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Men at Arms

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'What's so hard about pulling a sword out of a stone? The real work's already been done. You ought to make yourself useful and find the man who put the sword in the stone in the first place.' The City Watch needs MEN! But what it's got includes Corporal Carrot (technically a dwarf), Lance-constable Cuddy (really a dwarf), Lance-constable Detritus (a troll), Lance-constable 'What's so hard about pulling a sword out of a stone? The real work's already been done. You ought to make yourself useful and find the man who put the sword in the stone in the first place.' The City Watch needs MEN! But what it's got includes Corporal Carrot (technically a dwarf), Lance-constable Cuddy (really a dwarf), Lance-constable Detritus (a troll), Lance-constable Angua (a woman... most of the time) and Corporal Nobbs (disqualified from the human race for shoving). And they need all the help they can get, because someone in Ankh-Morpork has been getting dangerous ideas - about crowns and legendary swords, and destiny. And the problem with destiny is, of course, that she is not always careful where she points her finger. One minute you might be minding your own business on a normal if not spectacular career path, the next you might be in the frame for the big job, like saving the world...


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'What's so hard about pulling a sword out of a stone? The real work's already been done. You ought to make yourself useful and find the man who put the sword in the stone in the first place.' The City Watch needs MEN! But what it's got includes Corporal Carrot (technically a dwarf), Lance-constable Cuddy (really a dwarf), Lance-constable Detritus (a troll), Lance-constable 'What's so hard about pulling a sword out of a stone? The real work's already been done. You ought to make yourself useful and find the man who put the sword in the stone in the first place.' The City Watch needs MEN! But what it's got includes Corporal Carrot (technically a dwarf), Lance-constable Cuddy (really a dwarf), Lance-constable Detritus (a troll), Lance-constable Angua (a woman... most of the time) and Corporal Nobbs (disqualified from the human race for shoving). And they need all the help they can get, because someone in Ankh-Morpork has been getting dangerous ideas - about crowns and legendary swords, and destiny. And the problem with destiny is, of course, that she is not always careful where she points her finger. One minute you might be minding your own business on a normal if not spectacular career path, the next you might be in the frame for the big job, like saving the world...

30 review for Men at Arms

  1. 5 out of 5

    Patrick

    “The reason that the rich were so rich, Vimes reasoned, was because they managed to spend less money. Take boots, for example. He earned thirty-eight dollars a month plus allowances. A really good pair of leather boots cost fifty dollars. But an affordable pair of boots, which were sort of OK for a season or two and then leaked like hell when the cardboard gave out, cost about ten dollars. Those were the kind of boots Vimes always bought, and wore until the soles were so thin that he could tell w “The reason that the rich were so rich, Vimes reasoned, was because they managed to spend less money. Take boots, for example. He earned thirty-eight dollars a month plus allowances. A really good pair of leather boots cost fifty dollars. But an affordable pair of boots, which were sort of OK for a season or two and then leaked like hell when the cardboard gave out, cost about ten dollars. Those were the kind of boots Vimes always bought, and wore until the soles were so thin that he could tell where he was in Ankh-Morpork on a foggy night by the feel of the cobbles. But the thing was that good boots lasted for years and years. A man who could afford fifty dollars had a pair of boots that'd still be keeping his feet dry in ten years' time, while the poor man who could only afford cheap boots would have spent a hundred dollars on boots in the same time and would still have wet feet. This was the Captain Samuel Vimes 'Boots' theory of socioeconomic unfairness.” Things like this aren't the only reason I love Terry Pratchett, but they're one of the main reasons.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Patrick

    This is the second book in the City Watch storyline in the Discworld novels. And I have to say, it's probably twice as good as Guards Guards. All the characters are more fully realized and more compelling. What's more, it's obvious to me reading now that Pratchett has multi-book plans for the central characters: Carrot, Vimes, and Angua. Detrius also has a pretty strong secondary arc in this one, and we see the begining of some of Pratchett's Troll Vs. Dwarf discussions that come to beautiful fru This is the second book in the City Watch storyline in the Discworld novels. And I have to say, it's probably twice as good as Guards Guards. All the characters are more fully realized and more compelling. What's more, it's obvious to me reading now that Pratchett has multi-book plans for the central characters: Carrot, Vimes, and Angua. Detrius also has a pretty strong secondary arc in this one, and we see the begining of some of Pratchett's Troll Vs. Dwarf discussions that come to beautiful fruition in Thud. Carrot still a focal character here, and he's interesting, charming, all that. But Vimes is consistently stealing the show. He's the Batman to Carrot's Superman. Given that comparison, it's not surprising that Vimes keeps our attention more. Perfect characters just aren't compelling in the same way. Part of me wishes that Angua's character and plot was bigger. But that's just fiddling and griping. Not every book can have everything. And this book has so much more than most. Excellent read, absolutely worth your time.

  3. 3 out of 5

    Brandon Sanderson

    (This review is from 2006.) All right, the short of it is I really liked the book. The long of it is, I’m very annoyed at Terry. Those of you who have been following things here know that I just sold the Alcatraz books to Scholastic. They’re essentially humorous fantasy—evil librarians running the world and all that. I wrote them because I was a little frustrated at the market. I could find funny books (Snicket) and I could find books with good worldbuilding (Pullman) and I could find books with c (This review is from 2006.) All right, the short of it is I really liked the book. The long of it is, I’m very annoyed at Terry. Those of you who have been following things here know that I just sold the Alcatraz books to Scholastic. They’re essentially humorous fantasy—evil librarians running the world and all that. I wrote them because I was a little frustrated at the market. I could find funny books (Snicket) and I could find books with good worldbuilding (Pullman) and I could find books with clever pacing and plotting (Rowling). What I couldn’t find was a series that had both amusing text AND engaging characters. They all seemed to sacrifice one for the other—which is fine. After all, Douglas Adams didn’t give much of a hoot for compelling characters, and look where he went. Still, I wanted something with both. And, as it turns out, I happen to write books for a living. Hence, the ALCATRAZ books were born. Turns out that Terry has been doing this for years. At least, he has been if Men at Arms is a good example. (Note—I realized all of my examples above were YA, and this is adult, but if you can’t make a forced metaphor once in a while, then what’s the good of having a literary license in the first place?) Anyway, I thoroughly enjoyed the book—perhaps as much as everyone told me that I would. Now, my Pratchett experience is limited. I tried The Color of Magic when I was younger (I’ve since learned that it is a poor representation of the series) and have read Good Omens (which was brilliant, and which ultimately led me to give Discworld another go.) I guess the reason I liked Men at Arms was that balance. It was funny—and not in a cheap way either. It was funny in a clever, scholarly, satire sort of way, with an occasional bad pun or lowbrow shot to keep you on your toes. But, somehow, Pratchett still managed to make me care a great deal about his characters. (Thereby stealing my great, wonderfully original idea for the ALCATRAZ books—that of giving people character arcs.) How well Terry did this is still a little dumbfounding to me. All of his characters seemed pretty single-sided at the beginning. And, they didn’t really get that much deeper as the story progressed. Yet, they became irresistible. Good tension in books is based, in my opinion, on making the reader care about the characters. Any book will feel fast paced if the characters are in danger. And, Terry is obviously a very good craftsman, with excellent pacing beyond his character drama. So, anyway, it’s a fine book. If you, like me, have been living in a hole and ignoring Pratchett, then this is a good one with which to start.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Lyn

