Saturday, September 4, 2010
Review of Guards! Guards! By Terry Pratchett (Corgi, 1989)
Pratchett has a wonderfully inventive mind and a natural storytelling flair. It’s a powerful combination leads to novels that are highly enjoyable, and yet also make the reader reflect on a particular issue – in this case, desire, power and law and order. Setting his stories in Discworld frees his parables of certain constraints, allowing him to draw on myths and legends, and to come at things in an oblique angle, meaning its message does not feel contrived or preachy. The result is a set of books that appeal to a very wide demographic (I'm as hooked now in my forties as I was in my teens). The plotting and characterisation in Guards! Guards! is generally excellent, the dialogue natural, and there is a constant presence of good humour, with many chuckle and laugh out loud moments. The story is a little uneven in places and some of the set pieces a little contrived, but it’s a fun read and it was good to tuck into my dog-eared copy fifteen odd years since I last read it. Time perhaps to dig out Pratchett’s other Night Watch books.