by Terry Pratchett
genre: fantasy, young adult
Summary from Goodreads
Here there be dragons . . . and the denizens of Ankh-Morpork wish one huge firebreather would return from whence it came. Long believed extinct, a superb specimen of draco nobilis (“noble dragon” for those who don’t understand italics) has appeared in Discworld’s greatest city. Not only does this unwelcome visitor have a nasty habit of charbroiling everything in its path, in rather short order it is crowned King (it is a noble dragon, after all . . .).
Meanwhile, back at Unseen University, an ancient and long-forgotten volume–The Summoning of Dragons–is missing from the Library’s shelves. To the rescue come Captain Vimes, Constable Carrot, and the rest of the Night Watch who, along with other brave citizens, risk everything, including a good roasting, to dethrone the flying monarch and restore order to Ankh-Morpork (before it’s burned to a crisp). A rare tale, well done as only Terry Pratchett can.
Why I Chose the Book
Monstrous Regiment is one of my all-time favorite books. Sir Terence David John “Terry” Pratchett died in March of this year and though I am incredibly sad he won’t be writing any more, I am so glad he was able to leave a lasting mark in the literary world. As for why I picked Guards! Guards! as my next Terry Pratchett novel… well it was in the top sellers in the fantasy section at $63 on Audible and I have a membership, which means it cost me 1 of my monthly credits (less than $20). What can I say, I’m Scottish.
Dragons! This is going to be awesome. Monarchy! No wonder this is a top seller.
This is not a good book for driving in the city (Audible). It jumps around quickly; here’s what’s going on over here, now over here, now over there. I think it would be a good book for long car rides where all you have is highway and you need to stay awake. Obviously sitting down and reading it is also a great option if you have a schedule that allows for down time.
Unlike Monstrous Regiment, where half the fun is being fooled over and over again, never seeing the final twists, Guards! Guards! is predictable. There were some funny bits where you knew what was going to happen but you didn’t know how. It reminded me of a quote from Pitch perfect regarding why Becks didn’t like movies. “They’re predictable. The guy gets the girl, Darth Vader is Luke’s father.”
As much as I liked it, I’ll always compare the characters to Polly and her band of miscreants and its hard to like anyone that much. That being said, I enjoyed Carrot. He’s a lawful good if ever there was one. Vimes is described as someone negative three drinks in so he has to drink more to catch up. When sober, he’s a “nerd” or something to that effect.
Pratchett also has an incredible mind for description.
…and the food was good solid stuff for a cold morning, all calories and fat and protein and maybe a vitamin crying softly because it was all alone.
I don’t think any Terry Pratchett novel will live up to Monstrous Regiment but Guards! Guards! was very good in it’s own right. I love fiction where you can pull out life lessons, but you never feel like it was shoved down your throat as if some after school special. Usually it’s a one-liner from a character as he or she remarks about the state of a fictional world.
Here are a few gems from this one:
Who thought that weakness could be a greater force than strength?
Here, we’re essentially talking about “beware of stupid people in large groups.” Weakness is easier to control and when in mass, hard for the other side to stop.
Never build a dungeon you wouldn’t want to spend a night in yourself.
Never trust a ruler who puts his faith in tunnels and escape routs. Chances are his heart isn’t in his job.
They accept evil not because they say yes, but because they don’t say no.
This last one took me back to a scene in Matched by Ally Condie. People witness injustice but ignore it because it’s not happening to them. When the same injustice shows up on their doorstep, there’s no one left to stop it.
I have started the first discworld book at least three times and don’t think I’ve ever gotten past the first chapter. Monstrous Regiment is #31 and Guards! Guards! is #8, so there’s no reason to try and read them in order. I recommend this book if you have time to sit down with something light or you have a great stretch of mindless driving to do.
The bluetooth sync to my car display thought I was listening to a One Direction song for 10 hours. I even changed it to radio and back to media, then to Pandora and off of Pandora, but it was picking up the audio book audio just fine.
4 out of 5 stars
Other books reviewed in the Discworld series:
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