In Terry Pratchett’s latest Discworld novel, eleven year old Tiffany Aching is leaving her home in the mountains to apprentice herself to a witch, but she is not going alone. Following close behind is a hiver, a disembodied force that is drawn to great power. And following close behind the hiver is a band of Mac Nac Feegles, the drinking, fighting, Wee Free Men who look over Tiffany. Once the Hiver is inside her mind, Tiffany must fight to keep it from completely taking over her personality. While Hat Full of Sky is called a sequel to Wee Free Men, and does make reference to some previous occurrences, I had no trouble reading it as a stand alone novel.
Although the humor is much more subdued (with less social satire) than in other Pratchett novels, there were still some very funny passages. The power in this story lies in the characters. Pratchett has a gift for taking a simple premise and giving it great meaning. The group of girls Tiffany befriends think being a witch means power, fancy black clothes and pretentious spells. Because the hiver forces her to use her power to act horribly, Tiffany looks more closely at her own attitude toward the power of witchcraft. With the help of Granny Weatherwax, a witch guru of sorts, Tiffany eventually learns that being a witch has nothing to do with outward appearances, but more with inward motivations.
A Hat Full of Sky by Terry Prachett is a wonderfully strong story about growing up and finding your own identity. Although it’s listed as a children’s book, the complex characters and expert storytelling will appeal to adults as well. I highly recommend A Hat Full of Sky.
A Hat Full of Sky is available at Amazon.com
I borrowed A Hat Full of Sky from the library