Night Watch by Terry Pratchett. Thud!

Night Watch

May, 2015
Recommended for those familiar with the Guards Discworld series
 ★    ★    1/2

Thud! Thud!

In one timeline, that’s the name of another Pratchett Discworld novel (the 34th, apparently).Thud

In another, that’s the sound of me marching to my own drum.

In yet another, that’s the sound the vegetables thrown by my book-loving friends make when they hit my hard head.

Because, honestly, this was in between the “okay” and ‘liked it” kind of read for me. Given my GR friend average rating of 4.52, I’m missing something. Most likely, it is books one through five in the Night Watch sub-series of Discworld. I did read at least two Vines books, Men at Arms, and possibly Feet of Clay. Or maybe it was that other timeline, because it was a really, really long time ago, and Vines was almost all I remembered (remember, I told you: “I often have only foggy details stored.”)

Night Watch: A Discworld novel in which guardsman Sam Vines learns that Time Travel is Confusing. Currently a Baron, with time occupied more by meetings than by feeling the city stones beneath his feet, Sam Vines is thrown back into history as he attempts to catch a serial killer. In an unusual twist, Vines will have to play mentor to young Sam. Certainly interesting, at times philosophical, it definitely has a feel-good aspect that helps it go down easily. The trouble is, much of the story has to do with the history of the city of Ankh-Morpork and the various politicking of the rulers and those propping them up, and the Night Watch’s own role in keeping the peace. Certainly a worthwhile topic, particularly at this time in American history (I can’t speak to other countries), but the message is incompletely rendered to those unfamiliar with Discworld’s intricacies.

The upshot?

Don’t listen to me, unless you haven’t read any of the Discworld books.


About thebookgator

avid reader and Goodreads reviewer looking for a home.
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6 Responses to Night Watch by Terry Pratchett. Thud!

  1. neotiamat says:

    Agreed. I actually love Night Watch, but it’s not really a good place to start reading Discworld. Guards, Guards is the one I started with, and is a pretty good entry-point to the series.

    • thebookgator says:

      From what I saw in others’ reviews, this seems to be a more introspective capstone to the (mini) series. Honestly, I have no idea why it got picked for a group’s book of the month when it needed preamble.

      • neotiamat says:

        I would probably say that Night Watch and Thud are the two capstones — Night Watch is the character capstone (where you see Vimes at his fullest), while Thud is the setting capstone (where the Watch is seen at its greatest institutional reach).

        I suppose I can sort of see why it might get picked, since it mostly has an all-new set of characters and takes place in a different part of the timeline, but there are better Discworld stand-alone books (Small Gods is probably the best known).

  2. Adrian says:

    It’s been 5 years since you posted your review in goodrads but i was surprised about the 2 starts rating. If you read it the first one in the discworld series then its normal that you got a bit confused. You need to read all the previous city watch novels to understand how important and beautiful this book is since it explains the past background story of many characters in other books in the present.
    Like when you discover that the father of Nobby Nobbs used to hit him and abuse him so hr became the person he is in the present.
    You have to know Vetinari from other books to understand what he did and many other things that you probably missed.
    So yea, night watch wasnt a good start. Its like reading a trilogy starting with the book 3.

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