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4.7 out of 5 stars64
4.7 out of 5 stars
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Showing 1-10 of 13 reviews(4 star).Show all reviews
on July 5, 2001
It's Sam Vimes and friends to the rescue, this time in far-off Uberwald. But it's not in the same league as the previous Guards novels in the Discworld series. The villains are not at all interesting, there are a couple of meandering subplots, and there can actually be too much of Samuel Vimes in one of these books. I also don't quite get the metaphor that Pratchett is setting up with the otherwise-dopey title.
This is still very readable, with a few interesting new characters, and with some good scenes involving Cheery Littlebottom and Angua and Carrot. The quality of the writing is still very good, but could have stood a bit of editing. And Lady Sybil comes into her own as a character.
This was the Discworld novel that HarperCollins tried to use to make Pratchett a star here, but I suspect that new Discworld readers might be a bit more lost with this than with earlier books or with the novel after this one, "The Truth." If you're new to Discworld, my suggestion is to find "Men at Arms" or "Jingo" first as they are a bit less dependent on ideas introduced in other books in the series. If you're not new to Discworld, you'll buy this no matter what. You'll like a lot of it. But you might wonder, as I do, whether Pratchett is making a mistake by issuing a new book in the set every six months. A little more time to edit this and it could have been better.
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on March 17, 2000
In this book the wonderful characters we Discworld fans love seem to be maturing, growing less zany and more contemplative. I will especially miss Carrot the way he used to be, before he fell in love. Where is the earnest, innocent boy? He's become a sober and intense man. Sir Samuel is facing new responsibilities in his odd marriage. Nobby hasn't changed much but Pratchett doesn't broadcast his strangeness when he appears. And Colon has gone completely around the bend. The plot resembles a Bruce Willis movie, as Carrot and Vimes are constantly chasing, being chased, or being wounded. There's a lot of dark meanness in the evil characters (they are Undead, after all), and I can't tell what pterry is trying to say. The best part is the Igors, a sort of multipart organism of interchangeable servants, all with that extraordinary lisp. The book is a good read, as any Discworld novel is. It just isn't as consistently funny as you will expect.
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on August 3, 2000
The watch is back. Trouble in the Uberwald sends Vimes, Cherry and Detritus to the coronation of the new Dwarf King. Meanwhile Carrot and Agnes are having some problems, which leaves Sergeant Colon next in line for promotion to head of the watch....
This is a great story, full of humor, politics and plot twists. So easy to read I picked up the book and I read it without putting it down. It has more of a political tone compared with the watches last outing (Jingo), which was more of an adventure. The fifth elephant expands the disk word by padding out the dwarfs and giving incite to the Uberwald (expect more books from the Uberwald)
It's a good book if your just coming into the disk world books and a Great book if your following the disk world series
cont... I've owned this book for a while and I recently re-discovered it and I just could not put it down till I'd re-read it. I certainly think the book deserves a re-read or two.
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on March 22, 2000
Well, things are starting to get a little weird on the Disc. Ankh-Morpork has started a communications revolution (wonder if Pterry read "The Victorian Internet" for the details on telegraph towers?), and Vetinari has started to manipulate other nations politically. Alas, quite a few parties don't want that to happen. This one's a strange amalgam of social commentary and Die Hard-type movie, with Vimes and Carrot in hot pursuit of various interested parties, being hurt quite badly, and NEVER GIVING UP. For long-time Discworld fans: Death makes a cameo appearance, and Gaspode returns. Nobbs seems to be almost human, and Colon goes completely mental. I'd say this is well worth the hardback purchase. Read and enjoy. My favorite gag: Dorfl the golem's protest sign when he's on strike. Don't worry; that'll make sense in context.
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on April 15, 2000
Quite enjoyable fantasy set in an imainary world resembling 17th - 18th century Europe. Peopled with humans, gnomes, dwarfs (dwarves?), trolls, werewolves, and vampires as distinct races of peoples. It really is a lampoon of many institutions including government, religion, business, and technology. Noticeable absent are vulgar or profane words.
The one negative is the fairly frequent occurrence of typographical errors such as misplaced quotation marks, substitution of 'an for 'as', 'than' for 'that' or missing letters such as 'heat' being spelled 'eat', which require the reader to reread the sentence a time or two to comprehend the meaning.
There are no elephants whatsoever int he story except the mythical elephants supporting the flat earth and a statue commemorating the missing fifth elephant.
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on April 3, 2000
As the other reviews have said, this book is Terry at his near-best. It's funnier than the last couple I read (Jingo and Hogfather). I was afraid he'd gone into a decline, but now I know he hasn't. I think the members of the Watch are among his best, and it was thoroughly entertaining to watch the character development of Vimes, Cheery, Detritus, Colon, and Carrot as they are put into new situations. ..... HOWEVER, the state of the proofreading was APPALLING, to the point where I want to return the book. The typos and misplaced words were so frequent that they diminished my enjoyment of the story. If you care about value for your money, buy the paperback. I'm very resentful of having to shell out so much money for a hardcover book, only to see it so poorly put together. Grrrr! BAD Harper Collins!
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on October 2, 2000
And that's enough to get this book four stars straight off. As a longtime Pratchett fan though, I couldn't give it the extra star because it just can't compare with some of his earlier novels. If you're new to Pratchett, it's probably best to begin with the first Discworld novels ('The Colour of Magic' and 'The Light Fantastic') which are both incredible, or the first book involving the Ankh-Morpork Watch, 'Guards! Guards!', also one of his best in my opinion.
Fellow T.P veterans: not as good as 'Feet of Clay', but better than 'Jingo'. As much as I love the watch, it might be good if they were given a rest for a bit. Just how far can Vimes possibly get promoted?
Pratchett rocks. 'The Fifth Elephant' is thoroughly enjoyable, as always. Read it!
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on April 29, 2000
I have to be honest and say that this is not my favourite of the night watch series of the Discworld books. Having said that it is still a good read I would however recommend that it is best to have read some of the earlier books to fully appreciate all the nuances of this one. Terry Pratchett manages to make his characters mature as he writes about them and although I am sad to see less of the early Carrot in this book I enjoyed seeing how Vimes developed (having said that I feel that Colon and Nobby are still very close in character to their first appearances. All in all an enjoyable book and I just hope the next one which Pratchett has now completed is up to this standard.
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on February 1, 2002
Better than Carpe Jugulum, which I read at the same time. (It at least has many more footnotes, which is a sign of quality in any Discworld book.) It features Vimes of the Watch being sent on a diplomatic mission to witness the coronation amongst the dwarves and subsequently to solve a crime with vampires and werewolves about. This seemed to be a livelier and more varied book. Vimes is a fairly interesting character that hasn't been overused yet. And there are some good lines. I seem to remember one about Vimes falling asleep among wolves and awaking, surprised to find he still has his arms and legs-the actual phrasing is a typical Pratchett twist that unfortunately I can't recall.
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on April 25, 2000
This is the first book I've read by Terry Pratchett--I know...Where have I been!--and I must say it was thoroughly enjoyable, and I certainly will not wait as long to pick up the next one. Though it sounds like most of you are quite familiar with his work, I found the blend of humor, mystery, fantasy and parody quite refreshing after all the traditional sword and sorcery fare, and look forward now to being able to go back to the beginning with "The Colour of Magic." I must say, though, that all the "stars" contained herein seem evidence of the usual ratings inflation: As much as I enjoyed this work, it seems to me to lack the depth or breadth of a classic.
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