This afternoon I took Terry Pratchett's last novel, The Shepherd's Crown, to a café (accidentally buying 3 more books on my way into town), and finished it in 3 hours.
This novel follows Tiffany Aching as she comes into her own as a professional witch and has to face up to the increase in responsibility that entails, as well as another threat of elven invasion.
I don't want to give spoilers to anyone who hasn't read it, but I will say there's a major character death, which feels so autobiographical, almost as though it's Pratchett's own goodbye to the world, that it really was very moving above and beyond its implications for the character within the novel.
The Shepherd's Crown is full of a joy of life and an optimism about human nature, with laugh-out-loud moments and some truly wonderful awful puns. It feels much better put-together than a few of his later works, which for me felt as though they were lacking in structure, whereas this one feels like one complete story in its own right. There are a few loose ends, which is unsurprising for a posthumous publication, but overall it was a fantastic read, a good balance of plot, humour and pathos.
Now that I've finished it it's occurred to me that I'll never again be able to read a new Pratchett novel, and that makes me very sad indeed.
Next up: Bridget Jones' Diary by Helen Fielding