By Terry Pratchett.
Tiffany Aching is now 15/16-ish years old and a full blown witch of the Chalk, who's constantly busy caring for the sick and dealing with other people's problems. Including a mean father who beat the crap out of his teenage daughter and killed his grandson. (Yes, this book is pretty dark right off the bat, but it gets better.) She's also smarting a bit that Roland, the Baron's son that she was maybe a little bit romantically interested in, is now engaged to the world's wettest crier, Leticia. And Leticia's mother is a total bullying screaming horror. It's one thing to not end up with the guy once you realize you don't have that much in common, but for him to pick someone like that? Really?
Then the Baron, who Tiffany has been trying to treat the pain of (alas, she can't cure him), dies after leaving her a bunch of money, and everything goes to hell. The creepy nurse is trying to accuse Tiffany of well, everything, but especially murder. Tiffany has to fly to Ankh-Morkpork to track down Roland and tell him the news, but things get even weirder there. She makes friends with the local witch, who tells her that these are dark days for witches and people are getting really steamed at them once again. This is due to the Cunning Man, an evil witchfinder spirit (his girlfriend was a witch and killed him when she figured out he was evil) who wakes up every so-odd years and picks a target to chase after. Tiffany's the latest one, since her smootch with Winter in Wintersmith (note: I didn't review this one here? OOPS. Must fix.) woke him up. She gets interesting help from a long-gone-from-the-books source (surprise awesome!*) before going home and having to fight on her own turf.
This one is awesome. I will admit that I've been reluctant to read Terry Pratchett's books since he got diagnosed, in fear that they won't be as good. (Or so I've heard about Unseen Academicals.) This one, well, I sure as hell couldn't tell. It's deep stuff. It's got plenty of lively new characters (and one old one), at least one of which has a whoppingly good surprise to it.** I liked the foreshadowing and omens, and particularly enjoyed Mrs. Proust and Preston***.
Things end very well, with a bit of surprise there too. If this is, alas, the last we see of Tiffany, we know she's going to be doing very well.