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Discworld #29

Night Watch

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Commander Sam Vimes of the Ankh-Morpork City Watch had it all. But now he's back in his own rough, tough past without even the clothes he was standing up in when the lightning struck...

Living in the past is hard. Dying in the past is incredibly easy. But he must survive, because he has a job to do. He must track down a murderer, teach his younger self how to be a good copper, and change the outcome of a bloody rebellion. There's a problem: if he wins, he's got no wife, no child, no future.

A Discworld Tale of One City, with a full chorus of street urchins, ladies of negotiable affection, rebels, secret policemen, and other children of the revolution.

Truth! Justice! Freedom!
And a Hard-boiled Egg!

480 pages, Paperback

First published January 1, 2002

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About the author

Terry Pratchett

613 books41.4k followers
Born Terence David John Pratchett, Sir Terry Pratchett sold his first story when he was thirteen, which earned him enough money to buy a second-hand typewriter. His first novel, a humorous fantasy entitled The Carpet People, appeared in 1971 from the publisher Colin Smythe.

Terry worked for many years as a journalist and press officer, writing in his spare time and publishing a number of novels, including his first Discworld novel, The Color of Magic, in 1983. In 1987, he turned to writing full time.

There are over 40 books in the Discworld series, of which four are written for children. The first of these, The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents, won the Carnegie Medal.

A non-Discworld book, Good Omens, his 1990 collaboration with Neil Gaiman, has been a longtime bestseller and was reissued in hardcover by William Morrow in early 2006 (it is also available as a mass market paperback - Harper Torch, 2006 - and trade paperback - Harper Paperbacks, 2006).

In 2008, Harper Children's published Terry's standalone non-Discworld YA novel, Nation. Terry published Snuff in October 2011.

Regarded as one of the most significant contemporary English-language satirists, Pratchett has won numerous literary awards, was named an Officer of the British Empire (OBE) “for services to literature” in 1998, and has received honorary doctorates from the University of Warwick in 1999, the University of Portsmouth in 2001, the University of Bath in 2003, the University of Bristol in 2004, Buckinghamshire New University in 2008, the University of Dublin in 2008, Bradford University in 2009, the University of Winchester in 2009, and The Open University in 2013 for his contribution to Public Service.

In Dec. of 2007, Pratchett disclosed that he had been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. On 18 Feb, 2009, he was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II.

He was awarded the World Fantasy Life Achievement Award in 2010.

Sir Terry Pratchett passed away on 12th March 2015.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 2,967 reviews
Profile Image for Mario the lone bookwolf.
805 reviews3,853 followers
February 21, 2021
Eat more cake when you are that hungry. Stupid mob.

Usually, I am no friend of the crime and thriller genre without extreme violence and psychological terror, with skim and scanable character focused investigator plotlines in between, but satires of the genre are definitively my thing, because the stereotypical badass attitude of the detectives is something with huge self satirizing potential. Just as the serial killers, always the same motivations, childhood traumas, preferred methods, just the lunatic absentminded perverted unorganized ones or the sociopathic geniuses with neurotic perfectionism and extra charisma to bewitch their victims.

But I am asking myself how many hidden innuendos for crime and thriller fans might lurk in the City Watch series, how many investigations, methods, and character archetypes of the troop have backgrounds in these genres. I don´t even know if Pratchett liked and read crime and thriller, so it could easily be that there is no secret, second layer, but because of his tendency to pimp everything, it´s not that improbable.

Sam Vimes' character development is one of the most amazing, besides the young witches growing up. His changes in attitude and motivations are drastically and while the wizzards, Ank Morpork standard characters, and fantasy creatures stay quite the same, one should consider reading the City Watch subseries and witch novels with Magrat Garlick and Tiffany Aching in chronological order, because it could get confusing when the protagonists' mentality is suddenly completely different or, if one randomly reads from the last to the first novel, Sam Vimes degenerates backwards towards an even more disillusionized and cynical person.

