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    Review of WINTERSMITH by Terry Pratchett (see his website)


    HarperTempest, September 2006

    Thirteen-year-old Tiffany Aching is a witch--pointed hat and all. Because she's a young witch, she is assigned to help out the older witches--and Tiffany's older witch is really old--113 by her count. For the most part, Tiffany acts responsibly, even when she's tempted to be nasty by some of the other young witches. But when her mentor, Miss Treason, invites her to the Dark Morris dance that brings in winter, Tiffany can't resist the temptation of the dance--she jumps in when she sees an obvious hole.

    In Discworld, though, a dance isn't just a symbol for the passing seasons. It's a completely real part of the change, attended by the Wintersmith himself (itself). And when the Wintersmith sees Tiffany, his eyes are open to the reality of people--and he falls in love.

    Snowflakes carved with Tiffany's face are one thing--sort of cute and romantic. Huge iceburgs in the shape of Tiffany that threaten shipping are something else. And the Wintersmith is intent on becoming human--and on bringing Tiffany under his control. If he does so, Winter can remain forever--and summer must retreat to distant deserts. While Tiffany's Feegle friends (the Wee Free Men) are willing to help, the Wintersmith is not exactly someone they can battle.

    Author Terry Pratchett (see more reviews of novels by Pratchett) has created a wonderful series in the Tiffany Aching books, and WINTERSMITH just might be the best. Simultaneously funny and thoughtful, Tiffany's struggles to do the right thing and to understand the importance of the ordinary are perceptive and strong. Tiffany makes a wonderfully human character--both with her willingness to help others and her petty jealousy when she thinks her friend (but not boyfriend) Roland might have spent a bit too much time looking at another girl's watercolors.

    There are plenty of laugh-out-loud moments in this book, especially when the Feegles come into the picture. But it's the moments when the book hits you, makes you stop and think, lets you see the world in a new way that make it really special.

    WINTERSMITH is pitched at the teen audience and should be popular with teen readers. But it is certainly something that thoughtful fantasy-loving adults will enjoy as well. I have no hesitation in recommending this book.

    Four Stars

    Reviewed 11/29/06

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