Wee Lass in a Quaint Town
At the beginning of the book, we meet Tiffany Aching, a scrappy little nine-year-old who is in a quaint little town. We're introduced to her family (including an incredibly sticky little brother), and watch as Tiffany goes off to learn more about magical creatures, encounters some of her own, and consults a real live witch named Miss Tick to see if she'll give her lessons.
All the Queen's Men
Things get a little hairy when Tiffany continues to discover more mystical creatures, like a band of blue pictsies called the Nac Mac Feegles who are stealing sheep and sneaking onto their farm. Seeing the tiny blue folks is just the tip of the iceberg though—soon the real drama starts when some kind of evil Queen snatches Tiffany's little brother Wentworth, forcing her to team up with the tiny blue dudes and venture into the Queen's daunting world, Fairyland, to retrieve him.
Life is But a Dream
The action really takes off when Tiffany and the little blue pictsies end up in Fairyland, fighting off a barrage of evil creatures that the Queen sets loose on them. Tiffany even finds Roland, the Baron's son who has been lost from her village for the past year.
It quickly becomes clear that things in Fairyland are made up of dreams—and you can get trapped in a dream forever if you're not too careful. When Tiffany finally meets the Queen face-to-face, it turns out that the Queen can manipulate her surroundings, trap them in terrifying scenarios, and even change her own appearance. Uh-oh—talk about an intimidating figure to go up against.
My Dreams, My Rules
When the Queen has Tiffany cornered and thinking that she's lost for certain, Tiffany figures something out—there are certain rules that come with dreaming. And this means that Tiffany can manipulate the dreams herself by putting herself in her own dreams, and that she can literally get herself out of this mess by waking up. And so that's what she does: she forces herself to wake up, and in doing so expels herself from the Queen's twisted world. Tiffany even manages to bring Wentworth and Roland back with her too.
Peace and Quiet
At the very end of the novel, Tiffany, Roland, and Wentworth are back in the Chalk and happily settled. Roland takes all the credit for their rescue, but that's okay with Tiffany, who has come to realize her role. She's a witch, through and through, and her job is to protect the Chalk, not to take the credit for anything. She knows that she's meant to stay here, make some cheese, and keep watch over the land and its people.