    Was Terry Pratchett the English Kurt Vonnegut? Here is another example of playful satire that thinly hides a stinging social and cultural admonishment. In his 1993 Discworld novel Men at Arms (the 15th Discworld adventure and the second to feature Sam Vimes and his City Watch crew) Sir Terry tackles such heavy subjects as racism, sexism, political correctness, class distinctions and the inhumanity of marshal technology but in a decidedly not-too-heavy format; impishly mocking what needs mocking a Was Terry Pratchett the English Kurt Vonnegut? Here is another example of playful satire that thinly hides a stinging social and cultural admonishment. In his 1993 Discworld novel Men at Arms (the 15th Discworld adventure and the second to feature Sam Vimes and his City Watch crew) Sir Terry tackles such heavy subjects as racism, sexism, political correctness, class distinctions and the inhumanity of marshal technology but in a decidedly not-too-heavy format; impishly mocking what needs mocking and throwing down not the gauntlet but instead the soft mitten. Discworld fans will love to see the return of the City Watch along with a deterministically diverse set of new recruits, demonstrating Ankh-Morpork’s commitment to employment equality. In Ankh-Morpork, a multi-cultural, pluralistic, metropolitan city if ever there was one, humans live together with trolls, dwarfs and any number of other kinds of folk and Pratchett waxes poetic about the strengths of diversity but at the barstool rather than the pulpit. We also get to know The Patrician better and really a winning element of this book is Pratchett’s mature and qualitative characterization. We knew these players before, but in these pages, Pratchett provides more illuminating introductions – like getting to know acquaintances and becoming better friends. Discworld seems to be to Pratchett what Mars was to Bradbury: his vehicle for metaphor and allegory, the canvas for his brush, the macaroni to his cheese. In Men at Arms, like so many of these enjoyable Discworld escapades, what goes on atop Great A’Tuin is in periphery of what goes on in our minds, an idyllic statement about how things should be, or at least as they would be if more fun.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Bradley

    Discworld Re-Read project #15. :) I remembered that there was one particular Watch novel that lunged the entire Watch novels out of the stratosphere in terms of how much I grew to LOVE them. I had forgotten that THIS was that novel. Vimes was great, but who really stole the show was Carrot. I'll love Vimes a lot more in the future, but for now, Carrot is KING. Or not. That's a matter of perception and some small debate, all of which Carrot himself will probably have the right precedent and moral ou Discworld Re-Read project #15. :) I remembered that there was one particular Watch novel that lunged the entire Watch novels out of the stratosphere in terms of how much I grew to LOVE them. I had forgotten that THIS was that novel. Vimes was great, but who really stole the show was Carrot. I'll love Vimes a lot more in the future, but for now, Carrot is KING. Or not. That's a matter of perception and some small debate, all of which Carrot himself will probably have the right precedent and moral outlook and word to set right. Other than that, this novel deals with racial prejudice in a big way. Trolls and Dwarves are at each other's throats. And then the Assassin's guild is deep in the muck thanks to a little theft and ideology. And then there's Gaspode. I don't think there's any part of the novel I disliked. At all. Wolves and dogs and romance and bringing back the old monarchy kinda reverberated with a previous novel, of course, but I didn't mind. This was a different kind of beast. This time there was rioting in the streets rather than dragons. :) Too cool. :)

  6. 4 out of 5

    Phrynne

    This was a reread - the last time I read it was so long ago I don't remember:) Such a good book! This man only wrote good books and he is much missed. Men at Arms has to be a hit with me because it contains so many of my favourite characters. There is Corporal Carrot who was adopted as a child by dwarves but is probably the disinherited King of Ankh-Morpork. He has so much charisma he changes the world just by being in it. Captain Vimes is there too, about to get married and leave the Force and This was a reread - the last time I read it was so long ago I don't remember:) Such a good book! This man only wrote good books and he is much missed. Men at Arms has to be a hit with me because it contains so many of my favourite characters. There is Corporal Carrot who was adopted as a child by dwarves but is probably the disinherited King of Ankh-Morpork. He has so much charisma he changes the world just by being in it. Captain Vimes is there too, about to get married and leave the Force and not happy about it. Veterinari plays a delightful role and even manages to make a mistake and get shot which is a first. And then of course there is Death, one of Pratchett's greatest ever characters. You have to read the books to appreciate why. To enjoy these books you have to like the type of humour. I love it and could easily read the whole series again. In fact I probably will!!!

  7. 4 out of 5

    Trish

    Holy ... this was ... blimey! I'm used to an awesome level of brilliance by Sir Terry but this novel might have outdone everything I've read about the Discworld so far! We're back in Ankh-Morpork in this installment, in time for Sam Vimes' wedding to Lady Sibyl (she who breeds dragons). This also means that his retirement is at hand. For a career copper, you can imagine what that prospect means. Moreover, the Night Watch has increased its ranks slightly thanks to the Patrician's inclusion initiativ Holy ... this was ... blimey! I'm used to an awesome level of brilliance by Sir Terry but this novel might have outdone everything I've read about the Discworld so far! We're back in Ankh-Morpork in this installment, in time for Sam Vimes' wedding to Lady Sibyl (she who breeds dragons). This also means that his retirement is at hand. For a career copper, you can imagine what that prospect means. Moreover, the Night Watch has increased its ranks slightly thanks to the Patrician's inclusion initiative so we have Detritus the troll, Cuddy the dwarf and Angua who is a human female (most of the time) reinforcing Sgts. Colon, Nobby and Carrot. When there is a string of murders, the Patrician explicitly forbids Vimes from investigating, starting some awesome police work, wonderful etymological history lessons and character studies as dark as a moonless night (please don't argue that moonless nights aren't all that dark thanks to the stars, Captain Vimes already had that discussion). Oh, and the city needs to be prevented from tearing itself apart because you know what they say about ... Seriously, I was NOT prepared for (view spoiler)[Cuddy actually dying (hide spoiler)] and was VERY emotional about it! Both new pairs (Carrot and Angua as well as Detritus and Cuddy) were a banter-filled delight. I actually liked the troll-dwarf combo more than even my beloved Gaspode who also features prominently here. If I had to name a favourite character, I honestly couldn't. Honest and generous Vimes, good-hearted Carrot, adorably smart Gaspode, Detritus, Cuddy, ... even Colon and Nobby or a certain psychotic poodle. Most of all, many of these shine when they are thrown in together (such as the Patrician with Carrot) and I love them all dearly. Just like the city itself with all its guilds and rules. The humour is dark, the action breathtaking, the characters lively. I laughed and cried almost through the entire book and was once again astonished how on-point the author was about current events and human nature (especially considering the novel's age). Once again, the tragedy as well as the humour came in big and small moments (one small one being when DEATH tried to make a certain person's death "more enjoyable" *lol*). Moreover, this definitely served as the gateway to making The Watch into what it is and opening up greater possibilities, giving us readers the promise of many more slap-stick adventures.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Melki

    Vimes smiled. Someone was trying to kill him, and that made him feel more alive than he had done in days. And they were also slightly less intelligent than he was. This is a quality you should always pray for in your would-be murderer. Murders are rare in Ankh-Morpork. Suicides and assassinations...well, they're a dime a dozen, but genuine murders are pretty darned rare. But DEATH has been busier than usual lately, and it's up to Carrot and Vimes of the Night Watch to figure out what the heck is g Vimes smiled. Someone was trying to kill him, and that made him feel more alive than he had done in days. And they were also slightly less intelligent than he was. This is a quality you should always pray for in your would-be murderer. Murders are rare in Ankh-Morpork. Suicides and assassinations...well, they're a dime a dozen, but genuine murders are pretty darned rare. But DEATH has been busier than usual lately, and it's up to Carrot and Vimes of the Night Watch to figure out what the heck is going on. This is a most excellent entry in the Discworld series. In addition to the thrilling mystery, we get to: * Meet an adorable gargoyle. * Dine at a dwarf deli, where it seems impossible to order anything that doesn't come with Spam rat. * Attend the funniest clown funeral since Chuckles bit the dust on The Mary Tyler Moore Show. There's all this...PLUS, the Librarian gets to attend yet another wedding! Oook! Oook! Did I enjoy this book? Does a dragon explode in the woods?

  9. 4 out of 5

    ᴥ Irena ᴥ

    I'll keep this short. If I had to describe what I think about this story in one sentence it would be as if I need more reasons to love the Watch. There are so many highlighted parts that I gave up after a while. I didn't read the blurb before, and now I see it has a spoiler in it. At least, I enjoyed finding out that particular thing in the book itself. I loved it. I rarely listen to audiobooks, but Men at Arms has an excellent narrator (Nigel Planer, but I checked the other one too and he too is p I'll keep this short. If I had to describe what I think about this story in one sentence it would be as if I need more reasons to love the Watch. There are so many highlighted parts that I gave up after a while. I didn't read the blurb before, and now I see it has a spoiler in it. At least, I enjoyed finding out that particular thing in the book itself. I loved it. I rarely listen to audiobooks, but Men at Arms has an excellent narrator (Nigel Planer, but I checked the other one too and he too is pretty good). Everyone has a distinct voice - from trolls to werewolves. As if I needed another reason to love the Watch.

  10. 3 out of 5

    Steven Harbin

    I'm probably biased, but I'm come to love everything I've read so far by Terry Pratchett, so perhaps my 5 stars should be taken with the proverbial "grain of salt". Still, I enjoyed this one immensely. The Discworld books sometimes have series within the overall series that follow a group of characters. This book is the 2nd in what I call the "Guards" series, following the Night Watch of Ankh-Morpork which is led by Sam Vimes. After the events of Guards! Guards! the Watch is being expanded, both I'm probably biased, but I'm come to love everything I've read so far by Terry Pratchett, so perhaps my 5 stars should be taken with the proverbial "grain of salt". Still, I enjoyed this one immensely. The Discworld books sometimes have series within the overall series that follow a group of characters. This book is the 2nd in what I call the "Guards" series, following the Night Watch of Ankh-Morpork which is led by Sam Vimes. After the events of Guards! Guards! the Watch is being expanded, both in number and in ethnicity. Affirmative action of a sort has come to the Watch, and the new hires include trolls, dwarves, and werewolves, among others. Sam Vimes is planning on retiring from the Watch after his upcoming wedding, and a series of mysterious murders is occuring with an apparently new type of weapon, which fires metal pellets through the air. I recommend reading the book Guards, Guards first if you can, but like most all of the Disworld series that I've read, this one can stand alone or even be your first foray into the Discworld if this is the only book available at the moment. I definitely urge anyone who enjoys fantasy, adventure, humor, satire and a touch of hard boiled mystery to check this one out asap.

  11. 3 out of 5

    Gauri

    The characters in this novel were superb, the plot and its ending was wholesome but not idealistic, and the narration was hilarious. I'm not sentimental about the series yet, but I bet I'll get there eventually. Man, Pratchett is something else. I can't think of an author I've read last that was able to comment on society, provide fleshed-out characters and a good plot, and present it all neatly with great humor. Maybe I just haven't been reading enough?

  12. 4 out of 5

    Lady Clementina ffinch-ffarowmore

    #17 of the Discworld Books and the second of the Citywatch ones. As usual, plenty is happening in Ankh-Morpork in this one. The Night Watch has new recruits, a troll, a dwarf (even though Carrot is one too :)), and a very pretty young woman, Constable Angua (who happens to have another special qualification), all part of an affirmative action plan, initiated by the Patrician. Carrot is now Corporal, in-charge, of them all. On the other side, Captain Vimes is preparing for his wedding to Lady Syb #17 of the Discworld Books and the second of the Citywatch ones. As usual, plenty is happening in Ankh-Morpork in this one. The Night Watch has new recruits, a troll, a dwarf (even though Carrot is one too :)), and a very pretty young woman, Constable Angua (who happens to have another special qualification), all part of an affirmative action plan, initiated by the Patrician. Carrot is now Corporal, in-charge, of them all. On the other side, Captain Vimes is preparing for his wedding to Lady Sybil Ramkin, protector of dragons, who we met in Guards Guards. And on yet another side, impoverished nobleman, and member of the assassin’s guild Edward D’Eath is disgruntled, in fact positively displeased with the Patrician’s rule, and wishes for the days of monarchy to be restored in Ankh-Morpork. Then strange events begin to happen, there is an explosion, bodies are found, on different days and different places, from the Clown’s guild, the beggar’s guild—with the assassin’s guild not claiming official responsibility for it, and there is also a mysterious theft with no clue as to what was stolen. Vimes wants to get to the bottom of it, as does Carrot, but the Patrician seems to want them not to investigate, or does he? This was a very entertaining, action-packed, and really enjoyable instalment for me. From the Discworld books I’ve read so far (not so many as yet), Guards Guards was among my favourites, and this one I enjoyed even more so. I loved the humour and writing as always [In the allusions department, this time, I don’t think I fared very well, not really picking any up (p.s: Just remembered an Oscar Wilde one).]. The plot had an unexpected twist or two and there was a proper mystery/whodunit element, which of course, I loved. Carrot was pretty surprising in this one, and definitely proved more than once that simple and trusting certainly does not mean stupid—in fact it could give one insights that, well, ‘intelligent’ people may not pick up on. As far as Vimes went, I felt the Patrician’s plan ended up backfiring a little. One aspect that stood out to me in this one was the social side of things—the issues of diversity, representation, people refusing to simply understand other people, very much reflecting the world we inhabit today. And in its fun way, it was able to deliver the message that if we really get to know each other, we might begin to understand and like each other, even, instead of simply being intent on destruction (a small soppy element in the story though I could have done without). I also thought his dogs/wolves ideas pretty interesting, and on the lighter side, liked the doggie character Gaspode. This took me a little while to get into (my fault I think, reading when much too tired) but once I did I thoroughly enjoyed myself. Can’t wait to get started on the next one. Four and a half stars.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Richard

    8.5/10 I'm going to say that to date this is the best Discworld novel I've read. The characters are well rounded with a blend of people from the last novel developing further and new additions adding to humour and conflict in equal measure. The plot is well written with plenty of twists and turns and not until near the end did things tie up nicely making it a well driven read. The layers to this novel were quite something, on the surface this is a murder plot but underneath it is littered with po 8.5/10 I'm going to say that to date this is the best Discworld novel I've read. The characters are well rounded with a blend of people from the last novel developing further and new additions adding to humour and conflict in equal measure. The plot is well written with plenty of twists and turns and not until near the end did things tie up nicely making it a well driven read. The layers to this novel were quite something, on the surface this is a murder plot but underneath it is littered with politics, racism, the influence a gun/gonne has over a person when in their possession, and the techniques of profiling suspects by the Police/Watch. All in a 350ish page comedy/fantasy!!! Saying all that, this is by no means a heavy novel. It's a Discworld novel so it flows really well and the style of writing is whimsical often littered with jokes and humorous interactions. It's truly a satirical novel, Pratchett is often at his best (or so it seems) when he is critiquing our world through the stupidity of the Discworld folk. If the sub-series of The Watch novels keeps on with this trend then I think I can firmly say that I will be hooked on the whole Discworld series and look to read them all. Vimes and co are becoming a fine unit and well worth reading about, I look forward to their next adventure. If you like this try: "Going Postal" by Terry Pratchett

  14. 4 out of 5

    Melindam

    “The Librarian considered matters for a while. So…a dwarf and a troll. He preferred both species to humans. For one thing, neither of them were great readers. The Librarian was, of course, very much in favor of reading in general, but readers in particular got on his nerves. There was something, well, sacrilegious about the way they kept taking books off the shelves and wearing out the words by reading them. He liked people who loved and respected books, and the best way to do that, in the Libra “The Librarian considered matters for a while. So…a dwarf and a troll. He preferred both species to humans. For one thing, neither of them were great readers. The Librarian was, of course, very much in favor of reading in general, but readers in particular got on his nerves. There was something, well, sacrilegious about the way they kept taking books off the shelves and wearing out the words by reading them. He liked people who loved and respected books, and the best way to do that, in the Librarian’s opinion, was to leave them on the shelves where Nature intended them to be.”

  15. 3 out of 5

    Kaethe

    2013 July 4 Pratchett can write a novel about integration and politics and gun control that keeps one amused and engrossed and thoroughly engaged the whole time. I enjoyed it so much that as soon as I was finished I purchased the next Discworld book I hadn't yet read, Interesting Times, to start immediately. And as many Pratchett books as I have read and loved at this point, I still find it hard to say why they're so great. There is always plot, often more than enough for several books. In this ca 2013 July 4 Pratchett can write a novel about integration and politics and gun control that keeps one amused and engrossed and thoroughly engaged the whole time. I enjoyed it so much that as soon as I was finished I purchased the next Discworld book I hadn't yet read, Interesting Times, to start immediately. And as many Pratchett books as I have read and loved at this point, I still find it hard to say why they're so great. There is always plot, often more than enough for several books. In this case there is a murder to solve and also the struggle of one man who's always been a cop and poorish to find a place for himself when he marries the wealthiest woman in town. And although are both compelling stories, I don't suggest you read his books to find out what happens. Without being at all precious or lyrical, the important thing about a Pratchett book is that you are being told a story. In the way that some actors could bring drama to the a reading of the phone book, Pratchett brings humor and insight to everything he writes, probably including his grocery lists. It's the literary equivalent of screwball comedy with everyone running about and delivering lots of dialogue very quickly and the leading characters are all quite clever. I bought it.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Ken

    The second City Watch story in the Discworld series sees an influx of new recruits to the Night Watch, which includes Cuddy (a dwarf), Detritus (a troll) Trolls and Angua (a women) as part of a diversity drive. The problem is on Discworld is that trolls and dwarfs don’t tend to get along... Pratchett’s clever multilayered story tackles racism in Ankh-Morpork, whilst giving the reader a murder mystery as a spate of dead bodies start appearing across the city. The interaction between all the characte The second City Watch story in the Discworld series sees an influx of new recruits to the Night Watch, which includes Cuddy (a dwarf), Detritus (a troll) Trolls and Angua (a women) as part of a diversity drive. The problem is on Discworld is that trolls and dwarfs don’t tend to get along... Pratchett’s clever multilayered story tackles racism in Ankh-Morpork, whilst giving the reader a murder mystery as a spate of dead bodies start appearing across the city. The interaction between all the characters drive the story along and theirs plenty of surprises along the way!

  17. 3 out of 5

    YouKneeK

    Men at Arms is the second book in the City Watch subseries of Discworld. I liked this one better than the first book, Guards! Guards!. The story held my interest much better, and I enjoyed the characters more. Of course, it had a lot of the same characters as the first book, but I thought this one focused on more interesting characters. I like Carrot quite a bit, and we see a lot of him in this book. There are also two new members of the watch, Cuddy the Dwarf and Detritus (don’t salute!) the Tr Men at Arms is the second book in the City Watch subseries of Discworld. I liked this one better than the first book, Guards! Guards!. The story held my interest much better, and I enjoyed the characters more. Of course, it had a lot of the same characters as the first book, but I thought this one focused on more interesting characters. I like Carrot quite a bit, and we see a lot of him in this book. There are also two new members of the watch, Cuddy the Dwarf and Detritus (don’t salute!) the Troll, and I really enjoyed both of them. We saw less of Captain Vimes in this book, and that may actually be one of the reasons I enjoyed it more. So far he’s been a pretty morose character, quick to sink into despair and self-pity. He’s often off sulking (or in an alcoholic stupor) while everybody else is doing all the real work. He cares, I’ll give him that, but I prefer reading about characters like Carrot who care more effectively and less self-destructively. Carrot is a bit too perfect, actually, but I don’t mind because he’s fun to read about. Most of the Discworld characters are pretty over-the-top anyway, in one way or another, so he fits right in. I’m giving this 3.5 stars on BookLikes and rounding it up to 4 stars on Goodreads because I enjoyed it enough that I thought it deserved more than 3 stars.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Kayıp Rıhtım

