5.0 out of 5 stars Hilarious
Great introduction to The Discworld. This book kicks off the Night Watch story-arc of The Discworld series, rated by many to be the best of the lot.
Published 12 months ago by Dan
3.0 out of 5 stars Kind of slow..
Well, obviously everybody liked this one more than I did. Of course it deserves more than three stars in general, but not comparing to others in the Discworld. It just didn t catch me. But, see for yourself, you ll be trough in no time.
Published on Nov. 27 1999 by Malan Strbenc
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5.0 out of 5 stars More Pratchett hilarity,
I read the Colour of Magic a long time ago, and while it was funny, I didn't really appreciate it. I haven't really had the chance to go back and read more Pratchett until I picked up the City Watch trilogy at the local library. Guards Guards! is the first book to feature the Watch, and it is a great introduction to them.
The book hits the ground running with wonderful take-off on the idea of pass-phrases to get into a building. I couldn't stop laughing, especially because my wife and I have a running joke similar to this from something she read on USENET. Pratchett takes it about 10 steps further, though, and he does it with flair. Pratchett then continues the hilarity, even when he's making some good points on the human condition (like the human ability to do horrible things to each other). Just when things start to seem a little slow, he'll let loose with another bit of either silliness or wit, such as a Clint Eastwood riff that's simply wonderful.
As many people have said already, this is a book about those characters in most other novels who's job it is to die or be bonked on the head at the hands of the hero. This book celebrates them, gives them a personality and a reason for being other than to be cannon fodder. This time, instead of being just the downtrodden, they are also the heroes.
Vimes is an interesting character, a man who starts out as a man who totally despises what he has become. He loses himself in drink because, as head of the City Watch, he's nothing. He gets no respect from anybody (not even his men), and he doesn't have anything to really live for. In comes Carrot, a "dwarf" (actually, a human who was raised by dwarfs, and still considers himself one, even though he's over 6' tall) who comes to the city actually volunteering to be a member of the watch. Carrot's a simple man who's devotion to the rule book starts to rub off on Vimes himself. Between that and the attentions of Sylvia Rimken, the richest woman in the city and somebody who looks past Vimes' outer shell, he starts to become the man of integrity that he's always wanted to be.
That all sounds a bit heavy, but it's really not in this book. Pratchett is a master of making good points underneath all of the jokes, but if you don't want to think about things too much, the laughs are still worth the read. The other two characters, Colon and Nobs, are good for that. Colon is the sergeant who has been married for years mainly because of carefully arranges schedules that make it so he and his wife only see each other when they pass at the front door. Nobs is a very strange man who uses his position to steal things (though Carrot changes that pretty quickly). Carrot tries to arrest everything in sight, to often hilarious results. His introduction to the city at one of the local watering holes is simply hilarious.
All in all, this is a book that is well worth reading. As it's the first in the City Watch books, you certainly don't have to have read the previous Discworld books to understand what's going on. It takes a couple of fantasy cliches and turns them on their head. You won't be able to look at dragons the same way again after reading it.
4.0 out of 5 stars A good read,
This book is one of the funny discworld series. Terry Prachett is a writing genius and his imagination knows no bounds. This book is very funny and is a great introduction to Discworld. The city of Ankh-Morpork is akin to New York but about 100 times worse. The badness is overlooked by the amount of comedy avalible in this city. The book is the first with the Honorable Carrot Ironfoundersson who is one of the best charaters ever. And In This Book Here Be Dragon not trying to Hassle you and Sell You Souvenirs
5.0 out of 5 stars I keep giving these books five stars...,
In a review posted a while ago for Pyramids, I said that was my favorite. Gotta back up, here.
This is most clever, not to mention well paced.
I am starting to look forward to the appearance of the Guard, unlike real life.
I've been able to steal numerous lines from this book, and work them into daily conversation, which makes those unaware of Pratchett think that I am the most humorous, curmudgeonly sort they've encountered in a long time.
I'm torn - do I tell these friends about Mr. Pratchett, or do I let them keep thinking I can come up with lines like, "...a treasure ship, running ahead of a mild breeze?"
One of the best, and highly recommended. I wish that someone would publish the next three or so in an affordable version - I hate paying (...)for a paperback.
5.0 out of 5 stars What do you do with a dragon, anyway?,
That's the question on the minds of the citizens of Ankh-Morpork, Discworld's most cosmopolitan city this time. Their people are calling for a king to be installed on the throne again (well, some people are, most don't care at all), and roylaty fever has swept the kingdom...that is, until the king to be is exterminated by the very thing he was supposed to kill - a dragon.
And not just Morpork's usual harmless swamp dragon, either. We're talking full-on, building burning, princess-eating, elephant wrestling sized dragon here...and to make matters worse, because it's a Draco Noblis (Noble Dragon), the dragon itself is soon on the throne...and it's up to the city watch to do something about it.
This is probably my favorite of the Discworld series so far. It's well paced, funny, and best of all makes you want to pick up more of the series just to see the characters come back. A fantastic read, and I recommend it to everyone!
4.0 out of 5 stars The series continues,
Just reread this book. It's not my favorite in Pratchett's Discworld series, but it's still darn good.
One comment worth making. Up to this point, most of the books in the series can be read as stand alone stories. After this point, Pratchett depends more and more on the same cast of characters. You really need to know their history to make sense of the story (and more importantly to catch some of the jokes).
