So, I’ve been putting this one off for a while. Almost as if I were trying to convince myself that if I didn’t read the very last Discworld novel then it wouldn’t the last one. Silly really, but I bet I wasn’t alone.
I think I’ve read most of the Discworld novels – some just once and some a number of times – but I think I wouldn’t be the only person to say that, at times, the books were not all of an equal quality. And that was another reason why I was a little bit scared to read The Shepherd’s Crown. What if the last book wasn’t one of the top quality ones? I’d never even read any of the Tiffany Aching stories, what if I didn’t like her? I didn’t want my last memory of a favourite author to be sullied by being not quite satisfactory. It would be like Basil Brush being investigated by Operation Yewtree.
I’m pleased to report that I shouldn’t have worried – and that I also promise to go back and read all the other Tiffany Aching books. I’ve always had a soft spot for the witches – I want to be Granny Weatherwax, want to cook like Nanny Ogg and worry that I may actually be Magrat – so an addition to their ranks is very welcome. And I think Tiffany is wonderful as the shape of witches to come – a great blend of the traditional and someone who can think in ways the older witches wouldn’t ever have considered. She is definitely the future of witchcraft – I know we will never see how Pratchett would have told that future but I think that the Discworld has been written so completely and so well that it now has a life of its own.
I did, it is fair to say, shed a few tears while reading this. One or two for what happens in the story itself and then more for all the stories which will not now be told. But I smiled more so I’m counting it as a win…