Terry Pratchett's final Discworld novel, and the fifth to feature the witch Tiffany Aching.
A SHIVERING OF WORLDS
Deep in the Chalk, something is stirring. The owls and the foxes can sense it, and Tiffany Aching feels it in her boots. An old enemy is gathering strength.
This is a time of endings and beginnings, old friends and new, a blurring of edges and a shifting of power. Now Tiffany stands between the light and the dark, the good and the bad.
As the fairy horde prepares for invasion, Tiffany must summon all the witches to stand with her. To protect the land. Her land.
There will be a reckoning. . . .
THE FINAL DISCWORLD® NOVEL
Pratchett's characteristic generosity is very much at the fore of this final Tiffany Aching tale, the last Discworld novel from the author, who died in March. Fans will also find plenty of other well-loved elements: exuberant wordplay, vaudevillian humor, the rambunctious blue-skinned Nac Mac Feegle, and beneath it all a susurrus of shivery archetype and myth. The death of a powerful witch, an event most solemn and heartfelt, reverberates throughout the world and sets the crackling adventure in motion. Sensing a new weakness in the barrier that separates their realm from the Disc, the cruel elves of Fairyland prepare for an invasion. Meanwhile, Tiffany is stretched thin in her work as witch and all-around healer when her responsibilities expand to include a second community. At the same time, peaceful Geoffrey a character new to the series heads toward the town of Lancre with the aim of becoming a witch, though women traditionally hold that position. As Tiffany, Geoffrey, and others gather to combat the elvish incursion, Pratchett allows some longtime characters to reveal surprising new qualities, including the delightfully insufferable Letice Earwig ("pronounced ah-wij," of course) and Nightshade, Queen of the Elves Tiffany's foe from her earliest adventure. Rather than tie everything up with a simple happily-ever-after, the ending leaves Tiffany poised to begin a new phase of adulthood one with the potential for adventures that are now up to readers to imagine. Pratchett's final work is a tour de force of compassion, great wit, and gleeful storytelling. He will be missed. Ages 13 up.
A fitting end.
The Shepherd's Crown is a rough draft, and never purported to be anything else.
It is well known that Sir Terry died before the book was fleshed out, and its tone and language, much like that of the two Discworld novels which precede it — Raising Steam and Snuff — telegraph the symptoms of Sir Terry's neurological disorder.
To those detractors who suggest the stilted tone, repetition, flattened characters, etc. suggest another hand in the writing of these books, I would offer an alternate analysis: any editor or collaborator empowered to do so would have smoothed over these textual rough edges, added depth to the characters, and reintroduced the stunning visuals for which Pratchett was always, up to the onset of his dementia, reliable.
The fact that these books are rough, different, flat, the fact that what tone remains pulls quietly toward despair and longing, the fact that the text itself lacks Pratchett's signature asides and segues and footnotes, tells me one thing: out of respect to the author and his legacy, no editor dared attempt to sweeten these manuscripts. They stand as written, and are an unapologetic testimonial to the ways his dementia carved away at his perceptive and expressive abilities while leaving his personality untouched.
By the time these books were written, Pratchett could no longer reliably read or write written text — he used Dragon for text input, and had increasing assistance rereading and assembling these final works — and the type of dementia he suffered from is particularly vicious on visual perception and visual memory, so it hit hard at the succulent descriptions and visual metaphors and textual puns he so excelled at.
So we must read these final books as Sir Terry's last set of footnotes: they seek to wrap up some characters' arcs, and they seek to show that justice and equality and science are trending, and here to stay, in Ankh-Morpork and elsewhere on the Disc.
So the thing to know about these final Discworld novels is this: these are less narrative than they are a dossier, notes on a world and its inhabitants, written by an observer moving away from that world at escape velocity. The windows cloud, the telescope crazes, in the end even radio contact becomes intermittent and full of noise.
His hands must work the instruments so he now dictates his observations in bursts of compressed and clinical data, some repeating, some missing, and some just as poignant and visceral as when he was there on the ground.
Because he does remember his world, even if he can no longer see what he remembers. He spent his life there and it suffuses him even as he leaves it. And up to the last moment of his leaving, he does right by his world and its people. He leaves them, and us, far better than when he arrived.
Not PTerry's best, but a fitting end
Granny Weatherwax moves on, Tiffany has to step into Granny's shoes, a boy runs away with his goat to become a witch...oh, and those pesky elves are invading again.
This book (like "Raising Steam" before it) shows the very heavy hand of whoever was helping Pratchett write, as his Alzheimer's worsened. The style doesn't read like Pratchett at all; it sounds stiff and formal, the dialogue stuffy and heavy-handed. There's very little of Terry's trademark humor and wit here. Still, it's a decent read -- far better than Steam-- and with the death of Granny, a fitting epitaph to Pratchett's life.
This is NOT Sir Terry Pratchett
There is no way this is, in any part, the work of Terry Pratchett. This is the ramblings of greed. A want to be who does not understand the first thing of Discworld or it's inhabitants. A washed out shadow world, lacking any connection. I LOVE LOVE LOVE Terry Pratchett. Every line, every story, every character has meaning. I have read each of his books multiple times. This is a sad eulogy that is a smack in the face to all that is the legacy of Terry Pratchett. It reads like a fly over missing the flow and depths of any true Pratchett novel. I understand not wanting something so beautiful and precious to fade or come to an end, but don't try to sell a yellow painted brick as gold. You are no alchemist. And let's face it your counterfeiting skill are atrocious.