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 4 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 Hilarious,
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4.0 out of 5 stars Inexhaustible wit and imagination,
Filled with archetypes that shatter the definitions, the story clips along at an incendiary pace, exploding with humour, twisting with unexpected turns, and generally just takes you on a rollicking great read.
If you're needing complete, unabashed escapism, you must venture out with Carrot, Captain Vimes and the swamp dragons.
5.0 out of 5 stars The people united can never be ignited!,
Everyone knows that dragons do not exist, not the type of giant mythical creatures who fly around breathing fire all over the place. Thus, it comes as something of a surprise to people when Anhk-Morpork begins experiencing incidents of the body-melting variety; such a perpetrator can only be dismissed for so long as a giant wading bird, however. It seems that a group of unimportant have-nots has been wooed into a secret society bent on teaching the haves a lesson or two by magically summoning a dragon to carry out their wishes. Naturally, things get out of hand, and the dragon finds a way to establish permanent residence in reality. Declaring himself king of the city, preparations are made to turn over treasure and begin sacrificing maidens. The City Watch has long been nothing but a joke in town, especially after the establishment of proper guilds virtually eliminated illegal illegality, and Captain Vimes and his men have no desire to enforce the law anyway, unless enforcing the law somehow involves drinking copious amounts of alcohol. Young Carrot (who has just found out he is a human and not a dwarf after all, all six and a half feet of him) amazingly volunteers for the Watch and actually tries to enforce the law, thereby causing a bit of controversy at first. Then the dragon business comes along, and the City Watchmen take it upon themselves to try and overcome the wossname since no one else, aside from the noble swamp-dragon enthusiast Lady Ramkin, seems to offer much resistance at all (even when extolled by Sergeant Colon's rally cry "The people united can never be ignited!"). Of course, the odds of solving such a crisis as this are a million-to-one; odds of a million-to-one guarantees success, as everyone knows, and the problem comes in making sure your plan's chance of success does not miss the mark; it can't be a thousand-to-one or even 999,999-to-one odds because you've never heard of anyone succeeding with those odds against them, now have you?
There is so much that goes to the very heart of the Discworld in this novel that one cannot begin to list it all here. Captain Vimes and the City Watch members are some of the most human characters in the series, and they also happen to be very funny. Virtually everything about this book is terribly funny. The only question I have about this novel is how in the world the inept wizard Rincewind managed to be completely absent from such a dangerous situation as the one represented by the dragon to the city. It's really best that he does not appear in these pages, though, as it would take something away from the incredible appeal of the City Watch characters. If ever a Discworld novel were required reading, it would have to be Guards! Guards! If you can't enjoy this book, then Pratchett's Discworld series is not for you.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars FABRICATI DIEM, PVNC !,
Things start turning around for Sam and the Watch in "Guards ! Guards !". The force sees a dramatic rise in numbers with the arrival of Carrot Ironfoundersson. Orphaned as a baby, Carrot had been taken in by the dwarfs and raised in a gold mine. Until shortly before he left home, he didn't realise he was human - he'd always thought he was just tall for his species. His adoptive father decides it's best for Carrot to spend some time with other humans and 'manages' to secure a position for him in the Ankh-Morpork City Guard. Carrot, on his arrival, is viewed with some amazement : an actual, honest volunteer. He takes things very literally (as dwarfs tend to do), is very innocent (he wouldn't know what to do with a seamstress if one fell into his lap) and a lot of the humour comes from his utter confusion.
The problem for Sam and the Night Watch is presented by the Unique and Supreme Lodge of the Elucidated Brethren. Well, actually, the problem is its mysterious (and big-headed) Supreme Grand Master, an ambitious and manipulative individual. (The remaining members are bitter, vitriolic, small-minded, jealous, resentful and a bit stupid. As a result, they're very easy to manipulate). He's devised a Machiavellian plan that will involve the removal of the Patrician (Ankh-Morpork's tyrant) and lead to the restoration of the monarchy. Unfortunately, his plan involves the controlling of a very dangerous dragon - to that end, Brother Fingers has managed to 'acquire' De Malachite's book on summoning dragons from the Unseen University's library. For some reason, it doesn't seem to bother him that the book is badly burnt.
This is the first of the Discworld books to feature Sam and the City Guard. As a result, it's a pretty good starting point if you've never read any of the other Discworld books before and want to see what you're missing. Pratchett's books are always very funny and this one gets better as it goes along. Definitely recommended.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Knee-slapping humor and solid adventure. Perfect,
Author Terry Pratchett keeps the laughs coming in this Discworld-set adventure. Captain Vines, a recurring character in the series, is well developed as a sympathetic and interesting character. The romantic element adds to the humor and to the story as well.
Combining knee-slapping humor with a solid adventure is often difficult, but Pratchett manages without breaking a sweat. Fans of the DiscWorld series will definitely want to add this one to their must-read selection. GUARDS! GUARDS! is also a great place to start reading Pratchett novels as it introduces many of the important characters.
5.0 out of 5 stars Pratchett's Evolving Characters,
I loved the affirmative action developments in the second book, though the dragon plot in the first one seems almost superfluous compared to the evolution of Vimes' character from the time we meet him drunk in the gutter to the changes Sybil helps bring about -- and we read the subsequent Watch novels in wonder as Sam goes on to become a reluctant knight, then a duke and an expectant dad. Equally fascinating are Angua the werewolf and Cheery Littlebottom the dwarf, two of the new "men" at arms whom we get to know better in each book. Even Carrot, who is usually too good to be interesting, starts to develop some fascinating flaws in THE FIFTH ELEPHANT.
That's the joy of the Watch novels, as well as the Witch and Death ones, and a few one-shot protagonists like Teppic in PYRAMIDS. Here are people who change and evolve, in other words, people who come alive. (Even Death does -- wonderfully.) Although the password scene at the beginning of GUARDS! GUARDS! is one of Pratchett's funniest, there is none of the sneering and lampooning that make the Rincewind stories tedious. I am ever so glad that this was the first Pratchett book I read; had it been one of the Rincewind stories, chances are I'd never have gone back to the PRA's on the bookstore shelves.
5.0 out of 5 stars My favorite of the series so far!,
5.0 out of 5 stars Pratchett at his best,
"Guards! Guards!" is the first book to follow the adventures of Captain Vimes, and is easily as good as any other Pratchett has written. Our stalwart quartet of well-meaning bufoons provides an incredibly entertaining satire of medieval sword 'n sorcery epics -- you know, the kind where the boy finds a magic sword or slays a dragon and is therefore crowned king, regardless of any actual qualifications he may have.
I am attempting to work through the Discworld novels chronologically, so I don't know if Vimes, Carrot, Nobby and Colon show up again in this series. But I certainly hope so. Pratchett has rapidly ascended my all-time favorite authors list.
5.0 out of 5 stars 1st time reader,
5.0 out of 5 stars More Pratchett hilarity,
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.
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Guards! Guards! by Terry Pratchett (Audio CD - July 26 2005)
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