At least I get the historical implications in this one, because the French revolution is something that always stays in mind of important political leaders to avoid catastrophes that follow the same pattern of greed, incompetence, growing social injustice, neofeudalism, etc. I mean, it would be absolutely crazy to not have learned out of all the ancient revolutions, 2 world wars, many financial crises,…oh. Facepalm. There we are again, just as over 200 years ago, just with lasers and smartphones instead of pitchforks and torches.

Tropes show how literature is conceptualized and created and which mixture of elements makes works and genres unique:

This one is added to all Pratchettian reviews:
The idea of the dissected motifs rocks, highlighting the main real world inspirational elements of fiction and satire is something usually done with so called higher literature, but a much more interesting field in readable literature, as it offers the joy of reading, subtle criticism, and feeling smart all together.
Profile Image for Nataliya.
783 reviews12.5k followers
August 10, 2022
“Truth! Justice! Freedom! Reasonably Priced Love! And a Hard-Boiled Egg!”
I am still angry at the world for taking Terry Pratchett away from us. I miss him — his razor-sharp wit, his pointed humor, the ridiculous clarity with which he must have seen the world. When I can get lost in the pages of his writing - competent, confident, and simply brilliant - the world becomes pretty tolerable.
“Every year he forgot. Well, no. He never forgot. He just put the memories away, like old silverware that you didn’t want to tarnish. And every year they came back, sharp and sparkling, and stabbed him in the heart.”

Night Watch along with its successor Thud! is the pinnacle of Sir Terry’s writing. It’s a story of grief and loss, of attractions and perils of nostalgia, of memory and things lost. It blends disillusioned cynicism and clear hope into something unique, something so “Pratchett” that I, a mere mortal, lack words to precisely describe what it is. All I know is that it reduces me to a blubbering fan who still has something catch in her throat even after reading this book for the umpteenth time.

“If you don’t know where *there* was, you weren’t there,” he said in the same quiet voice.”

“You’re not me, he thought. I don’t think I was ever as young as you. If you’re going to be me, it’s going to take a lot of work. Thirty damn years of being hammered on the anvil of life, you poor bastard. You’ve got it all to come.”

To reduce this book just to plot description — it is a time travel story and a homage to “Les Miserables”, but with Ankh-Morpork flavor. Commander Vimes accidentally ends up being thrown 30 years back in time when he used to be just a green Watch recruit Sam, and the city was just about to go through an attempt at a bloody revolution against a tyrant — just for another tyrant to take up the mantle. And once Sam’s nostalgia wears off, he realizes that all these people he’s seeing in his past and their “now” are about to die. History is a wheel that’s about to crush those in its way.
“Don't put your trust in revolutions. They always come round again. That's why they're called revolutions. People die, and nothing changes.”
“As soon as you saw people as things to be measured, they didn’t measure up.”
I’m only slightly exaggerating when I say that Sam Vimes is my moral compass. He’s not an optimist or a pessimist — he’s the ultimate realist who tends to see the world just how it is, but who will stubbornly make sure it ends up just a bit better. He’s angry, he’s gruff, he’s not always keeping up with the times, and he’s not always the sharpest spoon in the drawer — but he’s ultimately GOOD. Not preachy-good but bristly-good, without rose-tinted glasses.
“Yes, thought Vimes. That’s the way it was. Privilege, which just means “private law.” Two types of people laugh at the law; those that break it and those that make it.”

He does not let incompetence slide. Or look the other way when it’s easier to do so. He upsets those who are used to being unbothered. He won’t let the big guy bully the little guy - even if interfering is most inconvenient. And all I can do is nod in appreciation - after all, that Beast inside all of us is really just an animal that can be leashed. Every fragging time.
“He wanted to go home. He wanted it so much that he trembled at the thought. But if the price of that was selling good men to the night, if the price was filling those graves, if the price was not fighting with every trick he knew … then it was too high.

It wasn’t a decision he was making, he knew that. It happened far below the levels of the brain where decisions were made. It was something built in. There was no universe, anywhere, where a Sam Vimes would give in on this, because if he did then he wouldn’t be Sam Vimes anymore.”