    Dar sokaklarda ve tekinsiz mahallelerdeki bitmek bilmeyen kovalamacalar, hakiki kimliğini bir türlü ele vermeyen cani katiller, görevinden uzaklaştırılmaya bir adım kalmış şekilde yaşayan asi polis memurları, çaylak ama yürekli ve hevesli gece bekçileri… Tüm bunlar, polisiye edebiyatın ve sinemanın olmazsa olmaz unsurları. Ve elbette, senelerdir defalarca kullanıldıkları da için, aynı zamanda klişeleri. “Diskdünya”nın temel işlevlerinden birinin de klişelerle oynamak olduğunu düşünürsek… eh, Asa Dar sokaklarda ve tekinsiz mahallelerdeki bitmek bilmeyen kovalamacalar, hakiki kimliğini bir türlü ele vermeyen cani katiller, görevinden uzaklaştırılmaya bir adım kalmış şekilde yaşayan asi polis memurları, çaylak ama yürekli ve hevesli gece bekçileri… Tüm bunlar, polisiye edebiyatın ve sinemanın olmazsa olmaz unsurları. Ve elbette, senelerdir defalarca kullanıldıkları da için, aynı zamanda klişeleri. “Diskdünya”nın temel işlevlerinden birinin de klişelerle oynamak olduğunu düşünürsek… eh, Asayiş Berkemal’i biraz olsun özetleyebiliriz. Asayiş Berkemal, Diskdünya’nın on beşinci, “Bekçiler” alt serisinin ise ikinci kitabı. Heyecanlı bir ejderha kovalamacası olan Muhafızlar! Muhafızlar!’dan tanıdığımız isimler var içinde elbette: Yüzbaşı Sam Vimes, Çavuş Colon, Onbaşı Havuç, Onbaşı Nobbs… Şimdi aralarına zoraki de olsa yeni üyeler katılıyor ve ekibin de, ekibin yarattığı keşmekeş ve çözümlerin de çapı büyüyor. Fakat işleri bu kez daha zor; çünkü ilk kez karşılaştıkları, oldukça ölümcül ve maalesef fazlasıyla pratik bir silahla yüz yüzeler: Tüfenk ile. Ve Diskdünya’nın belki de ilk seri katili, hem de elinde tüfenkle, sokaklarda fink atıyor. Basitçe böyle bir konusu var Asayiş Berkemal’in. Diğer Diskdünya romanlarına oranla daha karanlık ve depresif olan kitap, aynı zamanda bir Diskdünya romanının sahip olabileceği en büyük ciddiyete de sahip. Ama ebette bunlar onun aslen bir mizah ve parodi romanı olduğunu unutturacak değil. Asayiş Berkemal kendi tarzında, karanlık bir kara-parodi aslında. Yani, örneğin bir ast-üst atışması sahnesinde okurun aklına kaçınılmaz olarak daha önce izlenen ya da okunan onca atışma sahnesi geliyor ve kişi tam onlara içten içe nostaljik bir saygı duruşu sunmaya hazırlanırken, bir sonraki satır tüm o sahnelerin aslında ne kadar mantıksız olduğunu anlatabiliyor. Ya da, hemen tüm filmlerde karşılaşılan klişe bir sahne felsefi bir tabana oturtulabiliyor. - Ümit Mutlu İncelemenin tamamı için:/ https://kayiprihtim.com/inceleme/asay...

  19. 5 out of 5

    Pavle

    Kad Pračet dobije četvorku, to ne znači ništa drugo do da sam ja baksuz. I da me nervira Kerot. Elem, Pračet je mudar, hrabar i ludo vozi, svesve. I ovaj deo je, pored nepresušnog izvora dovitljivosti (stvarno, kako? kako toliko??), karakteristično pračetovski inteligentna i promišljena meditacija na temu rasizma, nasilja, vlasti i ljudskosti. Jednom rečju (u svetu u kom je fraza reč), roman je nepopravljivo human. Ali premalo Vajmsa. Previše Kerota. A ja baksuz. 4++

  20. 4 out of 5

    David Sarkies

    The Nightwatch Returns 13 February 2014 Terry Pratchett is now taking aim at the detective fiction in his gonne sights in one of the most amusing Discworld books that I have read to date (though that is a bit of an exaggeration, but this book does sit up there with the best of the series). We now return to the antics of the nightwatch and discover that there have been some promotions (though poor Noddy is not among the ones who have been promoted). The Patrician has also decided to embrace the id The Nightwatch Returns 13 February 2014 Terry Pratchett is now taking aim at the detective fiction in his gonne sights in one of the most amusing Discworld books that I have read to date (though that is a bit of an exaggeration, but this book does sit up there with the best of the series). We now return to the antics of the nightwatch and discover that there have been some promotions (though poor Noddy is not among the ones who have been promoted). The Patrician has also decided to embrace the idea of affirmative action, so he encourages the watch to bring in some new recruits, including Detritus the Troll (who is famous for being the bouncer at the Broken Drum), Cuddy the dwarf, and Angua, though we are not sure if it is because she is a woman (view spoiler)[or a werewolf (hide spoiler)] . Alongside the antics of Detritus, Cuddy, and Angua, there is also a pretty impressive mystery (which involves a gun, or more precisely, a gonne) which has gone missing from the Assassins Guild, but let us first deal with Detritus and Cuddy. One thing that we learn about the Discworld in this book is that trolls and dwarves basically hate each other and wonder around in gangs beating each other up. However Detritus and Cuddy are forced to put aside their differences and work together (which they end up doing quite successfully because they are no longer a dwarf and a troll but members of the watch). As for the mystery, we are first introduced to a rather intriguing assassin known as Edward d'Earth (I actually know of a person with such a last name), who was at one stage a member of a noble family but has fallen on hard times since the king was removed and the Patrician put in his place. However, due to some research, he uncovers the true heir to the throne and seeks to replace the Patrician with a new king, but this peters out pretty quickly because d'Eath ends up going missing pretty close to the beginning of the book. However Vimes comes to learn of some mysterious deaths which he decides to investigate (and we have his superior stepping in, as can be expected in your typical crime novel, and telling him to stop investigating, and then disbanding the watch because Vimes refuses to do so). It is interesting Pratchett's take on the gonne because he paints it in the same way that he paints other technological innovations (such as film in Moving Pictures): it has a this magical effect upon society that irrevocably changes it. The funny thing with Discworld is that society is actually resistant to change, so we have these inventions having an almost magical effect upon those who are exposed to it to try to force this change along, and this is change that is usually for the worse. There is also something very seductive about the gun, sort of like the power that its possession gives the owner – the ability to be able to kill at great distances. The interesting thing about Ankh-Morpork is that it exists purely due to the status quo, though one does seem to get more of a sense of a fairy-tale world than a pure fantasy world that one tends to expect from most fantasy novels (but then again Discworld is not like most fantasy worlds): a medieval European setting with wizards and dragons running around to make things interesting. Granted Discworld has its fare share of wizards, dragons, and a cornucopia of other caricatures, but there seems to an essence of modernism within this world, as if the thoughts and attitudes of the characters are more modern in scope than most fantasy novels. Then again this is not surprising since what Pratchett is writing satire as opposed to pure fantasy, and in many cases it is much easier to criticise society, and some of society's sacred cows, by shifting the setting away from the modern world and placing it in a fictional setting, whether it be fantasy, as in the case of Pratchett, or science-fiction, as in the case of writers like Douglas Adams or Grant Naylor. That does not mean that the writings are going to be immune to criticism or outrage, as this tends to happen when writings start to demonstrate the absurdity of some of our sacred cows (such as religion in Pyramids and Small Gods, and gun ownership in the case of Men at Arms). Mind you, I have not heard anywhere near as much criticism being levelled against Pratchett as has been levelled against some other writers (such as Scorsesee in regards to The Last Temptation of Christ). I suspect that Pratchett has become something of a sacred cow himself (in the same way that Star Trek and Star Wars are also sacred cows) in that if one even thinks of writing a bad review of one of his books you are going to get someone complaining about how you are being unfair, don't understand, or simply (which is a huge assumption) haven't read the book (because, seriously, how could anybody even think of writing a bad review if they had actually read the book).

  21. 5 out of 5

    Toby

    Barely a year has passed since the last idiot in Ankh-Morpork thought they could unleash an unholy hell to help them overthrow the great tyrant ruler of their city state only to find themselves meeting the grinning face of the feline loving Death of the Disc sooner than anticipated and somebody is at it again, only this time with the help of a 'gonne.' Vimes is off getting married and Carrot is inheriting a watch embracing equal opportunities, including the evolution of Detritus the troll in to Barely a year has passed since the last idiot in Ankh-Morpork thought they could unleash an unholy hell to help them overthrow the great tyrant ruler of their city state only to find themselves meeting the grinning face of the feline loving Death of the Disc sooner than anticipated and somebody is at it again, only this time with the help of a 'gonne.' Vimes is off getting married and Carrot is inheriting a watch embracing equal opportunities, including the evolution of Detritus the troll in to series regular and a rather lovely female with whom Carrot would like to go for long walks around the city, plus of course there are assorted Librarians, wonder dogs, clowns, assasins, dwarfs, Nobbys, trolls and gargoyles. It's a wonderful time as always when The Watch are out to play, it just feels like Pratchett knew how to write these stories better than most others, enabling him to play a bit more with genre conventions, characterisation and satire. Of course the homage to The Third Man can't escape mention, you'll have the image of Orson Welles and that wonderful zither music in your head for days afterwards I'm sure.

  22. 3 out of 5

    Sarah Sammis

    Men at Arms is the second book I've read for the Beach Blanket Bonanza. My husband (whom I originally introduced to Pratchett's books) has been selecting the best of the Discworld books for me to read and I have been enjoying these reading "assignments" thoroughly. Men at Arms is the next in the "Night Watch" group of books. Vimes is on the eve of his retirement from the watch and about to get married. Meanwhile, bodies are showing up in Ankh-Morpork and a new weapon has been stolen. Carrot and a Men at Arms is the second book I've read for the Beach Blanket Bonanza. My husband (whom I originally introduced to Pratchett's books) has been selecting the best of the Discworld books for me to read and I have been enjoying these reading "assignments" thoroughly. Men at Arms is the next in the "Night Watch" group of books. Vimes is on the eve of his retirement from the watch and about to get married. Meanwhile, bodies are showing up in Ankh-Morpork and a new weapon has been stolen. Carrot and a bunch of new recruits set out to solve the mystery and retrieve the weapon before all hell breaks loose. In Men at Arms, Pratchett sets aside the puns (for the most part) to work on world building and fleshing out his characters. Ankh-Morpork begins to feel like a believable working (as well as it ever does) city. Carrot grows as a character and is rapidly becoming one of my favorites (but then everyone likes Carrot). Best of all, there is an honest to goodness mystery (and hence plot) in Men at Arms. It was one of the best mysteries I've read this year with enough clues to get me close to solving it but still tricky enough for some surprises.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Prerazmišljavanje

    Uvek imam problem sa knjigama o Noćnoj straži Ank-Morporka, suviše su mi stvarne, kao da se uopšte ne trudi da bude satiričan, nego sipa li sipa politiku i nekorektnost, dok ne poteče i iz gargojlinih ušiju. Najneradije ih čitam, ali ne zato što su manje dobre. Prosto, stavljaju 'dobrost' iznad 'zabavnosti', što ne očekujem posle usputnog čitanja priča o vešticama ili čarobnjacima Disksveta.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Ms. Smartarse

    When I have first encountered the members of the City Watch, I rather disliked them. They were always misunderstanding everything due to missing about half of the big picture, and thus causing additional problems for the hero. Thud!, the first novel that I've read about them, didn't exactly endear the characters to me either. Oh I liked Angua: smart, pretty, with a 'mysterious' monthly affliction AND all-around dangerous aura; basically the epitome of a kick-ass heroine. Thinking back on it, I'm g When I have first encountered the members of the City Watch, I rather disliked them. They were always misunderstanding everything due to missing about half of the big picture, and thus causing additional problems for the hero. Thud!, the first novel that I've read about them, didn't exactly endear the characters to me either. Oh I liked Angua: smart, pretty, with a 'mysterious' monthly affliction AND all-around dangerous aura; basically the epitome of a kick-ass heroine. Thinking back on it, I'm guessing that I was also missing half of the big picture. Oh the irony of it all! Even though I could logically understand the inner jokes, I never ended up caring about any of the characters or their motivation enough. Guards Guards did a good job in introducing some of the main players, but some of the jokes still flew right over my head. I didn't particularly like Vimes, though Carrot's antics were always funny. Tall, strong, utterly naive, but struck by surprising insights at the right moment... he had potential. In Men at Arms though, we get to see a wholly new side of Carrot. He has finally got used to Ankh Morpork and is now managing to charm each and every one of its inhabitants. His natural charisma just baffles everyone. ‘He’s going to die, isn’t he,’ said Angua, quietly. ‘Funny, that,’ said Nobby. ‘If we was to try it, we’d be little bits of mince. But it seems to work for him.’ ‘Krisma,’ said Sergeant Colon, who was having to lean on the wall. ‘Do you mean charisma?’ said Angua. ‘Yeah. One of them things. Yeah.’ ‘How does he manage it?’ ‘Dunno,’ said Nobby. ‘S’pose he’s an easy lad to like?’ Speaking of character development, I am finally learning to understand the inner jokes about Corporal "Nobby" Nobbs. Although, I have to wonder why it took me two books. Perhaps I was skimming Guards Guards too much. In any case, I can't wait to find out more about the Watch's resident weirdo. Another thing that I loved about this book, were the numerous one-liners. Not since Thief of Time did I feel the need to make a note of so many hilarious quotes. ‘I’m a dwarf, too, but the dwarfs here don’t believe it.’ ‘You don’t say?’ said Angua, looking up at him. ‘My mother had me by adoption.’ ‘Don’t worry, miss,’ said Colon. ‘He-‘ ‘Lance-Constable,’ said Angua. ‘What?’ ‘Lance-Constable,’ she repeated. ‘Not miss. Carrot says I don’t have any sex while I’m on duty.’ To the background of Nobby’s frantic coughing, Colon said, very quickly, ‘What I mean is, lance-constable, young Carrot’s got krisma. Bags of krisma.’ ‘It’s bad enough barging into Guild property, but we’ll get into really serious trouble if we shoot anyone. Lord Vetinari won’t stop at sarcasm. He might use’ - Colon swallowed - ‘irony.’ And then, there is also the beginning of Carrot and Angua's romance. More often funny, than romantic, to be more specific. Buuuuuuut if you pay close attention, you can even read about (view spoiler)[them having sex. Just don't blink, or you'll miss it (hide spoiler)] . 4/5 stars for a hilarious and thoughtful book about the Watch. ============================================ Other books featuring the Night Watch: Review of the 1st book: Guards!Guards! Review of the 3rd book: Feet of Clay Review of the 4th book: Jingo Review of the 5th book: The Fifth Elephant Review of the 6th book: Night Watch Review of the 7th book: Thud! Review of the 8th book: Snuff

