Two years on from the events in Wee Free Men, Tiffany Aching is ready for her witch training. With uncomfortable new boots on her feet, and her First, Second and Third Thoughts in her head she leaves her home on The Chalk to be apprenticed to a Miss Level in the mountains, a witch who has more than a split personality. Tiffany has some all-too-familiar growing up problems, like run-ins with other young witches-to-be. But she is also about to have have a big problem: the aeons-old entity that's waiting to take over her brain (and has done so to countless other brains before).
Tiffany has the help of the greatest witch in the land, Mistress Weatherwax. More dubiously, though, she's also being protected by the Nac Mac Feegle, the 6" tall, blue-skinned, red-haired, all-drinking, all-fighting all-cattle-rustling wee folk (aka Pictsies).
This report prepared by Marina Thonus
HarperCollins, Jun 2004, 16.99, 278 pp.
Eleven-year-old Tiffany Aching leaves the Chalk and her friends, the six-inch Nac Mac Feegle, to apprentice as a witch. Saying goodbye to Granny Aching was hard and departing from her Wee Free Men pals (at least her buddies when the Nac Mac Feegle are not drunk) is not easy, but service at her advanced age is expected. So though her parents are fooled as to whom she will work for, Tiffany leaves with Miss Tick to begin her training.
Unlike when she was young and immature, Tiffany as she enters adolescence has become aware of her looks. This attentiveness to her outer beauty makes her prone to attack from terrible beings. The hiver, a being that seeks out the potentially powerful by stealing control of the host's mind until the victim dies, sees Tiffany as a perfect lodging locale. The parasite begins the pre-occupation and occupation with only Nac Mac Feegle to try to rescue his young pal.
The story line makes it clear that to find one's full self, one must accept flaws, blemishes, and foibles; not an easy task in a youthful beauty is best society. Tiffany and Nac Mac are terrific characters though they be inane at times and the hiver is as vile a villain as there is. A HAT FULL OF SKY is amusing, but though nutty, the plot never loses sight of the key underlying message while entertaining the author's vast universe of fans.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner