Sunday, 29 November 2015

The Shepherd's Crown by Terry Pratchett

The Shepherd's Crown by Terry Pratchett is the last Discworld book. It's also the concluding volume of Tiffany Aching's story and serves as an epilogue to just about all of the witches that have made an appearance throughout the entire Discworld series.

A shivering of worlds

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 of endings and beginnings, old friends and new, a blurring of edges and a shifting of power. Now Tiffany stands between the light and the dark, the good and the bad.

As the fairy horde prepares for invasion, Tiffany must summon all the witches to stand with her. To protect the land. Her land.

There will be a reckoning...

This book was sort of sad. Sad because it was the last Discworld book, and indeed the last book Pratchett wrote before he couldn't write any more. (According to the afterword, he had several more books in the works, or at least ideas floating around that will now never be. Which is also quite sad. I need to find an entrance into L-space so I can read those books that never were in our reality.) The Shepherd's Crown is also sad because of some of the events in it, which I don't want to go into too much detail on.

In this book, Tiffany Aching, who has already proved herself as a good witch in the earlier books, has to prove her leadership abilities more than her witching skills. The elves are threatening the Discworld again and it's up to Tiffany to step up and organise the resistance, while becoming more sure of her place in the world.

Although this is a Tiffany book, she is definitely not the only interesting character in it. Nanny Ogg and the more minor witch characters from recent books play a part. Magrat, who we haven't seen much of for several books, plays a key role and it was great to see her at a later stage in her life being awesome and kicking arse.

There was also a new character introduced in this book: Geoffrey, a boy who wants to be a witch. Also, his super-intelligent goat. The symmetry of that story in the last Discworld book and the story of Esk, a girl who wants to be a wizard, in the third Discworld book was not lost on me. I suspect the conclusion of this subplot may have been more developed, given the opportunity, but it wasn't a bad ending.

Tiffany's story had a nice ending though, a nice segue into the next stage of her life. In some ways, nothing much changes for her, but in others everything is different. Really Tiffany has been changing all through the books, it's just more obvious at some points than others. And there will always be Feegles looking out for her.

If you're a fan of Discworld, this isn't a book to miss. I suggest having some tissues ready, though, as endings of all sorts can be sad. If you're unfamiliar with Discworld, then this book does stand alone but I would still recommend at least starting with the first Tiffany Aching book, The Wee Free Men. I am sad that there aren't going to be any more Discworld books, but at least they'll always be available for re-reading. :-(

4.5 / 5 stars

First published: August 2015, Doubleday
Series: Discworld, book the last (41 out of 41) and book 5 of 5 in the Tiffany Aching sequence
Format read: Hardcover
Source: Non-Amazon online book shop

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