Oh yeah, and Commander Vimes, the Duke of Ankh, a Blackboard Monitor and a former gutter rat still remembers how to survive and how to fight dirty. (Just ask those oxen about that ginger!)
“You’d like Freedom, Truth, and Justice, wouldn’t you, Comrade Sergeant?” said Reg encouragingly.
“I’d like a hard-boiled egg,” said Vimes, shaking the match out.
There was some nervous laughter, but Reg looked offended.
“In the circumstances, Sergeant, I think we should set our sights a little higher—”
“Well, yes, we could,” said Vimes, coming down the steps. He glanced at the sheets of paper in front of Reg. The man cared. He really did. And he was serious. He really was. “But…well, Reg, tomorrow the sun will come up again, and I’m pretty sure that whatever happens we won’t have found Freedom, and there won’t be a whole lot of Justice, and I’m damn sure we won’t have found Truth. But it’s just possible that I might get a hard-boiled egg.”
It’s a pleasure for me to see again and again, on all those countless rereads, how well-done Pratchett’s books are. He trusts his readers to get it without beating them over the head with it, and the readers can trust him to get it right, every time.

5 hardboiled eggs. 5 lilac sprigs. And those seven graves.

It gets me every time, this book.
“No,” said Vimes, coming to a halt under a lamp by the crypt entrance. “How dare you? How dare you! At this time! In this place! They did the job they didn’t have to do, and they died doing it, and you can’t give them anything. Do you understand? They fought for those who’d been abandoned, they fought for one another, and they were betrayed. Men like them always are. What good would a statue be? It’d just inspire new fools to believe they’re going to be heroes. They wouldn’t want that. Just let them be. Forever.”


Thanks for buddy read, Carol. I hope this time around Sam Vimes wins your heart just a little bit.
Profile Image for carol..
1,572 reviews8,224 followers
June 21, 2022
In one timeline, I read this in 2015 and it was a total miss even though I had an affection for the character of Sam Vines. It quite possibly had to do with an attempt I was making to understand Pratchett and appreciate him as much as his fans do by reading the series in order.

In another timeline, 2021 to be exact, I started re-reading with an enthusiastic book buddy, trading off a hyper-Pratchett-esque indy book that was exhausting me with Three Stooges antics and fourth wall-breaking asides.

In the second timeline, a mere six chronological years, one pandemic, and approximately four hundred emotional decades later, I realized what a lovely--yes, you read that right, I called Pratchett 'lovely'--meditation on aging, responsibility, consequences, and history this was. It is very much a swan song of a book, an ode to prior characters who often make brief but important appearances, whether in their young or aged selves. It is a book that will no doubt land better with the aged reader who can viscerally feel Vimes' perspective:

"You’re not me, he thought. I don’t think I was ever as young as you. If you’re going to be me, it’s going to take a lot of work. Thirty damn years of being hammered on the anvil of life, you poor bastard. You’ve got it all to come."

I realized as I was reading Pratchett that my earlier book was so focused on being funny that it failed to contrast or highlight with an emotional counter-point. Here, Pratchett has the occasional extreme such as farcical bragging or ridiculous incompetence, but also contains all these other emotional notes and sad histories.

Surprisingly, there's also quite a bit about political unrest and revolutions, particularly unsettling in its accuracy to a tumultuous 2020.

“No. The *protest* was over the price of bread, said Vimes’s inner voice. The riot was what happens when you have panicking people trapped between idiots on horseback and other idiots shouting “yeah, right!” and trying to push forward, and the whole thing in the charge of a fool advised by a maniac with a steel rule.”

Bringing to mind all the protests of 2020.

"People said things like “Quite possibly we shall never know the truth” which meant, in Vimes’s personal lexicon, “I know, or think I know what the truth is, and hope like hell it doesn’t come out, because things are all smoothed over now.”

Bringing to mind the lack of accountability post insurrection.

But the most insightful commentary on politics was yet to come:

“Vimes had spent his life on the streets and had met decent men, and fools, and people who’d steal a penny from a blind beggar, and people who performed silent miracles or desperate crimes every day behind the grubby windows of little houses, but he’d never met The People.

