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(P)ISIS Publishing Ltd, 1995; Copyright © Terry and Lyn Pratchett, 1989; Cover Illustration © Josh Kirby
I just started listening to the series again, for the umpteenth time, and I noticed that this is the novel where Pratchett really hits his stride. His earlier novels are extremely good, but they don't have quite the edge of this one. It's worth a listen just for the secret password scene at the beginning of the novel.
What's really mind boggling is to think that his wit and gift for language just keep getting better in each book. By the time he reaches Going Postal, which I think is #29 in the series (how often does anyone write 29 books, let alone 29 excellent books), you're not so much reading as admiring a truly jaw-dropping performance.
I must confess I am a devoted Terry Pratchett fan so this review is probably somewhat biased. Guards! Guards! is on one of the first Discworld novels I read and it is still one of my favourites. The story is about what happens when an earnest young man who has been taught about the law comes to a city where thieves and assassins are pillars of the community and the city watch is a running joke. It also about the power of mediocrity. And of course the power of a book.
Highlights include quotes such as:
"People who are rather more than six feet tall and nearly as broad across the shoulders often have uneventful journeys. People jump out at them from behind rocks then say things like, "Oh. Sorry. I thought you were someone else."
"A good bookshop is just a genteel Black Hole that knows how to read."
"There was a thoughtful pause in the conversation as the assembled Brethren mentally divided the universe into he deserving and the undeserving, and put themselves on the appropriate side.
Every time I read (or in this case listen) to it I am struck anew by the wit and insight dripping from each line. If you want a good fantasy novel and appreciate satire and a dry British wit, this book is for you.
Note- this is an excellent book to start with if you are thinking of trying Terry Pratchett, it introduces one of the best groups of characters in the Discworld but it also stands on its own.
P.S. This is a must read for any body who works in a Library.
Audible Member Since 2003
Not understanding what all the Discworld series hoopla was about I decided to start with GUARDS! GUARDS! I was not sure I wanted to listen to a fantasy book complete with wizards and dragons, but quickly I learned it wasn't really about the setting of the story that so enamoured Pratchett's fans. It's the writing dripping with brilliant comedy and sarcasm. This guy is really good.
One really has to listen to it to appreciate it, but I suppose the best way to characterize this story is Monty Python meets Lord of the Rings. And that description is lame by comparison to the actual work of Terry Pratchett. Go ahead - give it a try. It's a lot of fun.
Metaphor never had it so good! Brilliantly read, clever, funny and engaging. I wanted start it over as soon as I was done.
This is a fun book with quite a bit of character development. Mr. Planer voices the characters very nicely and we again hear the humor of Mr. Pratchett in his wonderful descriptions, settings and metaphors. This is a good police procedural wrapped up in the trappings of the disc world and I enjoyed it.
I contacted customer service over the editing gaff in this recording. More or less I told them exactly how to hear the mistake themselves. at 4:43:30 in to the play time.
In less than a day, Angelys R. with Audible Customer Support responded with "I have entered this audio file into our audio bug department and have reported the issue to this department. Please allow some time for our audio technicians to repair this file. Once repaired; they will contact you via email to inform you that this file has been replaced within your online library and you can re-download"
I am quite pleased with this response!
I enjoyed the story beyond the distracting editing gaff. I will not be requesting a refund.
Then laughed some more. Pratchett only gets better as he continues this series. If you've never heard any of his books, this is as good a place to start as any. If you're familiar, well, this is another jewel in the Discworld necklace.
Guards! Guards! may very well be, in my humble opinion, Pratchett's best Discworld book yet. The characters are so unique and relatable that I sometimes feel as though I might have met them before. The librarian of Unseen University is, far and away, my favorite character, and his inclusion in this book was delightful and hysterical. So hysterical that my husband will no longer let me listen to Pratchett when he's working from home because my laughter disrupts his concentration. Vimes is as salty as ever, even faced with dragons, and the added bonus of a mystery/conspiracy put this Discworld volume above all the rest. I confess that I'm only two-thirds of the way through the series, but I am steadily plowing ahead with great anticipation, as well as fear that one day I will reach the end...and it will be, well, the end.
The quality of this recording is probably one of the best of the Discworld series that I've heard from Audible.com. I noticed the cover was new - a mostly black design. I suppose that means the source is from a newly released, remastered version. There is no hiss or pops or other technical glitches that mar the other recordings in this series.
The story itself is great and marks the point at which the series becomes really enjoyable and fun. The very first books in the series where good, but looking back, you can see how awkward those first few stories where, and the living background of the Discworld hadn't yet come into its own. The Discworld and its history go from being randomly thrown together references of other genres, and establishes a consistent history of its own that all the following books fit into.
Pratchett loves detective stories, and that becomes obvious when you listen to this fantastical mashup of Columbo, Hill Street Blues and a little Dirty Harry thrown in. I think the books that focus on the Watch are probably my favorite - at once the most 'modern' feeling, and the most filled with references and hilarity.
I thought this was indeed an excellent Discworld story, but I don't think it was one of Nigel Planer's best narrations. There were a number of mispronounced words that bothered me a bit (synapse, baroque, ululation) that I don't think were merely a difference between British and American English, and there were the audio editing error and quality that other reviewers have mentioned. I DID like that the narration was not as frantic nor accents quite as hard to hear, as in the case with some of his Discworld narrations. I think I prefer the narrations by Stephen Briggs. This was my first listen/read of a story with Captain Vimes as a main character, and I'm eager to visit him again. I DO wish the Discworld audiobooks were not so pricey!
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