Book: The Shepherd’s Crown (Tiffany Aching 5, Discworld) by Terry Pratchett
Release Date: August 1st 2015
Tags: Fantasy / Witches / Coming of Age / Fairies / Fae / Young Adult
Rating: unable to rate
Possible spoilers for the previous books in the series
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…
Rating a book like The Shepherd’s Crown is hard. It is the last book written by sir Terry Pratchett before he passed away in 2015. The afterword alone just makes you want to weep, and regret that I didn’t pick up his books sooner than I did (2014). But it is also hard to rate knowing that he wasn’t entirely finished with this book. Wondering what it could have been like.
As the afterword says, there is a beginning, a middle and an end. But Pratchett wasn’t quite finished with this book when he left us. The afterword explains to us his writing ways was to write scenes, combine them and continue to add scenes to weave a whole story, and then editing quite a few times. Especially the first few chapters felt more like drafts in places. Even so that doesn’t take away that the start of this book still gave an emotional punch. It is weird considering that we lose someone at the start of this book and knowing he isn’t here anymore. It almost feels like he knew this would be his last.
Having said that, this book is not just about death. But also about life. About Tiffany continuing to find her way as a Witch, dealing with expectations as people expect her to fill some rather large shoes. About being able to admit that you can’t do everything on your own. That sometimes you need a little help. That doesn’t make you less strong. About sometimes putting yourself out there to be able to become the person that you want to be, even if it might hurt.
There is so much to love in this book. Familiar characters that come back to make us smile. The cat You who seems to be a bit of a stalker. But also new additions like George and his goat, and the discovery of a calm-weaver. All in all I do think this story is a fitting and wonderful end to Tiffany Aching’s story for now. Everyone who needed to be there was there.
And if you haven’t yet, please consider picking up the Tiffany Aching series. As a whole they have become one of my favorite series with some of my all time favorite books (A Hat Full of Sky and Wintersmith). Tiffany will always hold a small space in my heart.