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Books in 2010, #6

#6. Night Watch by Terry Pratchett


Ah, time travel. It can be a tricky beast, asking lots of questions, undoing major events, moving a pebble a fraction to the left and starting a tsunami in a neighboring country. Heavy stuff. It can also be fun and funny, as most Pratchett books are, and Night Watch is a phenomenal read for a number of reasons. The first? Samuel Vimes. Of all the Discworld books, my favorite is the standalone Small Gods. That will never change; I’ve read it at least five times, and love Om in turtle form. After that, I will always want a City Watch book before Rincewind, Death, or the Witches. Carrot Ironfoundersson, Angua von Überwald, Corporal Nobbs, and, of course, Vimes—these are some of the best characters Pratchett has to offer, and their policing is always logical and thought out instead of the usual “kick down the door and go in guns a-blazing.” The second reason? Every scene is full of tension. Every. Scene. See, while chasing after a criminal, Vimes get transported back in time and assumes a new identity since a young Sam Vimes already exists at this point. And yes, he will have to teach himself everything he (already?) knows. Oh, and there’s a revolt to stop, too. The third? For once, there’s a villain here who actually comes across as villainous, totally nutters. Every time Vimes and Carcer met, I brought the book closer to my face, not wanting to miss a single word.

This isn’t Pratchett’s first poke at spacetime continuum (hello, Thief of Time!), but he he’s stronger here, more funny and enlightening, giving us a look at younger versions of characters we’ve come to care about, such as Dibbler and Havelock Vetinari. His stance on the butterfly effect is much the same as LOST’s, in that whatever happened, happened. There’s still plenty of room for speculation though. And it all comes together in the end, very satisfying, and I lovingly recommend Night Watch, but only if you have a general understanding of the world and its characters.

Next up for me Pratchett-wise is…Making Money. Now, I was never crazy about the character Moist in Going Postal despite loving the whole post office plot so we’ll see how this one turns out. Maybe Vimes will pop up for a scene or two? Can you tell how much I love Vimesy?

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