Somehow I had missed reading most of Terry Pratchett's Tiffany Aching novels. So I was pleased to discover this, the first in the series, in a charity shop last week. While set on the Discworld, the stories seem one stage removed - Tiffany lives in Lancre, but on a part far from Pratchett's usual haunts.
Pratchett is one of those authors who does strong female characters very well. Tiffany and her iron saucepan join Susan and her poker as a threat to demons and monsters. Tiffany is just nine, and gifted with the "sight" (and second, third and fourth sights). Spotted by a witch finder (scouting for those who have magical abilities, rather than to burn them) Tiffany must undertake a trip into the magical lands to rescue her brother.
Added into the mix are the Nac Mac Feegles a clan of tiny blue pictsies whose violence is only matched by their appetite. Tiffany gradually learns that the clan have been keeping their eye on her, and on many aspects of the wider sheep ecology. The Nac Mac Feegles adopt Tiffany as their own, temporary leader, and assist her mission with customary violence and humour. This is tight, well written and funny Terry Pratchett novel, my only criticsim is that Tiffany Aching seems old beyond her nine years. Nonetheless this is a must read Discworld story, probably not the best one to start with, but certainly one to read sooner rather than later.
Pratchett - Wintersmith