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Review: Night Watch

03 Nov

In the beginning of this year, you may remember that I went on something of a reading spree when it came to the works of Terry Pratchett. With the help of a friend (and a handy chart), I decided to begin my journey through his books with the series that focused on the Watch. And what an excellent decision that was. I have loved every single book in the Watch strain of Pratchett’s books, mainly because of the amazing character that is Sam Vimes. There’s just something about the grizzled, streetwise police officer with a desire to pummel the criminals that he just barely suppresses in the name of being better than the worst citizens. Along with Vimes, the stories are populated by a cavalcade of characters in the police force and some colorful citizens of the city of Ankh-Morpork.

Wanting a book that I could lose myself in during the two hours in which I commute, I picked up Night Watch last month. Part of me was hesitant to choose another Pratchett book because, in January, when I first started to read Pratchett I didn’t want to read anyone else for at least three months! I have plenty of other books in my “to-read” pile, so I was worried about getting hooked on Pratchett! But, eventually, my desire for an excellently written and engrossing book won over and I chose Night Watch as my next read.

I have not been disappointed by a Pratchett book yet! Night Watch is an expertly constructed book that writes time travel — a notoriously difficult story element — very well. The basic crux of the book is that, through very interesting circumstances (Ankh-Morpork is a very interesting place, after all) Sam Vimes is sent back through time to a year he knows quite intimately. Yes, Vimes finds himself in the year during which he first started working for the Watch.

I remember reading this on the back cover synopsis of Night Watch several months ago when I’d just finished and put down The Fifth Elephant. It’s just one of those things that blows you away, as a reader. I mean, to send Vimes back in time is one thing, but to send him back to a time where he most definitely will encounter his past self is fantastic. Not only does that mean the story will be carefully crafted and and complex, it also has the potential for absolutely catastrophic results. In other words: woohoo!

I don’t want to spoil anything for those of you who are still poised to jump into the Pratchett pool, as it were, but Vimes does, indeed, encounter his past self. Very interesting things ensue. In the end, Vimes must grapple with a highly dangerous criminal who’s traveled through time with him and navigate the murky waters of what the city and the Watch used to be. This book was utterly enjoyable thanks to Vimes’ just being his awesome self, the mystery of why lavender is so meaningful to so many members of the Watch, and the cast of characters that we meet all over again in a different time.

It’s hard to recommend a book like this, which is smack dab in the middle of a series. If you’ve begun the series already, you’ll undoubtedly reach this one in good time. So, my recommendation for you is to start reading Terry Pratchett! My guess is that once you start, you won’t be able to stop.

Rating: 5/5 stars

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