People on the side of The People always ended up disappointed, in any case. They found that The People tended not to be grateful or appreciative or forward-thinking or obedient. The People tended to be small-minded and conservative and not very clever and were even distrustful of cleverness. And so, the children of the revolution were faced with the age-old problem: it wasn’t that you had the wrong kind of government, which was obvious, but that you had the wrong kind of people.

As soon as you saw people as things to be measured, they didn’t measure up.”

If that doesn't say something about all groups, than you didn't read it very well.

A quite excellent, if occasionally melancholic re-read, at least from the 2021 timeline perspective. May we all return to the timeline where there's someone we love (but I'll pass on the baby).

Many, many thanks to Nataliya, her enthusiasm and her insights!

The first timeline review: (spoiler for length, not actual spoilers.
Profile Image for Leah.
48 reviews11 followers
July 30, 2008
My favourite Pratchett novel, but I'm not really sure why.

I think that Sam Vimes' being in it definitely helps: I think my favourite "series" in the Discworld novels are the City Watch series (along with the witches of Lancre and Death). His character arc really comes to a head in this one, even though he still has another level to go to in Thud!

I also think that time travel being in it also definitely helps. Though not the quantum, metaphysical, zany fun of Thief of Time (though Lu Tze makes an appearance), this trip through the Trousers of Time is meaningful, poignant, even tragic.

Oh. I think this was the first Discworld novel to make me cry. I don't cry a lot when I read: rarely do I even get weepy. Discworld always, always makes me laugh (a lot); it makes me want to write, wonder, think, grin, ponder, mull, and all that... but this book was the first to make me cry.

I think this is the first Discworld novel in which I really realized that Pratchett is who I want to be as a writer. Night Watch is funny, yes... it's fantasy, yes... but it's more than that. It's human. It tells a story of being human. Pratchett has some great characters with great arcs (like Moist in Going Postal), and he has some epic, meaty stories (like Thud!) with so much behind them you can hardly breathe... but Sam Vimes, in Night Watch, is about as truly human as Pratchett gets.

And that is probably why this is my favourite Discworld novel.
Profile Image for Melindam.
665 reviews294 followers
August 7, 2023

The layers, depth, dimensions, angles and edges that Pratchett gives to Sam Vimes is beyond awesome and reach their pinnacle in this novel as well as in Thud!, the next book in the Night Watch subseries.

"People are content to wait a long time for salvation, but prefer dinner to turn up inside an hour."

“And so the children of the revolution were faced with the age-old problem: it wasn't that you had the wrong kind of government, which was obvious, but that you had the wrong kind of people."

"His Grace, His Excellency, The Duke of Ankh; Commander Sir Samuel Vimes" has been my acknowledged, unconquerable Discworld/literary C*R*U*S*H ever since the 1st book about the Night Watch, Guards! Guards!.
I would choose him over Mr Darcy & that's saying somethin'. Shame none of the Watch-books were put to film, I could have imagined the divine Alan Rickman (R.I.P.) playing him to perfection.

But the time has come to reveal my -so far- secret (hush)crush on Lord Vetinari.

A) He is awesome & unattainable & we would be totally mismatched as a couple.
B) Terry Pratchett is genius.
C) I blame Jeremy Irons & Charles Dance.
D) All the above.



I also love the relationship between Vimes & Vetinari, the grudging respect they have for on another:


Night Watch is a brilliant book & my undisputed favourite of the Ankh-Morpork City Watch series (and believe me, I love them all).

TIME / TIMING are given new dimensions with Vimes living on borrowed time, being behind/ahead of times at the same time.

And he is literally walking down Memory Lane when he finds himself transported back 30 years earlier and has the terrifying/wonderful chance to teach his younger self (a rookie of the Night Watch) some policing while trying to deal with the sinister politics of those times and getting some support from the time Monks led by Lu Tze, the Sweeper.

