This review was originally posted at Goodreads and imported here later on with next to no spell/grammar checking.
Being the true son of my stepfather, the City Watch is my favourite Discworld subseries, too. Mum’s fascination with Nanny Ogg keeps being mildly disconcerting.
Guards! Guards! follows Samuel Vimes, the captain of the Night Watch. Not even a shadow of its former glory, the Watch is more like dregs that somehow hadn’t managed to dissipate yet. Vimes himself is a tired old man in his late thirties (not a contradiction) with a heavy drinking problem and a cynical, dark outlook on the world and the people he’s still technically supposed to protect.
But then a dragon shows up and to everyone’s astonishment, there is a spark of decency and captainship left in Vimes.
All this is, of course, an old narrative archetype. Entire genres are built around it. But it still works extremely well on me — especially in the context of Discworld and Ankh-Morpork.
Guards! Guards! is a ridiculously funny book. Properly introducing pretty much all of my favourite characters (all the members of the Watch, the patrician, even Detritus makes a brief appearance). The ending is absolutely fantastic as well. It’s hard to find books with good endings and this one does everything right.
The Watch series, started off by this book is Discworld at its absolute best.