So, I thought participating in the awkward adventures would be fun since middle grade is one of my favorite periods to read.
My book of choice is Wee Free Men by Terry Pratchett.
Book: The Wee Free Men
Author: Terry Pratchett
Genre: Children’s Fantasy
Morality Rating: PG
Readability Rating: 4 stars
Buy It: Amazon
The Wee Free Men Summary
A nightmarish danger threatens from the other side of reality . . .
Armed with only a frying pan and her common sense, young witch-to-be Tiffany Aching must defend her home against the monsters of Fairyland. Luckily she has some very unusual help: the local Nac Mac Feegle—aka the Wee Free Men—a clan of fierce, sheep-stealing, sword-wielding, six-inch-high blue men.
Together they must face headless horsemen, ferocious grimhounds, terrifying dreams come true, and ultimately the sinister Queen of the Elves herself. . . .
This fun fantasy story is full of adventure, awkwardness, and tiny, Scottish, blue men that are as hilarious as they are tiny. I don’t know if this book is quite appropriate for 9-year-olds, but it is entertaining none-the-less.
Plot: Like most Terry Pratchett stories, the plot is all about an epic battle between powers, worlds, and time. I am not sure how he manages to meld comedy with epic story lines so well, but he always does, and I am always impressed. Although the plot from this story in the Tiffany Aching Series is not my favorite (and why I gave it 4 stars instead of 5), it is still well done and keeps you on the edge of your seat until the very end.
Characters: One of the things I admire the most about Terry Pratchett is his ability to write strong female characters. Tiffany is a young girl trying to navigate her life and developing powers, but she does so in a way that seems realistic. I don’t think I have ever read a book written by a man that has more realistic female characters. Tiffany is not so much a “female character” as a character in a story who happens to be female. You might be surprised at how many books fail to get this right (I’m talking to you, George Martin).
Additionally, the Wee Free Men are charming and some of most fun characters to read about. I found myself laughing on nearly every page of the story- even though the plot is rather serious and about evil taking over the world.
Setting: This book is set in the mountainous bluff region of Discworld, which I assume is blatantly based on Scotland. I think the story also makes mention of a piece of ancient horse art set into the side of a mountain or top of a hill- which I believe is actually real. As always, the setting in this book fits perfectly with the story. I particularly liked how Tiffany is attached to the land and it is a base for her magical powers.
Writing: There is nothing negative to say about Terry Pratchett’s writing from any story he wrote past around 1993 or so. It’s flawless from beginning to end. In some spots, what is happening in the story can get a little muggy, but other than that, it shows mastery of writing and storytelling.
This book is a great opening to what is one of my favorite book series to date.