Wintersmith by Terry Pratchett
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
When junior witch Tiffany Aching joins a dance of the seasons, she attracts the attention of the Wintersmith and needs all of her ingenuity to rebalance the world before it plunges into permanent winter.
Tiffany is still in the mountains completing her training under the many borrowed eyes of her blind mentor, Miss Treason. When they attend a Dark Morris one night, Tiffany joins in, little realizing that she's inserted herself into a far larger story. Now the Wintersmith is in love with her, and in the pursuit "it" is striving to become a "he". When spirits act like a smitten human boy, odd things tend to happen - like millions of identical Tiffany-faced snowflakes. While flattering, it's also terrifying, and Tiffany is determined to correct her mistake before anyone is hurt.
The young witch has other worries, too. The Nac Mac Feegle are still around causing trouble and watching over her. She has to preside over an unusual funeral and burial of one of the older witches, and help the witch's useless replacement, Anagramma, learn the ropes of caring for a community. Navigating the society of witches is always tricky, since witches are by definition bossy, opinionated, and self-confident. Tiffany also learns the magic of "Boffo" and how to disappear.
There are Pratchett's usual comedic touches to enjoy: one of my personal favorites is the dilemma of librarians stranded in the cold chalk country who are earnestly wondering what to burn next. Then there is Tiffany's critical reaction to the farm setting of a steamy romance novel procured for her by the Mac Feegles from said librarians. There are also appearances by Granny Weatherwax and Nanny Ogg, two characters who appear in the Discworld Witches subseries.
For recommendations on what to read next, check out my review of the first Aching novel, The Wee Free Men.