Terry Pratchett – A Hat Full Of Sky

28Jun09


Background:

This book was picked up as part of the Take A Chance Challenge – Random Word Selection. The word I picked out was ‘sky’, and I entered the word in Amazon. The second result I got was A Hat Full Of Sky, and it was an easy decision. I’ve never read a Terry Pratchett book before, but I’ve had wonderful things about his books, and figured, this is a golden opportunity handed over to me on a silver plate. How can I refuse? It was a great start to the challenge, for I loved the book, and am going to try reading more of Pratchett. So, if you have any recommendations, please let me know.

Review:

This is the sequel to The Wee Free Men, and it follows Tiffany Arching’s adventures, this time with her being an apprentice to research witch, Miss Level. Tiffany, still relatively new to the world of witches, hopes to learn from her employer, and become a fully qualified witch, during her apprenticeship. However, things don’t quite pan out that way, as she helps Miss Level take care of the needy in the village, without actually using any magic. Miss Level says a witch doesn’t always need to do magic. All a witch needs to do is not ‘go to the bad side’.

However, Tiffany has one trick, which she hasn’t shared with anyone yet – she can step out of her body at will, leaving it an empty vessel. What she doesn’t know is, an ancient and bodiless spirit (a hiver) is just waiting to inhabit her body, and take over. And so it does. What ensues is drama, as the cleverest of witches (Granny Weatherwax, Miss Level) and the Nac Mac Feegles (a wee fairy race (they are extremely tiny), who protect Tiffany, from the time she acted as their ‘Kelda’ – this was done in the previous book of the series) attempt to get rid of the hiver, and bring the real Tiffany back, before the hiver takes over completely, and Tiffany is lost forever, in her body. At the same time, the hiver’s disregard for anything moral coupled with Tiffany’s powers wreaks havoc, as she turns a man into a toad, ‘borrows’ Miss Level’s broomstick, and goes on an expensive shopping spree which, without her powers, she’d never be able to afford… she’s turning over to the ‘bad side’.

This is a well-written page-turner, which has oodles of dry humor. The characters are extremely well-drawn, and one cannot help but associate with all of them, from Tiffany to the Nac Mac Feegles (who are probably the best drawn out group). Despite the Nac Mac Feegles being drunken thieves, you admire them being loyal and good=hearted, while simultaneously appreciating the lack of conscientiousness. There’s a part in the book where Miss Level is horrified that they’re talking about invading her body, to get the hiver out, for it would mean invading her privacy. They reply saying they’ve already read her diary, and if it was that personal, she wouldn’t keep it in the sock drawer. And when Tiffany goes on a perilous mission, one of the Nac Mac Feegles joins her, saying he’s promised his wife that he’d help her eliminate the hiver.

As you’d expect for any children/young adult book, it demarcates between good and bad, courage and cowardice, loyalty and flippancy. The obnoxious fall, and the good rise to the occasion to help. So, the feel-good affect that this book has is an added bonus.

Rating: 4

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8 Responses to “Terry Pratchett – A Hat Full Of Sky”

  1. This sounds like such a creative and interesting book! I’m glad this book “found” you through this challenge — sounds like a good fit and a great way to kick off things. Did you have any trouble starting out with the sequel rather than the first one?

    • 2 uncertainprinciples

      Not really, no. In fact, I was halfway into the first chapter, when I realized it was a sequel to another book (Naughty me! I didn’t do my research beforehand), but I just kept going. There are references to the first book, but, this book easily stands independently.

      I’m quite happy with the way things have started. :)

  2. oh I love the sound of this! Thanks for letting me know this review was up – I really want to go back and get his whole back list – and read them all in order. Sigh!

    Going to take some time, but I am going to do it! LOL

    Sassy
    :)

  3. Sounds quite interesting. I may have to read the first.

  4. 5 uncertainprinciples

    @Sassy Brit : Best of luck on that one! I’m too intimidated to even try that. I’ll take it one at a time… just one….. let me know how it goes/if you have any recommendations.

    @kisatrtle : Hope you enjoy it :)

  5. 6 Jodie

    Yay glad you liked this book, what are you planning to read by him next?

    • I really want to get into Discworld, but there are so many books in the series, that it seems like a daunting prospect.

      I might go for Good Omens, as I’ve been planning on reading some of Neil Gaiman as well.

      Do you have any recommendations?

  6. 8 Kari

    This sounds like a cool book. Thanks for sharing the review with us!


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