I loved meeting the young Vetinari, Rosie Palm, Dibbler, Nobby, Fred & Reg Shoe and also some new characters, like Mossy Lane, the "pox doctor" and Sandra Battye who is a real seamstress (&actually knows how to sew).
Profile Image for Paromjit.
2,711 reviews25k followers
February 5, 2022
I had forgotten what incredible range Terry Pratchett had as a writer, this addition to the City Watch series set in the Discworld, Night Watch is one of his absolute best, featuring one of my favourite characters, Sam Vimes, who amazingly gets to meet his younger rookie self. As he is chasing a serial killer in the present, only to be facing numerous pitfalls and challenges from the past, after a magical incident that occurs has him travelling back in time with the killer. There is heartbreak, philosophy and tragedy in this brilliant novel laden with humanity and an astute social and political commentary on the world that we live in, and which has Sam providing a mentoring role to his younger self. This is the last of the books in the series that I have reread, offered to readers by the publisher Random House Transworld, and I really cannot thank them enough for the opportunity to once again immerse myself in this superb fantasy series, which if you have never read, you are really missing out on.
Profile Image for Lyn.
1,882 reviews16.6k followers
January 19, 2019
Terry Pratchett may have been the coolest writer on earth.

Certainty one of the coolest.

In 1969, Steve Winwood and his band mates in Blind Faith (some little known musicians named Eric Clapton, Ginger Baker and Ric Grech) sang these beautiful lyrics in the haunting song Can’t Find My Way Home.

“Come down off your throne and leave your body alone
Somebody must change
You are the reason I've been waiting all these years
Somebody holds the key

Well, I'm near the end and I just ain't got the time
And I'm wasted and I can't find my way home”

In 2002 Pratchett first published his 29th Discworld book, the hauntingly beautiful Night Watch, in which we gentle readers learned that heroic as Sam Vimes was before, Pratchett had not yet demonstrated to what degree of heroism was this character drawn.

Exploring themes of leadership, identity, revolution and justice Nigh Watch is at once one of Pratchett’s most satisfying Discworld novels and perhaps it’s most somber and dark.

There are still plenty of smiles, some laughs, but Pratchett, taking a page from the Dickens playbook of vilifying what is villainous and making courageous what is valiant at it heart, demonstrates his great range of writing ability. Sam Vimes, while chasing a murderous bad guy, is flung back in time to when he had first joined the Watch, amidst tensions that threatened to tear his city apart.

Buried amidst each Terry Pratchett Discworld are golden nuggets of cultural references – readers can search and find them and have fun like kids on Easter Sunday finding eggs. My favorite here were two jewels of PINK FLOYD and THE WHO references.

One of his best.

Profile Image for Matt's Fantasy Book Reviews.
264 reviews3,958 followers
April 4, 2022
A good Discworld book that explores the early lives of City Watch characters

Check out my new youtube channel where I show my instant reactions to reading fantasy books seconds after I finish the book.

Night Watch is a solid entry into the Discworld universe, but unfortunately for me it rates lower than some of the earlier City Watch books. While it is more thought provoking than the other City Watch books, it doesn't deliver as many laugh out loud moments.

Please don't get me wrong, I really enjoyed reading this book. But I've read from many people that this is the best Discworld book and I wanted to like it a lot more than I did. I did like that it successfully integrated reading about the earlier lives of many characters that I know and love, and was one of the better books I've read that tried to pull that off. But I go into Discworld books wanting to smile the whole time, and laugh every few pages -- and this just didn't happen.

Scores of Discworld books I have read thus far.
Feet of Clay *****
Guards! Guards! *****
Men at Arms *****
Small Gods *****
Hogfather ****
Interesting Times ****
The Last Continent ****
The Last Hero ****
Mort ****
Moving Pictures ****
Night Watch ****
Reaper Man ****
Sourcery ****
The Fifth Elephant ****
The Thief of Time ****
The Truth ****
Wyrd Sisters ****
Equal Rites ***
Jingo ***
Pyramids ***
The Light Fantastic ***
Lords and Ladies ***
The Colour of Magic ***
Witches Abroad ***
Maskerade **
Soul Music **
Carpe Jugulum **
Eric **
Profile Image for Ahmad Sharabiani.
9,564 reviews33 followers
March 14, 2021
Night Watch (Discworld, #29; City Watch, #6), Terry Pratchett

On the morning of the 30th anniversary of the Glorious Revolution of the Twenty-Fifth of May (and as such the anniversary of the death of John Keel, Vimes' hero and former mentor), Sam Vimes — whose wife is in labor with their first child — is caught in a magical storm while pursuing Carcer, a notorious criminal. He awakens to find that he has somehow been sent back in time.

