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(P)ISIS Publishing Ltd, 1995; Copyright © Terry and Lyn Pratchett, 1989; Cover Illustration © Josh Kirby
Terry Pratchett is my favorite author hands down. The humor in his books are, well, hilarious and his characters seem alive. The voice actor is the best i have ever heard in any book and he does the whole series just as well. Each character has a suitably funny voice and he brings you right into the story. You will not be disappointed with this book or any of the discworld novels now that i think of it.
This was at one time my least favorite books of the series, but after listening to it again, it has moved way up the list. Here we start "The Watch Cycle". Where we have most things set in the major city on the Disc, and have the author seams to have the most fun.
"Guards! Guards!" is thoroughly engaging, with characters you can root for while you're still prone on the floor with laughter. However, I do have two very minor quibbles with Nigel Planer's generally excellent reading. Orangutang is apparently not his best foreign language, as his rendering of the Librarian is less than riveting. Second, he completely ruined one jest by failing to read the sound effect properly. When Carrot charges the palace gate, it's supposed to sound like a European police siren, not a song by The Police. Those minor faults aside, I enjoyed this audiobook tremendously and will continue to select books read by Mr. Planer.
The recording was messy. At one point Planer says, "I'll do that over" and repeats the prior line. The sound quality was not consistent either. The editing and production quality are the problem here. The performance of the story was great and only hindered by bad production.
Excellent narration, but old, with some soft whirring sounds that I quickly tuned out. I've read Sir Terry Pratchett's entire "City Watch" Series — a subset of his Discworld Novels. This series has it all: elegant plotting, suspense, action, relationship development, character-development, punnery, parody, and plenty of political and social satire. Plus, a little romance (a very little).
Minor Quibbles: This book has a coherent plot, but the pace begins slowly with the lengthy secret brotherhood meeting. Sometimes, the jokes and the running commentary bog down the flow for a minute, and sometimes the satire feels teachy/preachy, but not enough to keep me away.
GUARDS! GUARDS! is the first book in the Discworld sub-series, where we meet Sam Vimes, captain of the Night Watch, the sorriest police force ever. Vimes is a fabulous character in the way of film-noir, hard-boiled yet soft hearted with an iron core of courage and integrity. We see him progress from boozing loser to protector of the people, upholder of the law, champion of the weak, and overall hero.
I LOVED the scene when Vimes riffs Clint Eastwood's DIRTY HARRY: "What you've gotta ask yourselves is, 'Am I feeling lucky?' Well? Are you feeling lucky?"
I also adore the Patrician (ruler) of the city of Ankh-Morpork, a (sometimes) benevolent dictator/ assassin named Lord Vetinari. He's a pragmatist and a realist of the highest order, having no illusions about his fellow man and happy to manipulate human nature to further his goals, but somehow he's likable enough, for all that. His "conversations" with Vimes are hilarious.
Then there's Constable Carrot, the huge "dwarf" with an even bigger heart. There's chubby old Sergeant Colon and monkey-faced Nobby Nobbs. What a fabulous cast of characters in this series -- a mix of humans and trolls, dwarves, werewolves, gnomes, vampires, wizards, dragons, etc. Pratchett peppers the series with satire and social commentary on gender, race, and species equality, the nature of humanity and the nature of life itself (the undead are alive?). In fact, the beloved Discworld character named Death, aka Mort, makes at least a cameo in every book, too.
SETTING: Here be wizards and magic and dragons. Small swamp dragons and huge noble dragons. Good-boy Bindle Featherstone (Errol) plays a key role in this book.
Pratchett and his faithful readers have made famous the fantastical planet Discworld and the vast twin-city of Ankh-Morpork. Even though the books are set on a fictional planet, the setting is similar to Old London, back when guild houses were prevalent, around 1400 I'd guess. Like old London, Ankh-Morpork is a city on the brink of advance. In fact, this is the city before an organized, equipped, and authorized police system even existed. Only the "Watch" existed, a handful of barely acknowledged men -- yes, all men at first -- who walked the beat. Or shuffled. Snoozed. Boozed.
Across the City Watch series and the cross-over "Modernization / Civic Industry" books with Moist Von Lipwig (Going Postal, Making Money, Raising Steam, The Truth, Moving Pictures), the shambling Night Watch develops into a force akin to Scotland Yard, and the City they protect moves out of the Middle Ages into a Modern-ish era.
Pratchett created a flat world that feels real, vivid, and almost round.
Quite a good story, the characters are good, the world building is well detailed and the narration was great. The pacing was a little meh at times, slow start and crawling at a few points in the story, but a good story and I recommend it.
Another great one by Terry Pratchett, possibly the best one I've read yet.
I truly love how he is able to take a certain subject - may it be the post office, or job of a city guard - and make it into a grossly entertaining, rip-roaring story in a fantasy setting. The concepts are brilliant, and they work so well because these are comedic stories. The characters are much larger than life. The humor is tongue-in-cheek and the narrator brings it to life in just the right way. Not all the concepts are home runs, but one good thing about Pratchett is that his stories keep you moving right along and always keep you guessing as to what's going to happen next.
I love the characters in this book! It'll be hard to forget Carrot. A naive young man raised by dwarves becoming a guard in the big city, actually taking his job seriously and upholding the law. And the orangutan librarian was absolutely hilarious! I definitely want more of these characters!
Not only is this a great fantasy book, but it's a great place to start if you're looking to start reading Terry Pratchett.
The City Watch books are an excellent intro to the complex world Pratchett created. This is the first in the series of Watch books and does a great job of getting you hooked and rooting for Vimes and the rest of the Watch.
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