The Wee Free Men (book 1)
Hat Full of Sky (book 2)
Wintersmith (book 3)
I Shall Wear Midnight (book 4)

These are important books that every witch should read. Don’t let the ‘young adult fiction’ label fool you! There’s necessary information in these books, although there aren’t any spell recipes or boring descriptions of the sabbats. But what’s in these books, and deliciously delivered at that, is what’s missing from other books about the Craft – “the soul and center of it.” Here’s a very short synopsis of the books:

In The Wee Free Men, nine-year old Tiffany Aching, born to a sheep-raising family on the downs, discovers unusual things in her world – portals to fairly land and a tribe of small blue men know (and feared) as the Nac Mac Feegles. When her young brother Wentworth is kidnapped by the Queen of the Fairies, Tiffany and the Feegles join forces to rescue him. In the process of this heroic rescue, Tiffany discovers that she’s a witch.

In Hat Full of Sky Tiffany, now eleven years old, leaves home to go into service with an older witch, the traditional way of learning the Craft. She meets other novice witches and joins their small coven, and comes to grips with her new mentor, Miss Level. But an unusual creature, a hiver, is tracking her. Rob Anybody Feegle and his brother pictsies help Tiffany overcome the creature, and Tiffany learns many new things about being a witch.

Fourteen-year old Tiffany is working with Miss Treason as Wintersmith begins. Miss Treason is feared but highly respected for her ability to deliver justice, and Tiffany accidentally discovers some of the secrets that make her so effective. At the turning of the seasons, Tiffany is drawn into the dark Morris dance and finds Winter following her wherever she goes. Then Miss Treason dies, and Tiffany moves in with Nanny Ogg and learns more earthy lessons. As Winter tries to turn himself into a man to court her, Tiffany finds she has to become a woman to bring summer back to her beloved chalk downs.

The final installment, I Shall Wear Midnight, opens with sixteen-year old Tiffany recovering from a slightly broken heart. She’s now the witch of the downs and works hard to fix all the big and small hurts of her community. But an ugly feeling is leaking into people around her, and she begins to discover the dangerous side of being a witch: persecution. Where is this feeling coming from? With help from some older witches, her friends, and the ever-present Feegles, Tiffany comes to grips with the source of the troubles. She faces the personified hatred of witches by fighting fire with fire.

How does a person “think like a witch?” What are the rules of witchcraft? How do witches treat each other, or interact with people in their communities? These and other head-scratchers are revealed through this series. People new to the Craft will learn the answers; experienced practitioners will laugh and say “oh, that’s so true!” Psychological gold nuggets are scattered through the pages of these books, along with various Feegles yelling things like “Crivens!” or “Yer gonna get sich a kickin’!”

Author Sir Terry Pratchett weaves the philosophy of witchcraft into a matchless four-book package. These books are required reading for people who want to understand the inner workings of how a witch thinks, and they are also an excellent introduction to Pratchett’s hilarious Disc World books.

~review by Elizabeth Hazel

Author:" Sir Terry Pratchett
Harper Collins

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