  25. 4 out of 5

    Lindsay

    Part of the Pratchett reread with the SpecFic Buddy Reads group in 2018. The Night Watch is expanding with new watchmen being enrolled from the growing minority populations in the city of Ankh-Morpork. But at the same time, Samuel Vimes is looking towards retirement to marry Lady Sybil and become a gentleman of leisure, a future that the Vimes is struggling with. Then a series of murders involving a strange device from the Guild of Assassins occurs and the whole Watch is needed to deal with it. G Part of the Pratchett reread with the SpecFic Buddy Reads group in 2018. The Night Watch is expanding with new watchmen being enrolled from the growing minority populations in the city of Ankh-Morpork. But at the same time, Samuel Vimes is looking towards retirement to marry Lady Sybil and become a gentleman of leisure, a future that the Vimes is struggling with. Then a series of murders involving a strange device from the Guild of Assassins occurs and the whole Watch is needed to deal with it. Guards! Guards! set the scene for the Ankh Morpork City Watch, establishing how the police would work in such a world and some of the central characters. This book brings in more of the cast and establishes the ground rules for what Pratchett wanted to do with his series going forward, with themes of changing demographics because of immigration, racism in general ("speciesism" here) and the reality of policing from a Peelian principles philosophy but also conscious of the role of politics in general in all of that. That's a lot of weight to put on one book, but even so, it feels effortless in its execution. Notable is the introduction of Angua and her relationship with Carrot and the return of Detritus and Gaspode with Detritus in particular getting some excellent characterization. Angua is handled generally well, and her encounters with Gaspode are well done. I'm a little less thrilled about this as the origin of Angua and Carrot's long-running relationship and both Gaspode's perspective on it as well as the message that is Big Fido's character. Overall it holds up well to a reading in the modern day.

  26. 3 out of 5

    Olga Godim

    This novel was a joy to read. The second in the Watch sub-series, it is as much a fantasy as a mystery. People often die in Ankh-Morpork, mostly from suicide (walking along some of the city streets after dark is definitely suicidal), but now a series of murders have been committed. Sam Vimes, the Captain of the Night Watch, starts the investigation, and various complications spring in his way with predictable regularity. The plot of this novel is just a pencil sketch, a colorless collection of e This novel was a joy to read. The second in the Watch sub-series, it is as much a fantasy as a mystery. People often die in Ankh-Morpork, mostly from suicide (walking along some of the city streets after dark is definitely suicidal), but now a series of murders have been committed. Sam Vimes, the Captain of the Night Watch, starts the investigation, and various complications spring in his way with predictable regularity. The plot of this novel is just a pencil sketch, a colorless collection of events without much value of their own. What brings colors to this story, animates it, makes it a masterpiece of wisdom and laughter is its characters. Sam Vimes is getting married and retiring from the Watch. He doesn’t need murder and mayhem in the few days before his wedding. Accordingly, most of the page space is reserved for the other members of the Watch. The old acquaintances from Guards! Guards!, Sergeant Colon and Corporal Nobby, offer the readers multiple opportunities to giggle and snicker at their silly antics and amusing dialog. The new recruits, Cuddy, the dwarf, and Detritus, the troll, represent the progressive policies of the Watch – to reflect the ethnic makeup of the city. They are learning to be policemen, trying to find the murderer, while simultaneously dealing with their respective people’s mutual animosity. The idea, so unfortunately relevant in today’s life, is taken by the talented writer and turned into a satirical looking glass. The readers glance in it and cringe in shame, as they recognize themselves and their prejudices. ‘We should do something!’ said Angua, from the guards’ hiding place in the alley. ‘Weeell,’ said Sergeant Colon, slowly, ‘it’s always very tricky, ethnic.’ ‘Can put a foot wrong very easily,’ said Nobby. ‘Very thin-skinned, your basic ethnic.’ ‘Thin-skinned? They’re trying to kill one another!’ ‘It’s cultural,’ said Sergeant Colon, miserably. ‘No sense us tryin’ to force our culture on ’hem, is there? That’s speciesist.’ The new recruit Angua, the only woman in the watch so far, is dealing with her own set of problems. Smart, brave and loyal, she is the only character in the book portrayed without ridicule. The author seems to adore her, his beautiful, fully-dressed (sometimes) damsel in arms, and so do the readers. And then there is Corporal Carrot, a two-meter-tall dwarf (adopted), with the heart of gold and the unshakable belief in everyone’s goodness. Once in a while, there comes a book where a secondary character steals the show as soon as he appears on the page. By the sheer power of his personality, such a character often goes against his creator’s intentions and becomes a protagonist on his own. That’s Carrot. As soon as he steps into a scene, any scene, he becomes its star, outshining everyone else. With his absurd faith in the universal decency and his inability to understand sarcasm, he should’ve been pathetic and ludicrous, but he is neither. His naïve magnetism is alluring, and the readers, along with everyone else in Ankh-Morpork, inevitably fall under his spell. We all want to believe in our own untarnished virtue. ‘OK.’ Carrot still didn’t look around. ‘We’ll hold the city together through the rest of the night, I think. Everyone’s seen sense.’ No, they haven’t, said Angua in the privacy of her own head. They’ve seen you. It’s like hypnotism. People live your vision. You dream … for everyone. You really think everyone is basically nice. Just for a moment, while they are near you, everyone else believes it too. Alongside the Watch members and almost as impressive rises the figure of Patrician Vetinari – a genius politician, holding the city of Ankh-Morpork together by means of information and manipulations. He’s never taken too much space in any of the Discworld books I’ve read so far, but his brilliant mind and absolute ruthlessness cause the readers to gasp in admiration mingled with awe. Do any of us want such a political leader for our city/country/party? I doubt it. Do we need one? Perhaps. These and the other memorable characters make this book what it is – a delightful parody of our lives, hilarious and sad at the same time. The readers laugh and contemplate, curse and learn. Recommended!

  27. 5 out of 5

    Jamie

    Men at Arms is Terry Pratchett's fifteenth ...woah, really? This is the fifteenth Discwordld book? And I'm not even HALFWAY done with the series yet? And he's still writing them? That's AWESOME! Anyway, in Men at Arms returns to the metropolis of Ank-Morpork, specifically the Night Watch charged with preventing suicides, such as suicide by strolling through the wrong part of town or saying the wrong thing to any of its inhabitants. Captain Samuel Vimes is relegated mostly a B-story for most of th Men at Arms is Terry Pratchett's fifteenth ...woah, really? This is the fifteenth Discwordld book? And I'm not even HALFWAY done with the series yet? And he's still writing them? That's AWESOME! Anyway, in Men at Arms returns to the metropolis of Ank-Morpork, specifically the Night Watch charged with preventing suicides, such as suicide by strolling through the wrong part of town or saying the wrong thing to any of its inhabitants. Captain Samuel Vimes is relegated mostly a B-story for most of the novel, allowing Pratchett to focus more on the new recruits foisted on the Watch by the city's new affirmative action program. But since on the Disc Black and White live in harmony on account of their ganging up on Green, the race relations here have more to do with dwarves, trolls, and the undead being added to the Watch's ranks. Pratchett has a ton of fun with this concept, playing both sides by skewering the idea of affirmative action in employment while simultaneously lampooning people who are biased against other races without even really being aware of it. Of course, that's not all. There's also some fun stuff about detective novels, investigative police dramas (Corporal Carrot of the Watch does a great Columbo impersonation), charasmatic leadership, gun control, clowns, and the domestication of dogs. Speaking of which, Men at Arms gets bonus points for including Gaspode the Wonder Dog, the talking mongrel who is only survives his many diseases (including Lickey End, which you only get if you're a pregnant sheep) because "the little buggers are too busy fighting among themselves." All in all, another great book in one of my favorite settings with some of my favorite characters. Pratchett really shows that he's more than a simple satirist, he's actually a good writer capable of including characters that are subtle and nuanced while still standing in as proxies for larger concepts that the author wants to lampoon. I don't imagine that it's easy to do something like that.

  28. 3 out of 5

    Wiebke (1book1review)

    I love love love this book. The way we get to learn more about the characters in the watch and also the Patrician is amazing. I feel like a broken record, but read these books!

  29. 5 out of 5

    Magrat Ajostiernos

    3,5/5 ¿Por qué no puede salir Vimes TODO EL TIEMPO? *******Muy fan de Detritus**********

  30. 4 out of 5

    Carly

    Men at Arms, the first[1] book in Pratchett's City Watch subseries, makes for a wonderful introduction to the characters and world of Discworld. Admittedly, it's comparitively weak in some respects; like so many other series I've encountered, it suffers from "first book syndrome": weaker characterization, more predictable plot, and less elegant language. However, once you read it, you can get into the good stuff with an almost complete background of the characters. It can also be safely skipped Men at Arms, the first[1] book in Pratchett's City Watch subseries, makes for a wonderful introduction to the characters and world of Discworld. Admittedly, it's comparitively weak in some respects; like so many other series I've encountered, it suffers from "first book syndrome": weaker characterization, more predictable plot, and less elegant language. However, once you read it, you can get into the good stuff with an almost complete background of the characters. It can also be safely skipped in favour of Feet of Clay and Jingo, the next two books in the series. The story takes place in the colorful, polluted, wild, cynical city-state of Anhk Morpork, cheerful center of crime of the civilized world. As Pratchett notes, And visitors say: how does such a big city exist? What keeps it going? Since it's got a river you can chew, where does the drinking water come from? What is, in fact, the basis of its civic economy? How come it, against all probability, works? Actually, visitors don't often say this. They usually say things like, "Which way to the, you know, the...er...you know, the young ladies, right?” Ankh Morpork is ruled by the ascetic, incredibly crafty, and self-proclaimed tyrant, Lord Vetinari. Vetinari long ago decided that if the city was bound to have crime, it might as well be organized--so now the city is the proud home of the Assassins' and Thieves' Guilds, and people can buy yearly insurance against thievery (quite reasonable rates!). Since thieves do their own policing and punish non-guild members harshly (non-guild thievery is so bad for business), there's not much for Sam Vimes, head of the Night Watch, to do. Except, of course, get ready for his impending retirement and nuptuals to one of the richest women in the city. For a man whose entire life has revolved around his job, it's an increasingly terrifying prospect. And if that weren't enough, apparently his department has been chosen to herald political correctness by hiring a dwarf, a troll, and (oh, the horrors!), a woman. But when a mysterious crime occurs right near the Assassin's Guild, Vimes' copper instincts are on fire. It's up to him and his loyal(ish) subordinates to ferret out the crime, all while the various guilds and the patrician himself seek to hold them back. Men at Arms was my first introduction to Discworld, and, to tell the truth, I didn't warm to the characters when I first experienced them in this book. The narrative felt fragmented, as it's told from the perspectives of quite a large subset of the cast. While I loved Vimes, I felt rather mixed about some of the other characters-- in particular, Carrot Ironfoundersson, the Galahadesque white knight of the City Watch. I'm not entirely sure we're supposed to like him; I tend to identify with Vimes, who is himself rather bemused by Carrot. I find Carrot to be fascinating, for he highlights what I find as an innate conflict between taking the "right" and the "sympathetic" action. Carrot believes, at his core, that "Personal isn't the same as important." While I think all of us would admit the truth of this, and in the abstract, want the protagonist to take the action that protects the "important", the "greater good," over the "personal," I find the characters who do so to be unsympathetic, almost inhuman. Yet despite this, Carrot still manages to be oddly and universally liked. As one character puts it, “Some people have inspired whole countries to great deeds because of the power of their vision. And so could he. Not because he dreams about marching hordes, or world domination, or an empire of a thousand years. Just because he thinks that everyone’s really decent underneath and would get along just fine if only they made the effort, and he believes that so strongly it burns like a flame which is bigger than he is. He’s got a dream and we’re all part of it, so that it shapes the world around him. And the weird thing is that no one wants to disappoint him. It’d be like kicking the biggest puppy in the universe. It’s a kind of magic.” The story is structured almost as a mystery, but not quite, as from the outset, segments are given from the perspective of the antagonist as well as the protagonist. The story utilizes a significant amount of dramatic irony; we know what the antagonist was doing, but have to watch our protagonists stumble around detecting. Notably, this is the last time that Pratchett employs this story structure; from here on out, the mysteries are mysterious to the reader as well as the characters. For all that, the first time I read it, it kept me on the edge of my seat and up till 2AM to finish it. When I went on to read Feet of Clay, most of the characters really grew on me. This has become one of my absolute favorite series, and the pinnacle of it, Night Watch, is one of the best books I have ever read. Sam Vimes is, hands-down, my favorite noir/hardboiled/UF detective. Outwardly a Javert-like, rigid, rule-obsessed copper, he is also cynical, crafty, and incredibly soft-hearted. Pratchett is, above all else, a satirist. He uses the nonthreatening and ridiculous world of Anhk Morpork to explore deeper philosophical issues. A few of my favourite quotes: People ought to think for themselves... The problem is, people only think for themselves if you tell them to. If you have to look along the shaft of an arrow from the wrong end, if a man has you entirely at his mercy, then hope like hell that man is an evil man. Because the evil like power, power over people, and they want to see you in fear. They want you to know you're going to die. So they'll talk. They'll gloat. They'll watch you squirm. They'll put off the moment of murder like another man will put off a good cigar. So hope like hell your captor is an evil man. A good man will kill you with hardly a word. Although less true in this book, most of the others in the series have provided serious food for thought in his nonjudgmental exploration of multiple facets of important political and ethical questions. Overall, the start of a great series. Worth reading if you if you want to get a full background on the characters. If you want to move straight to the best stuff, though, you can skip directly to Feet of Clay. [1]I am potentially alone in considering this to be the start of the City Watch subseries of Pratchett's Discworld. Officially the start would be Guards! Guards!, because that is the first time the characters are introduced, but to me, there are so many differences in characterization between the Guards!Guards! version and the rest of the series, and so many retcons over the Guards!Guards! material, that I just don't consider it part of the series.

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