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Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Guards! Guards!

***** Guards! Guards! by Terry Pratchett. Fantasy. Re-read.

This was a breakfast read-aloud with the boys. They're already familiar with Pratchett--we read The Last Hero, the Johnny Maxwell series, the Bromeliad, and all the Tiffany Aching books together; Curran's read Small Gods and Reaper Man; Camden's currently reading Good Omens; and we've watched Soul Music and Wyrd Sisters. I decided to start here rather than elsewhere because Curran's already read the first of the Death books; they're already familiar with the Witches; and the Rincewind books start off kind of slow and I wanted to get them hooked before they tackled him.

Guards! Guards! is the first of the Night Watch books, in which we're introduced to Cpt. Vimes, the alcoholic captain of Ankh Morpork's Night Watch, and his men: Sgt. Colon and Corporal Nobbs. We also meet new recruit Carrot Ironfoundersson, the 6 1/2 foot tall dwarf.

After years of being just a token force, thanks to the Patrician, Vetinari, the Night Watch finds themselves trying to protect the city from a dragon. Everyone knows the large dragons are either just a myth or extinct, but one is incinerating parts of the city. So we also meet Lady Sybil Ramkin, who breeds swamp dragons, and who has a romance with Captain Vimes.

And the Librarian from the Unseen University (ook!) consults the Watch because a magical book has been stolen.

I've read Guards! Guards! several times, but the last time was a few years ago, and I'm surprised at how many of the staple characters of the series were introduced here, and how the foundation was set for future series developments.

Like all the Discworld books, Guards! Guards! was just a joy to read, with laugh-aloud moments on every page, no slow or boring parts at all, characters that spring to life, and a deceptive seriousness underlying the whole thing. As an earlier book, it's not quite as complex as the later books, but that's not a bad thing at all.

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I have to read that one again one of these days. I read it so many years ago (and in german) that I can't remember much about it.
But I'm just in the process of collecting all the Discworld books and then read them all in some kind of order. That'll take a while, though. :)
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