Review: Guards! Guards! by Terry Pratchett

20 Books of Summer 2021: Book 2

This is more of a plea for additional book recommendations than a review. I expected to enjoy Terry Pratchett’s Guards! Guards! because friends (and strangers) have recommended the Discworld books for years. I didn’t have a compelling reason to not read them; there are just so many of them and I’m not overly fond of series. Plus, in the days before I had access to used bookstores (and before Kindle deals), getting sucked into the series would have meant a hefty financial commitment.

I like Pratchett’s humor, but each character has a set of quirks that is mentioned over and over (and over and over). It’s easy to see why people enjoy Guards! Guards!—it’s funny and clever—but I kept hoping the occasional scene would be trimmed a bit, or the story would start moving, or a new joke would be thrown into the mix.

Even the most ardent Pratchett fans say, “His later stuff is better,” but it’s not clear to me whether this means each story arc follows this trend, or if I should have started with a later book than Guards! Guards! Though the story eventually came together, reading the first three quarters felt like homework. I kept reading because the only thing more awkward than not loving a book by Terry Pratchett is adding it to my DNF pile.

So… which Pratchett book do I try next? Does the next book in this arc pick up the pace, or should I cut my losses and try a new story line? I’ve heard good things about Going Postal and Mort.

Previously on

Read, review coming soon

  • Chronicle of a Death Foretold by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  • Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury
  • A Good Scent from a Strange Mountain by Robert Olen Butler
  • King Solomon’s Mines by H. Rider Haggard

Reading in progress

  • The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz
  • Ficciones by Jorge Luis Borges
  • Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
  • Human Acts by Han King
  • The Lathe of Heaven by Ursula K. LeGuin
  • The Lodger by Marie Belloc Lowndes
  • The Once and Future King by T.H. White
  • Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller
  • Super Cannes by J.G. Ballard
  • A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki
  • A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan

DNF pile…

  • Bel Canto by Ann Patchett
  • The Crimson Petal and the White by Michel Faber
  • Death with Interruptions by José Saramago

2 thoughts on “Review: Guards! Guards! by Terry Pratchett”

  1. Mort is very early. You might like Thief of Time better, it’s much later in the Death sequence. Going Postal is also a much later book. The Watch books do more than one thing, they aren’t merely a mystery story.

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