Tiffany Aching, the teenage witch who stars in Terry Pratchett’s latest novel I Shall Wear Midnight, is in many ways the anti-Harry Potter.
True, she’s a precocious pubescent who gets to ride a broomstick and save the day, but the final installment of her four-novel series of adventures is no jolly tale of boarding school, wand-waving and chocolate frogs. In fact, it is highly likely that a book so savagely bleak as I Shall Wear Midnight has not been marketed to children since the days of Struwwelpeter.
For example, not thirty pages in, Tiffany is called to assist when a pregnant thirteen-year-old miscarries after being assaulted by her violent, alcoholic father. The young witch is able to use hedge-magic to take away the girl’ s pain before burying the foetus; the father later hangs himself. Hogwarts, it ain’t.
Like I said, I’d like to see something like an anti-Twilight novel. I hate sparkly vampires.