5.0 out of 5 stars Some of the best Pratchett out there,
Like many other people, I didn't get to read this one until after I read The Fifth Elephant, Men at Arms and The Truth, which were released in paperback before this one. I read half the book in one sitting, and found it to be quite good.
Oh yeah, and don't miss the Dirty Harry callback. Probably the most hilarious part of the book, in my opinion.
5.0 out of 5 stars I know everyone's already said this..,
but Guards! Guards! is WONDERFUL. You don't even have to read it before the other Watch books; I'd got through all the Watch cycle from Men at Arms to The Fifth Elephant before getting hold of this one and I actually think I appreciated it more. Although, being used to the Vimes of the later books, it *was* a bit depressing to see his first appearance..
4.0 out of 5 stars The first (but not the best) City Watch book,
This is the first book in the long "Ankh-Morpork City Watch" series.
A small group of people conjure up a dragon, hoping that a heir to the throne of Ankh-Morpork will come up and kill it, thereby being crowned king. Someone does come up, but can't do anything when the dragon appears again, this time crowning itself king. Now it's left to the City Watch to try to fix things.
As in most Pratchett books, the characters make the book. The Watch consists of 3 men, and one new addition, Carrot Ironfounderson. The three people are each different and very much the same. There's Nobby, the only person that needs an ID to prove that he's a human, Colon, and Vimes. The main character is Carrot, a 6 foot tall dwarf who just moved to Ankh-Morpork seeking glory in being a watchman. You can't really say much about the Watch, you just have to read the books to understand it, but they're arguably the funniest characters Pratchett has ever written.
This book hasn't been republished in the US since 1989, and is a long awaited reprint. It's definitely worth it, even though most other City Watch books are better.
4.0 out of 5 stars Long-Over Due Reissue of Classic Discworld Novel,
This book, long out of print, introduces Pratchett's best heroes, Sam Vimes and Carrot, and sets up the adventures to come. To my surprise, the plot in here holds its own against those in later Vimes novels, and the large space given to the supporting cast is a delight to those who know Colon and Knobby, Vimes' deputies, from later books where they share the guardhouse with a much larger cast. I read the Guards book out of order, and now feel like I should re-read them in order. The whole subseries, even the anticlimactic "Fifth Elephant," stand out from the rest of the Discworld books. Discworld is almost always good. Vimes is even better.
5.0 out of 5 stars When the Whittle* becomes the Winners,
This review is from: Guards! Guards! (Paperback)
(*definition contained herein)
Like "Wyrd Sisters" before it, "Guards! Guards!" takes a well-known tale, and changes its focus. While "Wyrd Sisters" looked at MacBeth through the eyes of the three witches, "Guards! Guards!" looks at the genre of heroic fantasy, only the hero is not who you'd expect it to be. Terry is now two-for-two when trodding down this particular deconstructionist path.
The guards of the Watch are the henchman you've seen in a Bruce Lee movie, who each take their turn trying to stop Bruce, all to similar degrees of failure. They're the stormtroopers in the Star Wars series. They're the no-name actor who accompanies Kirk, Spock, and Bones down to the alien planet in Star Trek. They are anonymous and ineffectual, chameleonlike in their ability to fade into the scenery. Or at least that's how the conventions of the genre treat them. In Pratchett's hands they transcend their fate, move to the lip of the stage, and save the day.
It is such a pleasure to follow the character development of Captain Vimes and his men, Nobby, Colon, and their new protégé Carrot. There are some sublime moments where they learn to understand the conventions of the genre, and use it to their own benefit. My favourite occurs when they have to hit the "voonerable" spot of a dragon with an arrow, and deduce that a million-to-one shot is always successful in times like these. So what do they do? They conspire to make the shot more difficult (standing on one leg, wearing a blindfold, etc.) to make the odds worse, therefore being more in their favour! It is such a joy to try and traverse through such a minefield of ridiculous logic.
The story, now that I look back on it, is told in two parts. The first is pretty standard fare: a disenchanted "citizen" wants to install a puppet monarch. They unleash a dragon on the city, for if the dragon is slayed by a hero that hero will be crowned as king by public demand. Only of course things go wrong. The second half of the book shows how wrong. I'm not going to ruin it, but needless to say that things take a very surprising turn through a chain of events that to my mind is unprecedented in fantasy literature.
And of course there are more classic Pratchett comedy set pieces. The best of the bunch being when The Librarian (if you're not familiar with this wonderful creation, I'll tell you that the Librarian was magically transformed into an Ape, and never wanted to change back) tries to impart the name of a magic book, and can do so only through a hilarious game of charades. Also, there are a series of scenes near the beginning where we are introduced to a secret underground brotherhood, made up of a gallery of dim disciples whose mistakes and pettiness nearly cause their leader to have a stroke. And just try and use their secret password. It's a wonder anyone manages to show up for the meetings!
This, along with the aforementioned "Wyrd Sisters", is the most complete of the Discworld books I've read. It scores high marks for its comedy, parody, pop culture references (look for the Sam-Vimes-as-Sam-Spade clues subtly sprinkled throughout the narrative), action sequences, suspense, drama, and even its shadow of a love story. I understand that there are at least four more books in the Watch series, and I can't wait to get at them.
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Guards! Guards! by Terry Pratchett (Paperback - Dec 23 1998)
CDN$ 11.99 CDN$ 10.79