by Terry Pratchett
I absolutely love this series about a young (11-yr-old) witch-in-training and her wee little friends the Nac Mac Feegles. This sequel to Wee Free Men takes place 3 years later when Tiffany Aching leaves the Chalk where she's spent her whole life to go live and train with Miss Level as an apprentice.
Miss Level is a single person with 2 bodies and she has a terrible time keeping apprentices. Tiffany is a bit annoyed that Miss Level doesn't dive right into teaching magic lessons, but over time, Tiffany learns the most important lesson about witches - duty. Tiffany realizes that her duty is to protect others, even at the cost of her own life.
Pratchett's skill with developing his characters is such that even if the story weren't gripping (which is it), the reader would still want to learn more about the characters' growth and their interactions with each other. The characters are quirky and lovable.
This series is aimed at juvenile readers but can be read and enjoyed by adults, who might sense some more of the humor in the situations and characters than younger readers will. I think my teenage daughter would love these books - hope I can figure a way to get her reading them.
Pratchett says important things but you never feel like it's preaching because he says it in such humorous ways.
One of my favorite parts of the novel was towards the end of Ch 1 when Jeannie was teaching her husband, Rob Anybody how to write. "The Nac Mac Feegles of the Chalk hated writing for all kinds of reasons, but the biggest on was this: writing stays. It fastens words down. Ya might as well nail a man's shadow to the wall." The clan watched in fascinated horror as two of Rob's brothers pushed him (sweat dripping off his forehead) towards the paper pinned up on the chamber wall. This little scene goes on for pages as Rob learns to write his own name, starting first with the fat man walking - the letter R.
This is my first book for Carl's Fantasy Challenge.