The Shepherd’s Crown is Terry Pratchett’s last book, and it’s a fitting one for that, though I doubt he realized at the time that this was the final chapter. It is part of the Discworld series, though at first it was so, well, normal-ish that I wasn’t sure. It’s also part of the Tiffany Aching storyline, but as I hadn’t actually read any of those, I can’t speak to the quality on that level.
The Shepherd’s Crown follows young witch Tiffany after Discworld foundational character Granny Weatherwax dies, leaving Tiffany to inherit all of the resources and responsibilities (mostly responsibilities) of the leader of the witches. And there is quite a lot to do, because Granny’s passing also weakened the barriers between the elven world and our own, and the elves take it as an opportunity to attack.
It’s a nice story, funny but insightful in the typical Discworld way, but it also feels like a tying together, a wrapping up. Much as Tiffany must learn to grown and find her own place after the loss of Granny Weatherwax, we readers must learn to live in a world where there will be no more Discworld novels. Though I’m confident that the editiorial team behind Pratchett did their best to produce a polished work, I could sense in the story where things started going missing. It’s true that there is a complete narrative arc, a beginning, middle, and end, but it feels a bit sketched out toward the end (though the conclusion seems right on the nose).
That’s the sad part of this book, to me. In addition to knowing the author was racing against time to get it done, we can sense the holes in this book. Holes that will never be filled.
Go back and read the rest of the books, and think fondly.