Vimes's first idea is to ask the wizards at the Unseen University to send him home, but before he can act on this, he is arrested for breaking curfew by a younger version of himself.

Incarcerated in a cell next to his is Carcer, who after being released joins the Unmentionables, the secret police carrying out the paranoid whims of the Patrician of the time, Lord Winder.

When he is taken to be interrogated by the captain, time is frozen by Lu-Tze, who tells Vimes what has happened and that he must assume the identity of Sergeant-At-Arms John Keel, who was to have arrived that day but was murdered by Carcer.

It is stated that the event which caused Vimes and Carcer to be sent into the past was a major temporal shattering. Vimes then returns to the office, time restarts and he convinces the captain that he is Keel.

تاریخ نخستین خوانش روز بیست و پنجم ماه ژانویه سال 2021میلادی

عنوان: دیسک ورلد (جهان صفحه) کتاب بیست و نهم، ساعت شب (نگهبان شب)؛ نویسنده: تری پرچت؛ موضوع داستانهای نویسندگان بریتانیایی - سده 21م

دیسک ورلد (جهان صفجه)، یک سری از کتابهای فانتزی هستند، که روانشاد «تری پرچت»، نویسنده ی «انگلیسی»، نگاشته ‌اند؛ داستان‌های این سری در جهانی با نام «دیسک‌ ورلد (جهان صفحه)» می‌گذرند؛ که صفحه‌ ای تخت است، و بر شانه‌ های چهار فیل با هیکلهای بزرگ قرار دارد؛ ا��ن فیل‌ها نیز، به نوبه ی خود بر روی پشت یک لاک‌پشت غول‌آسا، با نام «آتوئین بزرگ» قرار دارند؛ در این سری از کتابها، بارها از سوژه های کتاب‌های نویسندگانی همچون «جی.آر.آر تالکین»، «رابرت هاوارد»، «اچ پی لاوکرافت» و «ویلیام شکسپیر» به گونه ای خنده دار استفاده شده ‌است؛

از سری «دیسک ‌ورلد» بیشتر از هشتاد میلیون نسخه، در سی و هفت زبان، به فروش رفته‌ است؛ این سری در برگیرنده ی بیش از چهل رمان (تاکنون چهل و یک رمان)، یازده داستان کوتاه، چهار کتاب علمی، و چندین کتاب مرجع، و مکمل است؛ از این سری، چندین رمان تصویری، بازی کامپیوتری، نمایش تئاتر، سریالهای تلویزیونی اقتباس شده ‌است؛ روزنامه ی «ساندی تایمز» چاپ «انگلستان» از این سری به عنوان یکی از پرفروش‌ترین سری کتاب‌ها نام برده، و «تری پرچت» را، به عنوان پرفروش‌ترین نویسنده ی «انگلستان»، در دهه ی نود میلادی دانسته است؛

