The Wee Free Men: The Beginning
by Terry Pratchett
Review by Gayle Surrette
HarperCollins Paperback ISBN/ITEM#: 9780062012173
Date: 01 September 2010 List Price $9.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /
The Wee Free Men: The Beginning contains two novel: The Wee Free Men and A Hatful of Sky which are the first two of the four Tiffany Aching books.
Most people know the Discworld books are for adults, though young people often enjoy them. Pratchett has also written some specifically for young people, such as the Tiffany Aching novels. These books center on Tiffany, taking her from age nine (The Wee Free Men) to adulthood (I Shall Wear Midnight ).
In Wee Free Men, Tiffany's bothersome little brother is stolen by the Queen of the Fairies and she has to go get him back. In the process, she realizes that she's a witch and manages to befriend or be befriended by the Nac Mac Feegles (the wee free men). The book seems to be meandering about but, when you finish, you realize that it was tightly plotted and every scene is necessary to carry the development of the characters, the wit and humor, and the page-turning action. Told from Tiffany's point of view, we get to enjoy this young girl who is so practical that she measures ovens to see if indeed a witch would fit in after reading "Hansel & Gretel".
A Hatful of Sky begins with a slightly older Tiffany who is about to leave home to be apprenticed with a witch to learn the trade. What she finds out is that there is very little magic in witchcraft and a lot of hard work. But she does learn a lot about herself as an ancient creature sets its sights on taking over Tiffany's body. She also learns some valuable lessons about responsibility and her own self-worth.
It's a nice collection and will give Pratchett fans a chance to have the first two books in one volume.