Terry Pratchett’s books kept us occupied for hours on end when we were kids and returning to the brilliant Discworld with The Wee Free Men was genuinely a pleasure. Released originally in 2003, it was the beginning of the Tiffany Aching series and went on to spawn four more books, including Terry Pratchett’s final Discworld novel, The Shepherd’s Crown, all of which are a joy to read.
The Wee Free Men revolves around nine-year-old butter churning country girl, Tiffany Aching, and her introduction to witch-hood as another world threatens the chalk-lined fabric of her own. When her brother goes missing, and monsters start to turn up, she has to turn to her new found witchiness and a band of little blue pseudo-Scottish friends called the Nac Mac Feegle (The Wee Free Men of the title), to save the day.
The storyline is a great mix of fairytale and fantasy, with funny dialogue and characters and a big ending. There’s also a couple of cameos from old school Terry Pratchett characters to look forward to, which we won’t spoil for you. Whether you’re knew to the Discworld novels, or you go way back, you’ll struggle not to like The Wee Free Men (unless you’re just not into that sort of thing, in which case you can do one!).
For everyone that is, or for anyone that just wants a light reed in between Dostoevki and Bulgakov, you can do a lot worse than the enchanting fun of The Wee Free Men. Worst case scenario, you get to feel like a nine year old kid again. Unless you are a nine year old kid, in which case you probably either see Tiffany as the protective sister you never had, or you wouldn’t mind being a witch when you grow up too.
The book makes for a solid introduction to the world of Tiffany and the Nac Mac Feagle, but in all fairness it gets even better the more of the books you read. Check out our review of A Hat Full Of Sky for more details, and we’ll be following it up with the third novel, Wintersmith, shortly. The fourth book, I Shall Wear Midnight, was released in 2010, and the story was completed by The Shepherd’s Crown in August 2015, so expect to be embroiled in a prolonged series if you end up liking The Wee Free Men.
The Wee Free Men, by Terry Pratchett, review: 3.9/5