رمان‌های «دیسک‌ورلد» جوایز بسیاری از جمله جایزه «پرومتئوس»، و مدال ادبی «کارنگی» را، از آن خود کرده ‌اند؛ در نظرسنجی «بیگ رید»، که «بی‌بی‌سی» در سال 2003میلادی، در «انگلستان» انجام داد، چهار رمان سری «دیسک‌ورلد»؛ در فهرست یکصد کتاب برتر قرار گرفتند؛ همچنین مردمان «انگلیس»، در این نظرسنجی، چهارده رمان «دیسک‌ورلد» را، در شمار دویست کتاب برتر، دانستند؛ تا کن��ن، از این سری، چهل و یک رمان، به چاپ رسیده است؛ «تری پرچت» که پیش از درگذشتش؛ در ابتدای سال 2015میلادی، از بیماری «آلزایمر» رنج می‌بردند، اعلام کردند که خوشحال می‌شوند که دخترشان، «ریانا پرچت»، به جای ایشان، به ادامه ی این سری بپردازند؛ جلد بیست و ششم رمان از این سری، تا رمان «دزد زمان (2001میلادی)» بدست «جاش کربی»، به تصویر کشیده شده ‌اند، اما نسخه ‌های «آمریکایی»، که انتشارات «هارپرکالینز» آن‌ها را، منتشر کرده، دارای تصاویر روی جلد متفاوتی هستند؛ پس از درگذشت «جاش کربی»، در سال 2001میلادی، نقاشی‌های روی جلد کتاب‌های بعدی این سری، بدست «پائول کربی» کشیده‌ شدند

در کتاب بیست و نهم، با عنوان «ساعت شب (برندهٔ جایزهٔ پرومتئوس سال 2003میلادی، هفتاد و سومین کتاب در فهرست بیگ رید، نامزد جایزهٔ لوکاس 2003میلادی)»؛ در صبح سی امین سالگرد انقلاب شکوهمند بیست و پنجم ماه مه (و به همین ترتیب سالگرد مرگ «جان کیل»، قهرمان و مربی پیشین «سام ویمز»)، «سام ویمز» که همسرش، برای نخستین بار در حال زایمان است - هنگام پیگرد یک جنایتکار بدنام به نام «کارسر»، در یک طوفان جادویی گرفتار، و میفهمد که به نوعی به گذشته برگشته است و ...؛

تاریخ بهنگام رسانی 23/12/1399هجری خورشیدی؛ ا. شربیانی
Profile Image for Speedtribes.
121 reviews7 followers
September 24, 2007
While Terry Pratchett is known for the humor in his Discworld series, I enjoy them primarily because-- while on the surface, his books do indeed classify as humor, he also writes these almost painful realities, very human thoughts and incredibly immersive emotions in situations that you generally don't find in most humorous fantasy/sci-fi which tends more towards parody and caricatures. Though, I wouldn’t exactly say that the Discworld series isn't a parody-- because his books are parodies, or social commentaries. They just happen to parody the real world more than parodying the fantasy genre.

In the Nightwatch series of books, this being the first one, you are introduced to a series of ragtag characters who are disrespected and disillusioned. Then a Heroic character is introduced into the ranks. This Heroic character proves to be the inspiration and catalyst necessary for the members of the Nightwatch to stand up and finally do what they wanted to do somewhere deep in their hearts (even if, in some characters' cases, this need was buried very deeply). Be upright, respectable guards. Uphold the law. They wanted to make a difference. They wanted to matter.

And by the end of the story, they do.

The conclusion of this story had me nearly in tears-- it was humble and inspirational, and an entirely hilariously exciting read. I have so much love for them and their story. <3

Profile Image for Phrynne.
3,324 reviews2,145 followers
May 21, 2018
This was a reread but it has been so long that I did not remember much of it at all, so it was just like reading it for the first time.

Two of my favourite Discworld characters are Vimes and Vetinari and since they both featured in this book it had to be a success in my mind! I loved the way Pratchett created an alternative past and we got to see Vimes as a young man as well as the well worn cynic that we know so well. Plus a tiny bit of back story for Vetinari did not go amiss.

Terry Pratchett will always be one of my go to authors when I want to read a book I know I will enjoy. Fortunately I have two whole shelves devoted just to him. Such a shame he left us much too soon.
Profile Image for Laure.
134 reviews68 followers
March 24, 2017
I really enjoyed listening to this audio book. I thought the narrator was excellent with the different character's voices. It was all very entertaining. I adored the humour and the wit present throughout the book. It was the first book from Terry Pratchett I have read - I am not sure why I waited so long to read any of his output - but it will certainly not be the last. A fanstatic read.
Profile Image for Ms. Smartarse.
604 reviews260 followers
July 15, 2018
Following a magical accident, City Watch Commander Samuel Vimes finds himself in the Ankh Morpork of his youth. The good news is that the criminal he was chasing has also joined him in the past, so no more cop murders in the present time. The bad news is, that said criminal has more than enough charisma to join and thrive in the Day Watch of the time: a cruel organization way above the law.

