Terry Pratchett’s novels can be pretty unpredictable, but they are predictably good. I’ve read eight of them now, and I’ve liked them all. (Okay, both of those things are lies, kind of. I’ve actually read eight-and-a-half of his novels, if you count Good Omens, which he wrote with Neil Gaiman, and which I did not like, though I think both authors are awesome.) Guards! Guards! is the eighth novel in Pratchett’s Discworld series (of just under 40 novels), and it’s definitely one of my favorites. I’ve been reading the series in the order they were published (and very slowly), though that’s not necessary at all. If you like high fantasy, especially funny, tongue-in-cheek high fantasy, you should give these a try.
Guards! Guards! is set in Ankh-Morpork, the biggest city on the Disc(world). It’s governed by a Patrician, and various guilds, including the Thieves, Wizards, and Assassins, keep each other in line. An order of thieves decides that they’d do the city good to use magic and bring in a dragon because that would mean the true heir to the throne would emerge to kill it. Things, of course, go wrong, and the Night Watch, a bunch of not-too-bright city guards, gets involved. And so on.
This one seems to be the best known of the Discworld novels, though a movie was made of the first, The Color of Magic, in the 1990s, starring the actor who played Sam Gamgee in The Lord of the Rings. I watched the first few minutes and turned it off because it looked so stupid, but I’ve said before that I’m generally not a movie person, so you might have more patience with it than I did. Anyway, Guards! Guards! is a super-fun book of the easy-to-read, mass market paperback type. I know, it’s generally not my thing, but I guess I’m not always entirely predictable.
I had a really hard time not jumping straight into the next Discworld novel, Eric, but that was mostly because I never know what to read after fantasy novels. Instead, I chose Love in the Time of Cholera, by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, which has exactly nothing in common with Discworld (unless you count the modicum of magical realism, but hey). I like to spread out books in a series, but there are so many in this one that I don’t think I need to be too careful – and Pratchett is still writing, even with early-stage alzheimer’s, which makes me very sad (the alzheimer’s, not the writing, of course. And he has help).