Discworld · Terry Pratchett · Young Adult

Guards! Guards! (Discworld #8; City Watch #1) by Terry Pratchett

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~Review~

My first Terry Pratchett novel was a good one! I thoroughly enjoyed Guards! Guards!, despite the unusual writing style. The plot was hilarious and entertaining, the world-building was perfectly done, the characters were all well-developed and lovable (or not!), and the writing was superb!

Plot 

In Guards! Guards!, the leader of a secret society has plans to overthrown the current Patrician and install a puppet king in his place, one that he, of course, will be controlling. In order to do so, he gathers some follows, and together they attempt to summon and control a dragon that will terrorize Ankh-Morpork. A pre-determined “hero” will then come and save the citizens from this monstrosity, and once saved, the people will unite under him. However, this heinous plan may take a turn for the worst….

Throughout this book, we are introduced to the Night Watch led by Captain Sam Vimes and his crew; the newest member being Carrot. Since the Patrician has legalized all crime through the Thieve’s and Assassin’s Guilds there isn’t much left for the City Watch to do. As a result, it has become a disreputable position. That changes quite a bit once the Watch has to deal with a dragon.

“I believe you find life such a problem because you think there are good people and bad people. You’re wrong, of course. There are, always and only, the bad people, but some of them are on opposite sides.

Honestly, it took me awhile to get into this book; a few chapters at least. This is the first Terry Pratchett novel I have ever read and wasn’t sure if I would like his style. After finishing the book, I look forward to reading all the others in this series! I enjoyed it much more than I thought I would.

The pacing of the book was fantastic! There weren’t any parts in which the story dragged because even in parts that may have been uninteresting in another book, this one did it right by combining humor with fantastic characters. I was always interested in what was going on. The only part that caused trouble was at the beginning when we are just thrown into the story and, having never read Pratchett, I was trying to get used to his writing.

For some reason, I didn’t find this book to particularly predictable. I couldn’t figure out who was behind the dragon summoning and once it was revealed I was dumbfounded. Maybe I should have seen it coming, but I guess I wasn’t paying enough attention. Too distracted with the Night Watch characters I guess.

“Last hopeless chances have got to work. Nothing makes sense otherwise. You might as well not be alive.”

The plot of the book was all-around entertaining, hilarious, and just down right enjoyable.

World-Building 

This is the first book I have read in the series and, in my opinion, the world-building was terrific. I loved having my first experience being inside the city of Ankh-Morpork and learning all about its inner workings. It doesn’t seem like a city I would enjoy living in, that’s for sure. Legalizing crime through two of the guilds doesn’t sound like a good idea for one thing.

Characters 

The story focuses on several characters though I would say the primary ones are Captain Vimes and his newest recruit, Carrot. Vimes is such a great character and I enjoyed watching him develop throughout the book. When we are introduced to him, he is drunk and sitting in a gutter, but as the story moves on we learn more about Vimes. He is kind, caring, and actually loves his job, but he lives in a  world with so much injustice that he doesn’t feel motivated to do anything; it just wouldn’t help. That all changes when the arrival of an over six-foot tall man who was raised by dwarves: Carrot. He is extremely passionate about his new position and takes things just a bit too literally. He becomes the savior of the City Watch and makes it much more prestigious of a position. Carrot is also a great character with a perfectly distinct and fascinating personality. He was hilarious.

The other two members of the Watch are Nobbs and Colon. They both have great personalities though I enjoyed Nobbs much more than Colon, and I look forward to seeing how much they develop throughout the series.

“The reason that clichés become clichés is that they are the hammers and screwdrivers in the toolbox of communication.”

Unfortunately, the only female character is Sybil Ramkin; however, she is a great character. She has a fantastic personality and just happens to be an expert on dragons.

The Patrician makes several appearances as well and I loved learning all about him and his city. He may not be as bad of a ruler as I thought he was and when it comes to building dungeons, he is a genius.

I actually wasn’t disappointed in any of the characters and look forward to their development in future novels, besides the fact that there are not many female characters.

Writing 

Though it took a bit to get used to, I enjoyed Pratchett’s writing. It is perfectly witty and easy to follow and the dialogue is hilariously believable. I even love how he portrays the members of the watch and how uneducated some of them are. Any time the Watch has to read or write Pratchett makes is apparent that they are not very learned.

Cover

I love this particular cover because it is very clean, well-organized, and easily portrays the style of the novel. The only thing it doesn’t do is provide a book number. It would really help if it mentioned both an overall series number as well as the sub-series number. It also doesn’t portray the dragon, which would have been a better idea than the sacrificial stone.

~Review Spotlight~

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6 thoughts on “Guards! Guards! (Discworld #8; City Watch #1) by Terry Pratchett

  1. Ahhhh Terry Pratchett is so amazing! I’ve recently started this series too, I’ve read 7 books by now. The Death subseries is my favorite so far because Death is just amazing ❤ I look forward to more of your reviews (as I'll be reviewing them myself too haha)!!

  2. Pratchett is one of my favourite authors, and this was also my first book of his (I’ve now read them all, of course).

    It hooked me from the beginning with the “Pass Phrase and Response” bit as the guy walked from door to door, finding the wrong one each time.

    And it just steamrolled from there.

      1. That and the Death series are the best. They’re almost equal for me. The Death ones are hilarious (my wife has two tattoos based on that series).

        Reaper Man is probably my all-time favourite Pratchett book.

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