Guards! Guards!

September 1st, 2005
This entry is part of 2 in the series Discworld

I came to the Pratchett game late, and I’m getting through it slowly. It’s not that I don’t like it, quite the opposite…Pratchett has become one of my favorite comfort authors in recent years. The problem is that I buy about 90% of my books at second-hand book stores…and none of you bastards are selling back your Pratchett books! It’s like people covet them as precious things to be re-read over and over or something…but I acquire them bit-by-bit. With this one done, I’ve read all of the “Starter Books” from the Discworld Reading Order Guide but Maurice (which doesn’t seem essential at this point), and several others along the various storylines. Guards! Guards! is one of the Pratchett novels I’ve often seen cited as one of the favorites of Pratchett devotees, and I can easily see why. Like Small Gods (the first Discworld novel I read), this book blends classic humor, parody of fantasy genre conventions, and genuinely insightful social commentary with graceful ease. Funny books that also make you think. It introduces a host of characters important to the Discworld Milieu, like Carrot, the hypercompetent and charismatic but forcefully naive young man of mysterious ancestry who was raised by dwarves. And Vimes, the Captain of the Guard with a drinking problem and a genuine love for his squalid city hidden under years of dereliction and neglect. It’s also got conspiracies, magic, police work, lots and lots of dragons, romance, and an Orangutan. A Librarian Orangutan. An Irritable Librarian Orangutan, even. I enjoyed this book a lot, although I think I actually enjoyed Men At Arms more (Yes, I read it out of order, and No, it obviously didn’t impact on my enjoyment of it overly much), and would certainly second the opinion of the many others who recommend this as a good place to start reading Pratchett. I also think this is probably a good book to get a certain subset of folks who don’t typically read fantasy into the genre, specifically those who enjoy detective and police stories. So if any of the above sounds appealing (and if it doesn’t I assure you it’s my poor talents at fault), read this book.

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