A Hat Full of Sky

by Terry Pratchett

Hardcover, 2004



Local notes

Fic Pra



HarperCollins (2004), Edition: First Edition, 278 pages. $16.99.


Tiffany Aching, a young witch-in-training, learns about magic and responsibility as she battles a disembodied monster with the assistance of the six-inch-high Wee Free Men and Mistress Weatherwax, the greatest witch in the world.

Original language


Original publication date


Physical description

278 p.; 6 inches


0060586605 / 9780060586607



User reviews

LibraryThing member atimco
Terry Pratchett's A Hat Full of Sky is the second Tiffany Aching book and follows her adventures as she begins her formal training as a witch. It isn't enough to tackle the Queen of Fairyland armed only with a frying pan; one must learn the other aspects of witching. Apparently there's more to it. And so the "hag of the hills," as the Nac Mac Feegle call Tiffany, must leave the Chalk.

And who are the Nac Mac Feegle? They're a stroke of pure comic genius, that's what. I thought they were hilarious when I read Wintersmith, but hearing their dialogue on audiobook — performed brilliantly by the reader, Stephen Briggs — brings a whole new dimension of absurdity to the characters. Pratchett had me laughing aloud in several places (especially the part where the Feegles dress up in human-sized clothing and unwittingly terrorize a crowded tavern). And Rob Anybody's reading is hilarious. And — well, maybe you ought to make the acquaintance of the Feegles yourself.

One thing I decidedly dislike about the book is how Pratchett uses it as a mouthpiece for his atheistic and evolutionary beliefs. Of course authors have the right to include their personal beliefs in their work, but as atheism and evolution are belief systems in direct contradiction to my own, I will naturally resent their intrusion into a tale I was otherwise loving. I thoroughly enjoyed the rest of the story, though.

Reading something like this gives me insight into the reactions of people who hate the Chronicles of Narnia because of the Christian themes. When you firmly believe something, you will naturally dislike it when the opposite belief is promoted. This dislike is intensified when the opposite belief is promoted skillfully within an excellent fictional work. I think when people swear hatred for Narnia on the basis of its Christian themes, they're really paying tribute to the series's overall quality. We don't care if someone's arguing against our beliefs inarticulately. It's when they do it well that we get annoyed!

Besides the parts in which Pratchett elaborates on his beliefs, I thoroughly enjoyed A Hat Full of Sky and look forward to the next in the series. Good storytelling, great humor, and all-around good fun!
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LibraryThing member pwaites
A Hat Full of Sky is the second book in the Tiffany Aching series, a subseries of the Discworld books. While I don’t think you have to read The Wee Free Men prior to reading A Hat Full of Sky, I would encourage it.

Tiffany Aching now is eleven years old and leaving the Chalk to become the apprentice of another witch. However, Tiffany is being followed by a dangerous disembodied creature which takes over minds. It has never been defeated, and Tiffany is far from home.

“There’s always a story. It’s all stories, really. The sun coming up every day is a story. Everything’s got a story in it. Change the story, change the world.”

A Hat Full of Sky is a truly excellent book. Tiffany is a fantastic character in so many ways, and to the best of my recollection, her experiences as an eleven year old girl ring true. Tiffany is faced with a choice between conforming or being true to herself, which is difficult for everyone but particularly preteens.

One of the great things about the Tiffany books is that there’s so many well written, capable female characters. Tiffany’s surrounded by female allies and mentors, from Miss Tick to Granny Weatherwax to Miss Level to Petulia to Jeannie. I especially like how characters like Petulia and Jeannie get so much sympathy when it would be easy for them to fall into stereotypes. Even Annagramma gets character growth in the upcoming novels.

“Granny Aching had never been at home with words. She collected silence like other people collected string. But she had a way of saying nothing that said it all.”

And as always, this book is so well written! Terry Pratchett has a remarkable way with words and is always able to find uniquely fitting descriptions. Of course, he’s also amazingly funny at the same time.

“Witches didn’t fear much, Miss Tick had said, but what the powerful ones were afraid of, even if they didn’t talk about it, was what they called “going to the bad.” It was too easy to slip into careless little cruelties because you had power and other people hadn’t, too easy to think other people didn’t matter much, too easy to think that ideas like right and wrong didn’t apply to you.”

There’s a lot of depth to A Hat Full of Sky and so much humanity. The witches books have always been about standing on the edge, about doing the right thing, about taking responsibility, and A Hat Full of Sky is a proud successor to this tradition.

“There isn’t a way things should be. There’s just what happens, and what we do.”

I recommend A Hat Full of Sky to absolutely everyone, but if you ever have need of a book to give an eleven or twelve year old girl… I can’t think of a better title.

