Guards! Guards! by Terry Pratchett

I have books that I reread (Georgette Heyer) and I have books that I own more than one copy (Jane Austen) but there is only one book in my collection that I have a paperback copy, an ebook copy and an audio copy.  That book is Guards! Guards! by Terry Pratchett.

In honor of April Fool’s Day, I am going to share with you one of the funniest books I have ever read.  Terry Pratchett is the king of humor! I giggle so much when I read the books that my husband has banned the books from our bed because I keep him awake with my laughter and shaking the bed with my body giggling. I love all Pratchett’s Discworld books but the Guards line is my favorite.

Guards! Guards! takes place in the fictitious city of Ank-Morkpork, a large city where all the crime is legalized and each branch of crime has their own guild that pays taxes and limits the number of crimes that can occur.  For example, once you have been robbed the thief gives you a piece of paper that you can show to the next person who tries to rob you because you can only be robbed once a year.

The novel focuses on Sam Vimes, the Captain of the small group of men that form the Night Watch.  Vimes has spent the last couple of years staring at the bottom of an alcohol bottle, ignoring what is going on in the city.  That changes when Carrot, an adopted dwarf who is 6’4″ tall, joins the force and actually starts arresting people.  To further complicate matters, a dragon (a mythical creature even in their world) has appeared, causing problems and taking over the city.

Sam Vimes is my favorite Discworld character, winner of a close competition since Discworld also has Death (who speaks in all caps), luggage (a vicious protector of owner and property) and Moist von Lipwig (the greatest con-man who ever lived). Vimes is a pragmatist in a world full of crazies, he has a deadpan sense of humor, and a strong love for his city and its citizens. “If there was anything that depressed him more than his own cynicism, it was that quite often it still wasn’t as cynical as real life.”–Sam Vimes in Guards! Guards!

Terry Pratchett is the wittiest writer I have ever read and never deteriorates into cheap shots at others that some people use to be funny.   Pratchett has a sparkling humor and an amazing grasp of human nature.  If I am ever a quarter as funny as Terry Pratchett I will count myself a success and a riot. Read, Read, Read! (I can’t say that enough!)

Terry Pratchett Books

Rating: One

Title: Guards! Guards!

Author: Terry Pratchett

Format: (paperback, hardbound, ebook): paperback, ebook, audio

Page Nos.: 384

ISBN: 0061020648

Publisher: HarperTorch

Release Date: July 31, 2001

I highly recommend reading everything by Terry Pratchett, for those interested in reading the Watch series in order:

Guards! Guards!

Men at Arms

Feet of Clay

Jingo

The Fifth Elephant

Night Watch

Thud!

Pawn of Prophecy by David Eddings

photo_10618_20091215I read somewhere that some books are “comfort reads”, you know, those books you reread a hundred times and end up purchasing more than once because you wear your copy out.  Pawn of Prophecy by David Eddings is a “comfort read” for me.  The first time I read it was in high school, I remember purchasing it at a bookstore, at random, and devouring it within two days (no mean feat considering the size of the novel). I have destroyed two paperback copies and am now working on destroying a hardbound copy (give me time and I am sure I will end up with a copy on my ereader as well).  I reread the series at least once a year, if not more.

Publisher: It all begins with the theft of the Orb that for so long protected the West from an evil god. As long as the Orb was at Riva, the prophecy went, its people would be safe from this corrupting power. Garion, a simple farm boy, is familiar with the legend of the Orb, but skeptical in matters of magic. Until, through a twist of fate, he learns not only that the story of the Orb is true, but that he must set out on a quest of unparalleled magic and danger to help recover it. For Garion is a child of destiny, and fate itself is leading him far from his home, sweeping him irrevocably toward a distant tower—and a cataclysmic confrontation with a master of the darkest magic.

Pawn of Prophecy is the first book in the Belgariad Series, a collection of five novels.  The novel begins with a boy, Garion, living on a farm with his aunt raising him.  One night, he and his aunt are forced to leave in the middle of the night to meet up with others, chasing someone who stole something but no-one will tell Garion exactly what and who they are chasing.  Garion slowly starts to realize that his aunt and the group they have met up with are very important politic figures and that what they are chasing after will change the course of history.  There is magic but it is all carefully bound by rules, which appeals to my logic nature (how you can have something as powerful as magic without careful rules to control it?!).

David Eddings does a fabulous job of giving each of the lands in the novel their own culture and history.  The world Eddings’ created is influenced by the seven Gods that exist, with each of the different lands ruled over by a specific God and taking on the characteristics of that God.  For example, the God Nedra loves gambling and chance so his followers are always making deals with each other, their God, and their culture revolves around money.

His characters are very distinctive and very witty.  Eddings cohesion of the history of the land, its people and the impact of that history on the ongoing story is unparalleled.  It is like reading Tolkien without all the boring parts (I mean really, do we really care what EVERY tree looks like in Tolkiens’ world?!).  I highly recommend it and give it a rating for violence, not sex.

Rating: 2

[amazon-product]0345468643[/amazon-product]

Elantris by Brandon Sanderson

Elantris
Elantris

Elantris, by Brandon Sanderson, is a stand alone fantasy novel. I have to admit, I am glad to be able to read just one book, don’t get me wrong, I am a huge fan of great epic fantasy literature (can we say David Eddings?!) but sometimes it is nice to be able to finish the story in one novel.  Elantris is the first of Brandon Sanderson novels that I have read and I really enjoyed it.  The world Sanderson created is believable in that he has carefully thoughtout rules that everyone has to follow, especially regarding magic and the laws of physics.

Sanderson also plays with concepts that I haven’t seen authors do recently.  Elantris is a city where individuals who were “gifted” with a special power went to live and then something went wrong and these gifted people, who were treated like gods by the general population, were suddenly almost walking corpses. Sanderson’s take on how the general poplulation reacts in such a situation is right on, in my opinion.  How the fallen react to this change in status, how they are now treated, and how do they deal with how they are treated makes this book a fabulous read.

I enjoy Sanderson’s style of following several main characters to get the full story of what is going on in the city.  His ability to make his protagonist sympathetic is wonderful and makes me, as a reader, much more understanding of how events unfolded based on this characters’ motivations and thoughts.

I highly recommend this novel, and his other books, to any fantasy reader.  Of course, his popularity has grown significantly with the announcement of Sanderson being chosen to finish the Robert Jordan Wheel of Time series but, obviously, Robert Jordan’s widow would not have chosen Sanderson if his writings were up to Jordan’s standard.