Cannonball Read IV

A bunch of Pajibans reading and reviewing and honoring AlabamaPink.

Archive for the tag “City Watch”

Quorren’s #CBR4 Review #50 Men at Arms by Terry Pratchett

I really wish I could find more Discworld books with the Dungeons & Dragons, pulp sci fi inspired artwork on them.  As much as people say don’t judge a book by its cover, a book cover can influence how you read it.  The weird artwork on the old school Discworld books really articulates the satire and homage to sci fi/fantasy tropes inherent in all of Pratchett’s Discworld stories.  My copy of Men At Arms has a steam punk-ish looking gun (um, spoiler alert, graphic designer) with wolf heads dancing around the spine.  Anyways, that’s the end of my gripe.

Men At Arms takes place not long after the events in Guards! Guards!.  (I recommend reading that one first; there are some details there that will influence the plot in this book.)  Captain Vimes is on his way out the door to an early retirement; his impending marriage to Lady Sybil will make him a gentleman of leisure.  The City Watch, part of the Patrician’s diversity program, has hired on three new cadets, just as inept as the current Night Watch, so they fit in quite well, although one’s a dwarf, one’s a troll and one’s a woman.  Actually Angua, the woman, was hired to fit the diversity quota of being a supernatural (she’s a werewolf), but the guards don’t realize this until much later.  Carrot still is the best watchman Ahnk-Morpork has ever seen.

An assassin, Edward d’Eath, gets a silly notion that the city would work better if the monarchy could be restored.   This will interlock with the back story for Carrot already revealed in Guards! Guards!.  D’Eath steals an artifact from the assassins guild (I’ll give you a hint, the cover artist really liked it and it’s had to assassinate someone with a wolf head.)  This artifact seems to have a mind of its own, though, and, like all Discworld novels, hijinks ensue.

Much like Lords and Ladies, this Disworld novel is darker than the previous ones.  Pratchett is beginning to use Discworld to reveal the darker sides of human nature (and heroic sides as well).  A somewhat major character even dies, and not in a I-saw-this-coming-all-along kind of way.

Advertisements

Bothari’s #CBR4 Review #33: Snuff by Terry Pratchett

Those of you who’ve read Pratchett don’t need me to tell you that this was a wonderful book. Those of you who haven’t yet discovered Pratchett’s wonderful books, go get started immediately. Don’t start with this one (well, you can, but you’ll miss a little bit of why Commander Vimes is so intense), but Vimes and the City Watch are definitely a good place to dive into Discworld.

Sam Vimes, the commander of the Ankh-Morpork City Watch, is taken somewhat against his will on vacation with his wife and six-year-old son. They go to the countryside, where city-born Vimes is instructed to relax and stop being a policeman for a bit. Vimes, of course, finds this impossible. He quickly finds the few townsfolk who are a little too obviously nervous around him and goes on the hunt for crime.

The crime he finds isn’t exactly considered a crime by the folks in town, which makes it worse in Vimes’ eyes. A goblin girl was murdered in an attempt to frame Vimes (the perpetrators hoped to use her blood to cast suspicion about the disappearance of a local). The problem is, people see goblins as vermin, and the killing of one not a crime. Vimes, however, talks to the local goblins, meets the murdered girl’s husband, and quickly whips himself  into a frenzy at the unfairness of it all.

Pratchett has focused before on the idea of personhood, putting the City Watch up against speciesism in Ankh-Morpork with dwarves, trolls, vampires, and even zombies. The lesson is always the same: if you’re sapient, people aren’t allowed to kill you (unless you’re trying to kill them first, of course). But the way the lesson is taught is always a wonderful ride, filled with great characters old and new, exciting adventures (including a chase scene on a riverboat this time), and Commander Vimes himself, who is one of my favorite Discworld denizens.

Post Navigation