Guards! Guards! (by Terry Pratchett) was the latest feature in my audiobook queue. I listened to it on my last few runs. And while I was doing dishes. And on the flight out to the frozen tundra. And in my sleep.

It was fun.

I think I was expecting more action and adventure, more Return of the King. That expectation was probably due to the exclamation points in the title of this book, which led me astray.

The book ended up being quietly entertaining. I got more enjoyment out of the wry side comments the characters continuously made than anything else.

Wizards meeting clandestinely at the beginning of the novel give way to a bumbling giant, raised by dwarfs, making his way into the city. The very tall man (named Carrot), joins the near-defunct nightwatch city guard. Carrot is solidly good at his job, and begins his illustrious career with a bang, by arresting the highly respected Head of Thieves Guild.

This causes trouble for the Nightwatch, because they’ve fallen into the habit of not doing any actual work. The city has established their way of business. The thieves manage themselves, so do the firemen, and so too, the Guard.

Then dragons start appearing randomly, and burning people alive. But only baddies. No one nice gets burned alive.

Suddenly, the city actually needs the Guard, and the ragtag bunch of them slightly rise to the occasion.

Perhaps it was the anti-climactic ending that made this book less of a WOW! kind of read (listen) and more of just a generally, quietly funny book. It made me interested to read other books in the series to find out what happens to Carrot and others (eg: the orangutan librarian).

Caveated recommendation: Read it if you enjoy sci-fi or just straight fantasy. OR if you enjoy slightly cynical humor. If you like these things, you probably will get a kick out of Pratchett’s story. If you don’t like those things I got nothing for you.

Guards! Guards!
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