Originally posted on The Illustrated Page.
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LibraryThing member littlebearries
Story Title: 5/5
Plot: 4/5
Characters: 4/5
Ending: 4/5

Tiffany has begun her journey as a witch, starting out as an apprentice to Miss Level, a rather odd witch who usually drives her apprentices off through no fault of her own. Unfortunately, Tiffany's apprenticeship is disrupted by the arrival of a hiver, a parasitic creature that takes over a person's being and causes them to behave VERY badly. With the help of Miss Level, Granny Weatherwax and the unforgettable Nac Mac Feegle, Tiffany begins the battle of her life, to win her body back from the hiver.

Character Likability:
Tiffany: Tiffany is a determined, logical young girl who is 100% Pratchett Witch material. While Tiffany herself is not one of my favorite Pratchett witches (that would be Weatherwax and Ogg to name a few), she is likable, and the fact that she's supplemented by the Nac Mac Feegle helps to offset her seriousness.
Nac Mac Feegle: ACH CRIVENS! The Nac Mac Feegle are hilarious, and in each book in this series (especially in the audio versions) I found myself laughing out loud at them.

Miss Level: She's a very interesting witch and I am quite amused that so many young witches were frightened by her. I like her quite a lot.
Granny Weatherwax: Probably my favorite Pratchett witch... she is dead serious, but kind of nutty-goofy in her own way, and prone to kindness when it least suits her.

Quality of Writing:
I find that all of the Tiffany Aching series is fast flowing and entertaining... mostly because you can't wait to see what the Feegle do next!

I love the solutions that Pratchett comes up with for his books. Sometimes I see them coming, and sometimes I don't... mainly because he often wraps them up in the lore of discworld, which is something I don't know!
This ending was no exception. It was clever, and allowed for another of my all-time favorite Pratchett characters to show up. Won't name any names though ;)

First off, I LOVE Pratchett's ability to name his books. He'll probably always get a 5/5 from me on that. I've yet to see him miss the mark on the name. Hat full of sky refers back to Tiffany's beloved Grandma Aching... and actually, at one point in this audio... she says the line "When I am old, I shall wear midnight"... and I Shall Wear Midnight is the last of the Tiffany Aching stories, so I was quite impressed by the set-up.
Anyhow, this story begins with Tiffany getting ready to leave home so she can train to be a witch. Unfortunately, unbeknownst to her more experienced witch mentors, she has learned the trick of stepping out of her body... and at one point, when she does, something called a hiver comes in and takes her over. She is left to struggle with it internally, while everyone else is trying to figure out what is going on externally. It showcases some of Tiffany's power that even she has no idea how to use, and it plays on the themes of fairytales (as do all the Aching books) and making assumptions.

Believability of World:
If you're familiar with other works in the discworld series, then this is a very well founded world... same as if you've already read the other Tiffany Aching book before this... but if you're coming into this one without reading anything else, I recommend you put it down and pick up the beginning of the Aching series first. Pratchett has built himself a very complete and complex world, and you need a little background!

Audio Quality:
Stephen Briggs does such a wonderful job reading Pratchett stories! These stories have a girl as the main character, but having a man read them isn't off-putting at all. He does it wonderfully, and his representation of the Nac Mac Feegle is phenomenal. I had read this book before listening to the audio, and I think he does it 100% justice.

Overall Grade: A (The Nac Mac Feegle always make me laugh out loud reading these books, I think they're some of my favorite literary characters of all time. Even if you tried to read the discworld series and didn't like it... pick up the Tiffany Aching series. They're hilarious... and Stephen Briggs makes the Feegle sound so amusing!)
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LibraryThing member VicksieDo
This one had me laughing my butt off, those Wee Free Men are SO funny!!!
LibraryThing member sara_k
Waily, waily, waily would fit in this description but it doesn't apply. A Hat Full of Sky is the sequel to Wee Free Men by Terry Pratchett.

As funny and thoughtful as Wee Free Men, A Hat Full of Sky picks up Tiffany Aching two years after her first Pictsie adventures. Tiffany is on her way "out" to work but actually to learn how to be a witch. A terrible but invisible beast is searching for her and the Pictsies and Tiffany must find their unique ways to deal with the beast and other struggles that Tiffany will encounter. In my opinion the other teenage witches would rank pretty high on that list of terrors.

At the end of Wee Free Men, I heaved a satisfied sigh and longed for the next book. At the end of A Hat Full of Sky, I sighed, reread the last 2 chapters, and then thought long and often about the story. The Hiver reminded me of the overwhelming group mind in Wind Singer but less frightening as it only looks for one mind at a time.

