Book Review: The Shepherd’s Crown

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The last Discworld novel and the first of the Tiffany Aching stories I truly loved. The previous ones were fun in their way, progressing from a decent read to true enjoyment, but none come anywhere near this tale. There may be emotional reasons for that other than just the story itself. Of course, I’ve always enjoyed the Nac Mac Feegle.

Right up to the end, Sir Terry continued his efforts to build inclusiveness into the societies of the Discworld, expanding the definition of the word “people”. He reminds us that both goblins (who have come a long way in recent books) and witches are people, too, along with everyone else we’ve already grown to love and accept, and shows us even faeries can learn and grow.

Perhaps there’s hope for humans.

This is a story of beginnings and middles and endings. It’s a story of living with change and understanding how deeply that’s embedded in the nature of the world. It’s a story of accepting beginnings and middles and endings.

There are plenty of moments of joy and happiness in this tale, but mostly it’s a more wistful sort of story, sad without wallowing in it.

Overall Rating: 5 stars. I’m stingy with 5-star ratings it seems, and I can’t honestly say at this moment if The Shepherd’s Crown truly deserves all five or if it’s my own sense of nostalgia. If Sir Terry had more time, would this have been better? Almost certainly. But he didn’t, and it wasn’t, and we have to take things as they are rather than as we want them to be.

I devoured this book when I wanted to savour it, but that’s okay. I can always go back, but it does sadden me that this is the last new Discworld book our world will ever see.

It saddens me even more to read the afterword, that Sir Terry continued trying to work out new ideas for Discworld tales that we’ll never see and that the series could have gone on quite a while yet. Perhaps there’s an alternate universe somewhere and alternate fans of alternate Sir Terry Pratchett will get to enjoy them. Those of us in this world will simply have to wonder at what might have been.

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Lance
Lance Schonberg is an eclectic genre fiction author with more than two dozen stories published or on the way. 2019 is the year he dives into independent publishing, starting with "Thorvald's Wyrd", "Skip To My Luu", and "Turn the World Around". And he needs a more exciting short bio.

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