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4.6 out of 5 stars
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on May 2, 2000
I truly enjoyed the Discworld books, even stinkers like "Moving Pictures", but I'll be the first to say Pratchett was somewhat limited by that which he mocked.
Sure, it was side-splitting, but in all I think he wrote a much better novel in "Guards! Guards!" due to the fact he had worked the landmarks of the genre out of his system: Lankhmar, Melnibone, etc. From here on out, Discworld was a purely Pratchett creation.
I often found myself holding my breath for a laugh, only to have it startled away by a brilliant and innovative (still funny, don't get me wrong!) take on what are the many formulas and conventions of the fantasy genre.
If you're a fan of excellent plotting - believe me, there are some truly surprising twists here - and some sterling comedy writing, I give this book a high recommendation. I would even say you can jump straight into Discworld with this novel, and work your way either way up or down the soft continuity of the Discworld novels.
Oh, and there's a game - if you own a Playstation, rent it out or buy it. It's a laugh riot!
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on July 28, 1998
Pterry here has managed to be not only funny but serious. Carrot comes across a bit too stereotypically, but Vimes is the most human of the characters, indeed one of the most human of teh series. There are indeed Tolkien references, (and also Casablanca! Note the flickering sign outside Vimes's window - so traditional it's very hard to leave out, but stil . . . )
Lady Ramkin is still a tad flat (She doesn't come into her own, really, until Jingo) but her relationship with Vimes is very well done, and very . . . there. It wrenches at you. It's one of the best parts of the book. (i think that the Patrician's view on life, as explained to Vimes, is even better, but I'm a real Vetinari fan.)
If you haven't read any other Discworld books yet, START HERE. (or possily at Mort.) t's the best in the series, excepting Jingo, which builds too much on it to be a starting point. My only reget when I read this was that I had read Men at Arms and Feet of Clay before I got my hand! s on it.
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on February 4, 2002
The reason, I think, that Pratchett has managed to keep Discworld viable after over two dozen novels while other series seem to fade after four or five is that Pratchett continually introduces new characters and new tracts in his Discworld books -- Rincewind, Granny Weatherwax or Death, for instance.
"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.
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on November 6, 2001
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!
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on February 14, 2001
This is the eighth Discworld novel and the sixth I have read. Why does it seem that they are getting better? Is it that I simply can't remember how good the previous ones were?
The story is set around the city guard, led by Captain Vimes, who is a composite of many well-known detectives/cops that we are familiar with. He is a cynical, bumbling alcoholic, but goodhearted and ultimately heroic in all his failings as he goes about saving the kingdom from a usurping dragon. The supporting characters are just as entertaining and fully developed, including the librarian (oook!)
Needless to say, I highly recommend this one. It was at times hilarious, thought provoking (I'm not kidding), suspenseful (the last half of the book is set at a blistering pace) and overall a brilliant satire. Pratchett gives us a scathing commentary on the human condition while providing us with superb entertainment.
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on December 18, 2001
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.
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on August 28, 2001
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.
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on November 2, 2000
I have read all but the latest two or three of the novels (I am English but now live in the US, my mom sends the English ones to me!) and I have to say that along with Mort, Guards!, Guards! is the best of an amazing series. We all have our favorite characters but who can resist Carrot, Vimes, Colon and Nobby! The story is excellent, the characters wonderful, the humour laugh out loud funny and even when you know whats coming it can still raise a chuckle. How can an author write such humour and yet still leave us caring about what happens to each of his creations like they were our best friends? Long live the Discworld and all of its inhabitants!!
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on December 10, 1999
This is the first Discworld book I read and 24 books later it is still my favorite. The plot is so twisted, and the characters well developed, its a must read! It is a fun series to read and I would recommened to everyone to read this one first. You don't have to read the series in order. Each book can stand alone although there are several "mini-series" of books in the whole series. Guards! Guards! is full of humor yet thought provoking. While you enjoy the story you also realize the point that Mr Pratchett is making about problems in our own world. So buy it now! And enjoy!
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It is a constant amazement that Terry Pratchett possesses a seemingly inexhaustible wit and imagination, and in this eighth installment in his Discworld series, that wit and imagination is in full flight (you will forgive the pun.)

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.
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