Things Get Read- The Shepherd's Crown
So an hour or two ago, this appeared in my Twitter feed:
If you had told me a few years ago, let's say two, when I was having a really bad year, that a new Tiffany Aching book was being released, I would have been over the moon. Tiffany Aching is one of my favourite characters not only in the Discworld series, but out of all the books I have read in the past two or so decades. I love the character, I adore how she is used in the series, and I think she was a great addition to the cast of characters, namely the Witches group. It's been great watching her grow through the books, the stories themselves being Pratchett's take on old style fairy tales (the dark ones, where non-human creatures cause mischief), and they remind me a bit of Roald Dahl stories, but with less of the prose I tend to think Dahl has. The Wee Free Men came out when I was in my third year of university, and I remember cutting down hard on my budget (no paint for weeks, truly shocking) so that I could afford it. My association with Pratchett's books is that they always get me through stressful times, the same as Douglas Adams' did as well. A Hat Full of Sky came out, and I honestly can't remember what I was doing, although I may have been job hunting at the time when I read it. Wintersmith, I seem to recall, was released in time for me to meet Pratchett's and get books signed in Sydney not long after I moved here. Wikipedia disagrees with the dates it was published and what I remember though. However, it stuck with me as just before I got to read it, a friend pointed out Sir Terry had been diagnosed with Alzheimer's.
I remember being absolutely terrified reading Wintersmith in one scene where several characters not usually in the Witches book are mentioned, and I had the feeling we were going to get some message that there were not going to be anymore adventures to Discworld, but we got a last glimpse at the characters to know they were safe.
I Shall Wear Midnight is the most current book out for Tiffany Aching, and also the most recent Discworld book I have managed to get through. Real life has got in the way of all the others lately. I remember talking to a friend after we had both read it, and we were awestruck at the story, and the fact that something that is arguably a young adult novel finally got the point to treat young adults in the story as adults, not just important children. Tiffany's books are some of my favourite fairy tales in that regard, and I enjoy them immensely. I think part of it also stems from the fact that when I started Discworld, Tiffany and Moist were the last two main characters to be introduced. So I've been around for all of Tiffany's stories, and aware enough of Discworld to enjoy them properly.
I should probably be happy with the fact there is a fifth book for my favourite character, right? That's always good, right?
Not really this time, and it's because of what is at the top of the main image:
The FINAL Discworld novel. There won't be anymore after this.
For anyone that wasn't aware, Sir Terry Pratchett passed away in April. This book was completed before then. His daughter Rhianna, who was essentially appointed as the guardian of the Discworld, is not going to continue the series in book form. I can completely understand why, and they are still likely to continue on in the form of TV, movies etc.
But not as books anymore.
It's hard to explain. This is the first time I've been around for a Terry Pratchett release and he's not going to be around doing interviews, with articles popping up in my Facebook feed about all he has done for fantasy stories over the decades. I'm so happy that my favourite character gets another book, but the author isn't around to see how happy people are with his work.
I'm going to buy the book the day it comes out. I'm going to read it, and I know before I know anything about the story that like every other Pratchett book I have ever picked up, I've going to enjoy every single word. But at the end, I'm going to finish it and put it down. And that's when I have to go back to reading all the ones I have missed, and forgetting the ones I have read so that I can enjoy them anew.
I guess that looking at it that way, I really don't want to admit this series could ever truly end.