
The Discworld Series: Book 41
Deep in the Chalk, something is stirring. The owls and the foxes can sense it, and Tiffany Aching feels it in her boots. An old enemy is gathering strength. This is a time ...
The Discworld Series: Book 8
Here there be dragons . . . and the denizens of Ankh-Morpork wish one huge firebreather would return from whence it came. Long believed extinct, a superb specimen of draco ...
Have you read Wintersmith?
We've found that while readers like to know what we think of a book they find additional reader reviews a massive help in deciding if it is the right book for them. So if you have a spare moment, please tell us your thoughts by writing a reader's review. Thank you.
Wintersmith reader reviews
Bob from Romford, Essex
This was a great read. It was so good I got a copy of it on cd audio book, narrated by tony robinson of time team fame. His reading of the book only made it better.
8.8/10 from 2 reviews
Write a reader review
Thank you for taking the time to write a review on this book, it really makes a difference and helps readers to find their perfect book.
More recommended reading in this genre
The Bartimaeus Trilogy
When the 5,000-year-old djinni Bartimaeus is summoned by Nathaniel, a young magician's apprentice, he expects to have to do nothing more taxing than a little levitation...
Meet Thursday Next, literary detective without equal, fear or boyfriend. There is another 1985, where London’s criminal gangs have moved into the lucrative literary m...
Lockwood & Co
When the dead come back to haunt the living, Lockwood & Co. step in... For more than fifty years, the country has been affected by a horrifying epidemic of ghosts. A nu...
In a world full to bursting with would-be heroes, Jim couldn't be less interested in saving the day. His fireballs fizzle. He's awfully grumpy. Plus, he's been ...
A Lord of the Rings for the 21st century. Only a lot shorter. And funnier. And completely different. Conor thought he was an average teenager. OK, so his father only had on...
When young Jimbo Mambo books a room with Captain and Mrs Fanshaw in their Northernville lodging house, he is gradually introduced to their bizarre social circle. However, n...
Whimsical and poignant, Sir Thomas the Hesitant and the Table of Less Valued Knights tells the story of Thomas Farmer who dreams of becoming a knight, sets out to save his ...
May Contain Traces of Magic
There are all kinds of products. The good ones. The bad ones. The ones that stay in the garage mouldering for years until your garden gnome makes a home out of them. Most a...
The third planet out from the star was blue, with green splodges. Dirt. Oh, the bomb thought. And then its courage, determination and nobility-of-spirit subroutines cut in,...
Looking for more suggestions? Try these pages: