Sunday, March 14, 2010

Review of Terry Pratchett's "Guards, Guards"

Guards! Guards! (Discworld, #8) Guards! Guards! by Terry Pratchett

My rating: 5 of 5 stars
The city of Ankh-Morpork is the setting for this Discworld novel, the 8th in the overall series to be published, and the 1st of what I call the "Guards" sub series. Some have termed them the Ankh-Morpork City Watch ( ) sub series. Whatever one wishes to call them, these are some of the best of the Discworld books.
This one starts out with the Night Watch down and almost out for the count. There are only three members left, after one more of their compatriots has died in the line of duty. Their leader, Sam Vimes is a dispirited drunk, the other two members, Corporal Fred Colon and "Nobby" Nobbs are not what would be termed model policemen at this stage of their careers. When they go out into the night, they seem more afraid of the criminals that the criminals are of them. They are soon joined by a new recruit, a 6'6" Dwarf (adopted) named Carrot Ironfoundersson. Ironfoundersson is an idealist who believes that the Watch is still respected and important in the fight against crime and disorder in Ankh-Morpork. He's a literalist who has been raised by a culture that has a hard time understanding statements such as "show him the ropes" an example of which occurs in the book in an incident following a barroom brawl.
While the Watch is coming to terms with its new member, a group is secretly plotting to overthrow the Patrician Lord Havelock Vetinari who runs Ankh-Morpork and institute the return of a King, who they hope to them be able to control. Their proposed method of bringing dragons back into the Discworld turns out to have more problems that they originally anticipate.
A very good read, I recommend it even to those who don't usually read fantasy if they like satire and hard boiled humor. At times Pratchett seems a mix of Joseph Wambaugh and P. G. Wodehouse when writing these Guard books.

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Review of Terry Pratchett's "Men at Arms"

Men at Arms (Discworld, #15) Men at Arms by Terry Pratchett

My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I'm probably biased, but I'm come to love everything I've read so far by Terry Pratchett, so perhaps my 5 stars should be taken with the proverbial "grain of salt". Still, I enjoyed this one immensely. The Discworld books sometimes have series within the overall series that follow a group of characters. This book is the 2nd in what I call the "Guards" series, following the Night Watch of Ankh-Morpork which is led by Sam Vimes.
After the events of Guards! Guards! the Watch is being expanded, both in number and in ethnicity. Affirmative action of a sort has come to the Watch, and the new hires include trolls, dwarves, and werewolves, among others. Sam Vimes is planning on retiring from the Watch after his upcoming wedding, and a series of mysterious murders is occuring with an apparently new type of weapon, which fires metal pellets through the air.
I recommend reading the book Guards, Guards first if you can, but like most all of the Disworld series that I've read, this one can stand alone or even be your first foray into the Discworld if this is the only book available at the moment. I definitely urge anyone who enjoys fantasy, adventure, humor, satire and a touch of hard boiled mystery to check this one out asap.

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