Tiffany must decide who SHE is and how SHE is a witch instead of how other people wish her to be. She also must decide how to deal with the secret that witches keep. The secret about helping people to find the door through to death when they are lost and wandering towards death but seem unable to cross over.
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LibraryThing member bradgers
While on the surface the hiver sounds like the least of the enemies Tiffany has had to face in her books, the reason this book resonates more than the others is because what the hiver is, is basically yourself. Tiffany has to fight and destroy the feelings within herself, which is a battle that anyone and everyone ought to understand intimately. This book is so wonderful; when I first read it I did so in less than 48 hours, and immediately turned around and started again from the first page. Love, love, love this book.… (more)
LibraryThing member pussreboots
A Hat Full of Sky by Terry Pratchett is the 32nd Discworld book and the second of the Tiffany Aching books. Tiffany is now old enough to leave on her first apprenticeship as a with in training. She will be living in the hills, far from her beloved Chalk, and will be under the tutorage of the most unusual Miss Level.

Tiffany, left to her ways in the three years since she saved her brother from the Queen of the Fairies, has figured out some magic that under supervision she would have better control over. As is, though, she has caught the attention of an ancient and dangerous creature — something made up only of raw emotion and hunger. Now it will do anything to drink up Tiffany's power.

How witchcraft works and how it differs from wizardry has been a recurring theme in the Discworld books since Equal Rites (book 3). But it's in the Tiffany Aching books that witchcraft is shown through the context of the student and teacher and the glamor of the big spells and big adventures is de-emphasized for the more day-to-day, mundane, oft-times distasteful, work that comes with the calling.

That's not to say witches can't do magic(k). They most certainly can. What makes them witches, though, is knowing when not to do it. Most of the time, what they do is manual labor and psychology. Witchcraft is about withstraint. Tiffany will learn some harsh lessons about uncontrolled magic and tempers and do something things that can never be undone.

To a teenage girl who desperately wants to learn her craft, the midwifery and eldercare that Miss Level practices more than anything else seem at first like absolute drudge work. Tiffany wants some of the glamor and ritual of Mrs. Earwig's girls (even if she thinks Annagramma is full of it). So if anything, A Hat Full of Sky is about the impatience of youth, of making mistakes, of learning from them, and owning up to one's errors, and ultimately about forgiveness.

While the first book, Wee Free Men avoided most of the obvious references to other Discworld books and characters, this one brings Tiffany into fold. Granny Weatherwax, Nanny Ogg, and DEATH all make appearances. Of course no Tiffany Aching book would be right without the Nac Mac Feegles. This time, Rob Anybody is reluctantly learning to read.
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LibraryThing member fyrefly98
Summary: Although she banished the Faerie Queen from her homelands, the Chalk, when she was just nine, eleven-year-old Tiffany Aching doesn't feel particularly magical during her daily life of tending her family's sheep and making cheese. Going to study with the witch Miss Level doesn't really help, as Miss Level's brand of magic is mostly doing other people's chores and some basic medicine. However, Tiffany's going to have to find her magic reserves deep within herself, because she's being stalked by an ancient, unkillable evil force - The Hiver - who takes over people's minds and drives them mad. At least she won't have to fight it alone, though... for the Nac Mac Feegle (six-inch-tall blue "faeries" who like nothing more than getting drunk and fighting a lot) have befriended her, and they'll stop at nothing to protect their "big wee hag."

Review: I listened to The Wee Free Men almost a year ago, and while I quite enjoyed it, I didn't really feel the need to rush out and get the sequel, even once I found out it existed. And yet, as soon as I started this book, I realized how terribly much I'd missed the Feegles... and didn't let ten hours, let alone ten months, elapse before starting the next book in the series.

I think the reason I liked this book so much was that it had a good balance of all of the elements that go into YA fantasy. Before I found the Tiffany Aching books, I'd only read two of Pratchett's Discworld books, and was somewhat underimpressed - it felt like they were trying too hard to be funny all the time, and that the jokes had all been made before. A Hat Full of Sky, on the other hand, is frequently laugh-out-loud funny, but it balances it with some good adventure, a not-overly-preachy coming of age story, some interesting character development, and a cracking good story. It also doesn't talk down to its readers - Tiffany's eleven in this book, so the target audience is probably not much older - with things not always working out easily or perfectly, and the world sometimes being dark and unfair. The humor also helps its cross-over appeal to adult readers - there are plenty of things that young teens would find funny, but also plenty of sharper and more subtle humor for the grown-ups.

