Technically the third in the Witches series (I still think of this as the second proper witches one) we find Granny, Nanny and Magrat heading off to Genua after Magrat inherits a wand and becomes fairy godmother to a girl called Ella who’s destined to marry the prince (well Duc). Along the way they have a few adventures before arriving in the city and figuring out who is trying to make all these stories happen, and what they can do to stop them.
The first half of the book is by far my favourite as we enjoy the misadventures of the trio on their way to Genua. The incident with the bulls in the discworld equivalent of Pamplona always has me in stitches and it was no different this time. There’s just something about those three on their roadtrip through the discworld that I love, Nanny’s translations, Magrat’s naivety and Granny’s inability to own up to any ignorance that works perfectly; it’s hilarious and interesting at the same time. That’s a had trick to pull off.
I do feel it drags a little in the second part once they reach the city. Not that it’s bad or anything, but some of the humour is lost and the part with Mrs Gogol though interesting seemed mostly superfluous in the end. The confrontation at the end is really great, I always admired the bit when Granny mentioned that she was forced to become the ‘good one’, I think it shows her character perfectly and shines a bright light on why she is the way she is.
As always with the discworld Pratchett manages to balance the humour with some insights. In this case it’s the power of stories and what it tells us about ourselves on relation to the part we play in a narrative. There’s also some meditation on government and the balance of freedoms versus security. Can be deep sounding but it’s all done in Pratchett’s trademark style so it reads light but can pack a punch if you let it.
Overall a great addition to the series.
4.5 stars rounded down