I Shall Wear MidnightOct 30, 2010 · peterb · 2 minute read
I Shall Wear Midnight is Terry Pratchett’s final book in the Tiffany Aching series. While clever, thoughtful, and well-constructed, it suffers from the same problem Pratchett has had in his other recent books: he has fallen too much in love with his characters to truly hurt them. Compared to the latent menace that suffused, for example, The Wee Free Men, we never feel here that Tiffany is at any risk that she can’t overcome through prodigious application of witch-bourne moxie. This is a drawback. A number of the other Diskworld characters appear, briefly in the book; even antihero-turned-completely-boring Sam Vimes (am I the only person who is tired of him yet?) makes an appearance.
I don’t mean to sound ungrateful. I realize this is a book for young adults, and so it isn’t appropriate to expect the literary equivalent of Werner Herzog. But compared to 2008’s superb Nation, also a book for young adults, which was infused with a sense of legitimate dread and danger from the first page, this novel feels more like a cop-out. Where Nation was a gallop on a wild horse, I Shall Wear Midnight was more like a well-constructed carousel: attractive, even pleasant, but not thrilling.
I enjoyed I Shall Wear Midnight. I would even recommend it. But it is, to its detriment, redolent with what might have been, and isn’t.