This is also an excellent book to listen to in audiobook form. I very rarely vocalize accents in my head when I'm reading, unless the accent is written out phonetically, which gets really tiring really fast. Anyways, the Nac Mac Feegles just wouldn't be the same without their thick accents, and Stephen Briggs narrates their dialogue, along with the rest of the story, just perfectly. Ach, crivens! 4.5 out of 5 stars.

Recommendation: This series is definitely recommended to fantasy fans who want something simultaneously hilarious and also taking a sensible stand on the issues that come with growing up.
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LibraryThing member aemurray
An excellent story about Tiffany Aching and her continued adventures into the craft.
LibraryThing member SimonW11
In which young Tiffany Aching is apprenticed as a witch but things don't of course go smoothly. Tiffany vacates her body briefly and it is possessed. Can her friends do something before its too late?
LibraryThing member Crowyhead
This one didn't have me laughing out loud quote so often as The Wee Free Men, but it's a great story and very funny.
LibraryThing member reading_fox
Second of the Tiffany Aching nominally younger discworld series. Although these two are at least, if not darker, than anything else in the discworld and genuinely challenge the way we think about what happens in the world around us.

A thoroughly entertaining read as is always expected from Pratchett, Tiffany leaves the Chalk to 'learn' some more 'proper' witching, by the usual method. That is to say doing it first and learning about it afterwards. Apart from the potential for chaos in the school this should be essential reading for all young teens. The parallesl about what is important in the world cannot be missed… (more)
LibraryThing member tronella
As much mad love as I have for Pterry, this one was kinda... off somehow. I mean, it was still good, but bits of it seemed kind of recycled, somehow. There were parts that seemed very similar to parts of Equal Rites, Lords And Ladies and The Sea & Little Fishes -- and I guess they were different enough to be justifiable, and they fit with the story, but... I don't know. It just annoyed me a bit.… (more)
LibraryThing member lilibrarian
As a young and upcoming witch, Tiffany Aching must defeat a monster with the help of a tribe of six-inch tall blue men.
LibraryThing member Nikkles
Another great book by Terry Pratchett. The characters and plot are great! This is one of my favorite story arcs in the disc world. Highly recommend it to Terry Pratchett's adult readers, as well as, young adults.
LibraryThing member ravenwood0001
Fledgling witch Tiffany Aching has been taken on as an apprentice to Miss Level, who is one person with two bodies, yes two bodies, not twins, but two whole bodies. However, our young heroine has a big problem. Tiffany has been taken over by a hiver--an invisible creature that controls and misleads the mind of its host until death. Our Tiffany has the strength to hide a portion of her mind despite being completely under the control of the hiver. Coming to her rescue are the cranky wee free men, the Nac Mac Feegle, along with the intrepid Miss Level.… (more)
LibraryThing member tundranocaps
Much better than the other Tiffany Aching books.
LibraryThing member JNSelko
The Wee Free Men lead the reader (and Tiffany Aching) on a wild ride!
LibraryThing member JoS.Wun
Terry Pratchett's talent for developing his characters continues to shine with Tiffany Aching (great name!) now at eleven years old. Another un-put-downable discworld story.
LibraryThing member mohi
A rather disappointing book to come after the excellent Wee Free Men. The heroine spends too much time wallowing in self pity, which is a shame after showing herself to be such a strong character in the previous book.
LibraryThing member ablueidol
Witch coming of age story for the tweens(8-12) set in the discworld universe at the Granny Weatherwax end. Clever dialogue and the Nac Mac Feegle faeries are wonderful and lots of fun for adults especially if read aloud as bedtime story
LibraryThing member gercmbyrne
Terry Pratchett is a god who walks among men. The entire Discworld series is a joy and only a strange mad creature cursed by gods and man would refuse to read and love these books!

Tiffany Aching Series, featuring the Witches of Lancre
LibraryThing member satyridae
9/2012 Love this book in any form, but this audio may be edging into first place. The narration is just splendid.

9/2011 I adore this book. Tiffany's a delightful heroine, but the real star here is Granny Weatherwax. Pratchett's wise women are crochety, quirky and entirely wonderful as a rule, but Esme Weatherwax transcends wonderfulness and enters into epic territory.

3/2009 Wonderful narration! If you like the book, you'll love the audio.
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LibraryThing member danicav
Tiffany Aching, is back for a second adventure where she heads off to learn the ways of being a witch.
LibraryThing member 391
In A Hat Full of Sky, Tiffany leaves the Chalk to train in witchcraft. The 'baddie' in this one is really, really intriguing, and the magic of the storytelling is spellbinding. I could barely put the book down!




(1773 ratings; 4.2)
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