Tiffany is now thirteen years old, and she is apprentice to Miss Treason, a very old witch who has scared off every other young witch ever sent to learn from her. But Tiffany (who listens to her second - and third - thoughts) sees beyond Miss Treason's exterior and realizes she can learn many worthwhile things from the elderly witch. Tiffany stays on, and she makes herself useful, and she learns a great deal indeed.
Miss Treason takes Tiffany with her to watch the darkMorris dance, the dance that welcomes in Winter. Tiffany loves to dance, and as she watches the dancers, she realizes there's an empty spot among the dancers, a spot that should be filled. Before she knows it, she's in the midst of the dance - but without realizing it, Tiffany has made a huge mistake and stumbled into the midst of a very old story. The Wintersmith, instead of dancing with the Summer Lady, dances with Tiffany and falls in love with her (as much as a noncorporeal season can).
He makes it snow little Tiffany-shaped snowflakes. He makes ice flowers for her - it's really kind of sweet. But the real Summer Lady is a bit annoyed with Tiffany's interference, and the Wintersmith wants Tiffany to be his bride - so winter can remain as a permanent season. And it's not as though Tiffany doesn't have other issues to contend with. Miss Treason announces that she (Miss Treason) is going to die in a few days, and Tiffany must plan the funeral before she does (what fun is having funeral if you can't attend it, too?). Events spin out of control, but luckily the Nac Mac Feegle are around to take care of their "big wee hag," and a hilarious romp ensues.
I enjoyed Stephen Briggs' reading of A Hat Full of Sky so very much - particularly the way he does the Feegles - that I had to give this one a listen as well (and I plan on going back and listening to the first one, which I'd originally read, because it is just so much fun). He brings all the characters to life, and his storytelling style, combined with Pratchett's sheer comedic genius, had me annoying everyone around me as I continually burst out laughing, listening to it on my iPod. Although I almost cried at the end of the book because I was so sad to say goodbye to Tiffany and all the characters from the trilogy that I've come to love to spend time with. These are definitely among the best books I've read in the past few years.
Books in the Tiffany Aching trilogy:
1. The Wee Free Men
2. A Hat Full of Sky
Wintersmith (#3 in the Tiffany Aching trilogy) by Terry Pratchett; narrated by Stephen Briggs (HarperChildren's Audio, 2006)
Also reviewed at:
Adventures in Reading