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(P) ISIS Publishing Ltd, 1996; Copyright © Terry and Lyn Pratchett, 1993; Cover Illustration © Josh Kirby
This is another great book with the rest of Pratchett's City Watch books. The reader is also quite good (as British readers almost always are). Unfortunately for the book, the recording quality changes dramatically throughout. There are disconcerting pauses and massive sound quality changes between each of the "chapters" of the book. At first, I thought I was bumping my iPod's skip button but it turned out that the recording has problems.
This is still a good book, and worth reading or listening to, but I would look for a different recording before I got this one, and would recommend actually reading it rather than listening to an audiobook, as I would for all Pratchett books (since they're heavily dependent on wordplay for their humor, and it's hard to get that when listening to the text).
Maker/Breaker of all things 'Tech'
I really do like Nigel Planer, he has a decent set of voices, a quick comedic delivery and a qualified narrator. His recording equipment and sound engineer were on holiday for this performance... I'd love to hear it re-recorded with decent equipment
Terry Pratchett delivers another decent and fun-loving book that explains a lot about how characters arrived in the situations they were in for the book "Thud!". (I read/listened out of order.) In this book, the most interesting part was the development and antics of Corporal Carrot. The whodunit aspect was a bit weak in my opinion though as the plot seemed a bit scattered and dry from Pratchett's normal standard. This did not affect my enjoyment but it isn't the best of the series so far.
I'll harp about the audio quality one more time. There are MANY sections of this book where it sounds like the microphone tipped over and fell on the floor, leaving Nigel to read to a muffled sock. Later it would transition roughly to crystal clear again but much quieter than it was when the muffled sound would creep in. This is ongoing throughout the book and most of it is spent trying to understand the words through the muffled and bass-heavy recording. I don't think the sound engineer showed up for work much and the recording gear sounds like it was scrapped from some old AM radio parts.
All of Terry Pratchett's Discworld series are absolutely great read aloud and Men At Arms is no different - Nigel Planner reads the stories very well with good & distinct differences for each individual character involved.
However the recording here is slow, destroying much of the enjoyment of other novels in the series. Hopefully this is an issue Audible.com will rectify soon. Listen to the sample and decide whether the sound quality is endurable to you before buying. If it is, then Men At Arms is a great and worthy novel to continue the adventures of Sam Vimes, Carrot & the rest of the Night Watch introduced in Guards! Guards!
A story which I am sure I will listen to over and over far into the future!
5/5 for the novel & story - 1/5 for the recording.
i love all the discworld novels,especially the ones that feature the nightwatch. but the recording on this one sounds off. nigel planer is my favorite reader but this recording is too slow,like a tape that is dragging(making his voice too deep and slightly slow)...or...this is not nigel planer at all. still enjoyable but it does not sound like nigel....i know it shouldn't matter but you get used to the characterizations...
Terry Pratchet does it again. All of the stories interweave and carry different characters forwards which adds a layer of enjoyment to following the series in order. BUT, because there are SO MANY of them, at this moment I am focusing on the night watch and witches books. I just find them hilarious. They are targeted right at my funny bone (and that's GREAT). I laughed SO HARD with this one. This is the second or third installment in the night watch portions of the story. The dragons one was extremely funny too. I use this series as a sort of palette cleanser between more serious draughts (life/books)... and it works for me. Anyway :)
A trilogy. Say it in three. Done.
The narration is good but the sound quality is garbage. It's old tech with far too much static. Terrible quality. I had to turn the volume way up to hear the voices over the sound of the background static. Occasionally the static would suddenly disappear, and the voices would be clear and crisp (but too loud, at the set volume). I'm frankly disgusted that the publishers are charging $48.00 for it ($26.00 for members). It's not worth even a credit. Good thing I had the book on hand.
The story is good. I love this series. I had already read the book, years ago.
Book 2 in the Discworld "City Watch" sub-series features the invention of a gun / gonne, with satire and parody relating to gun control and the ethical and judicial consequences of weapons possession — or rather, being possessed by a loaded gun. Another plot thread has to do with the rightful king of Ankh-Morprok. There's also a slight thread of romance, rocking Carrot's world.
Returning characters: Sam Vimes, his fiancée Sybil Ramkin, The Patrician (Lord Vetinari), Captain Carrot, Nobby Nobbs, Seargent Fred Colon, etc.
Characters introduced in this book: At Lord Vetinari's decree, several new recruits join the Night Watch, to ensure diversity among the City Watch: Lance-Corporal Angua (sometimes a young policewoman, sometimes a werewolf), a dwarf named Cuddy, and a troll named Detritus. We also meet Leonard of Quirm (brilliant inventor), who shows up in several books. We also meet various characters from the Assassins' Guild (Edward D'aeth) and the Fool's Guild.
There's a great scene when the pompous pills at the Day Watch and the peacocks at the Palace Guard are overwhelmed by rioting trolls and dwarfs. The Night Watch comes to the rescue, and by the end of the book Lord Vetinari awards them with a new dart board (again) and another tea kettle (again). Even bigger bounty comes to Samuel Vimes personally and to the entire Night Watch collectively, but no spoilers here.
Sometimes, the tone gets a bit teachy / preachy, and some puns have me rolling my eyes, but still, jolly good stuff, with satire and parallels to current events.
BLURB FROM BOOK COVER:
"There's evil in the air and murder afoot and something very nasty in the streets. It'd help if it could all be sorted out by noon, because that's when Captain Vimes is officially retiring, handing in his badge and getting married. And since this is Ankh-Morpork, noon promises to be not just high, but stinking."
Worth putting up with the poor audio quality for the story. The narration is adequate but the volume skips up and down a bit. Great story makes it worthwhile in the end.
The sound quality fluctuated wildly, mostly with a diwnward trend. It was often extremely muffled, and varied between one chapter and another. The story and reader were both great, though.
Pros: fantastic story well worth the time and money for the book
Cons: audio quality was lower than normal for an audible book. The book sounded like an old cassette tape recording that has been read almost to the point of the tape breaking
"Men at Arms"
Hilarious story that furthers the whole Night Watch boys story within the whole Discworld saga.
Good fun and games, poignant in parts.
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