Review: Guards! Guards! by Terry Pratchett

“Never build a dungeon you wouldn’t be happy to spend the night in yourself. The world would be a happier place if more people remembered that.”

Welcome back to the Disc! So I’ve not posted much this month outside of reviews of Terry Pratchett books but this is the joy I need in my life right now. This book has so far been my favourite book of the month. I will admit I have been gearing up to this one for some time and I was slightly intimidated since this is up there with Mort for many readers of Discworld. Now I’ve read it, I understand. Bear in mind, my review might not do this justice.

This is where the dragons went. They lie … not dead, not asleep, but … dormant. And although the space they occupy isn’t like normal space, nevertheless they are packed in tightly. They could put you in mind of a can of sardines, if you thought sardines were huge and scaly. And presumably, somewhere, there’s a key…GUARDS! GUARDS! is the eighth Discworld novel – and after this, dragons will never be the same again!

Like I said, I’ve been leading up to this for a while. It was worth the wait. Everything about this captured my heart and made me happier with every word I read of it, Pratchett shines at his brightest here. Its definitely a book you can tell he enjoyed writing and that this is a sharp turn for the series with both characters and plot. There is also clear development at this stage of his writing with this being the longest book so far but definitely one of the most concise too.

Ankh Morpork. Biggest city on the Disc with the biggest stink, with a City Watch to monitor its self regulated crime of the Guilds. The Thieve’s Guild and the Assassins Guild stand out the most, the former providing a receipt upon delivering services of course. The Watch is kind of forgotten except for tolling bells in the night claiming all is well. There was a tiny glimpse of the assassins in Pyramids and even smaller a glimpse here but its exciting to finally be seeing them!

Seeing the city life up this close is everything I love to see in a fantasy series. I always have this question for any SFF world in my head which is, what is the mundane here? What is an every day in this place? Often I never get to find out. But here I did. Pratchett has really achieved a phenomenal level of ordinary is such an extraordinary place and it works to focus our characters far more through a very new lens.

It would be impossible as always to talk about Discworld without having the characters at the heart of the discussion. We meet old characters but mostly this is an entirely new cast. The Watch itself consists of Nobby Nobbs, Fred Colon, new recruit Carrot Ironfoundersson and of course their inebriated leader, Captain Sam Vimes. I could so a post on each of the watch individually and why I would die for each one (maybe except Nobby) but let it be known that I have joined the many fans who caused Pratchett to fear what would happen to him if he had ever killed Sam Vimes.

Thee are dragons here too don’t forget. Dragons. Why would I not love this book? The story itself is woven around the basic idea that someone is summoning dragons, the Watch can see the dragons but noone believes them. It follows a very similar plot to most police procedural shows but it is not the same. Because this is the Discworld and nothing you know is sacred.

Alongside the razor sharp story there is some wonderful character arcs and development, especially present in Vimes and Carrot, that clearly shows that this series might have a great sense of humor to it but it is also capable of delivering on some very deep and emotional moments from characters we have just met. I can’t wait to get to the next Watch story.

Well I have been around the Discworld project a lot more recently! I think besides having no blog tours and being in big time isolation mode, I feel a lot more drawn to this series for sheer immersion. Let it be said Terry Pratchett is one of the authors I will always turn to.

Are you a die hard fan of the Watch? Have you read Guards! Guards!? Do tell me! Happy reading everyone!

★★★★★/5