To keep up with the man, Sam Vimes will infiltrate the Night Watch, adopting the identity of his childhood hero, John Keel. Luckily, it's not like our favorite City Watch commander is without help. The History Monks are working round the clock (hah!) to ensure his safe return to the present. So in the meantime, Vimes might as well take up his role in the upcoming civil war that has been brewing in the streets for some time.

Ankh Morpork in flames

For fans and connoisseurs of the Ankh Morpork City Watch series, this book is such a treat. We get to see Sam Vimes turn into his own chidlhood hero, as he skillfully navigates the tactical and political pitfalls of a lawless city on the brink of war. It was positively exhillariating to see our commander protect his turf and slowly but surely expand it. And all it (apparently) took, was to follow a few common sense rules.

But here's some advice, boy. Don't put your trust in revolutions. They always come around again. That's why they're called revolutions.

Truth! Freedom! Justice! And a hard-boiled egg!

My favorite parts however, were old-Vimes' mentoring moments with 6-year-old Nobby, and the young Vimesy. The first one, as a handy spy, and the second one (primarily) out of dire necessity. After all, it wouldn't do to have his past self die now, if old-Vimes wanted to have a future to return to.

Old and young Vimes

Nobby's brow creased in genuine puzzlement. 'What's pulling wobblers mean?' he said.
Vimes gave him a similar look. Street parly had changed a lot in thirty years.
'That's stealing trifles... small items. Isn't it?'
'Nah, nah, mister. That's "tottering nevils",' said Nobby relaxing. 'But you ain't doing badly, for someone who's new. '

Vimes held up Nobby. 'See this?' he said.
'Is it a monkey?' said the woman.
'Har, har, very funny,' moaned Nobby, as Vimes lowered him again.

'Just one more thing, Nobby...'
'Yes, sarge?' said Nobby, still spooning.
'Give me back my notebook, my handkerchief and the four pennies you whizzed from my pockets, will you?'
Nobby opened his mouth to protest, dribbling slumgullet, but closed it when he saw the glint in Vimes' eye. Sliently, he produced the items from various horrible pockets.

Score: 4/5 stars

Four well-deserved stars for a poignant, funny, bitter-sweet and nostalgic as heck origin story on Sam Vimes, Havelock Vetinari, as well as several important members of the (future) City/Night Watch.

... and did I mention there's quite a bit on young Vetinari, the apprentice assasin? Because there is, and it's brilliant! Just sayin'.

Other books featuring the Night Watch:
Review of the 1st book: Guards! Guards!
Review of the 2nd book: Men at Arms
Review of the 3rd book: Feet of Clay
Review of the 4th book: Jingo
Review of the 5th book: The Fifth Elephant
Review of the 7th book: Thud!
Review of the 8th book: Snuff
131 reviews8 followers
December 4, 2013
I may have said this when I finished the last Discworld book but this was by far the best Discworld book yet. Perhaps the best Pratchett book I've read. I loved it. It was not laugh out loud funny the way many of Pratchett's books are but it was so good. It was darker, delving into the history of Ankh-Morpork (Discworld's largest city) and allowing us glimpses into the past of several repeat characters, primarily Sam Vimes, Commander of the Night Watch, but also Lord Vetinari, Patrician of Ankh-Morpork, and several others. Pratchett has an amazing talent at looking at universal themes from a fresh perspective, poking fun at our preconceived notions, and simply making us think. This book looked into the black hearts of men but rather than having to go into gory detail, Pratchett knows we can imagine more horrors than he could write and so he leaves us to our own minds. This book has such merit I would recommend anyone to read it but you can't fully appreciate its complexities or the heartbreak and challenges of the characters without having read the other books that pertain particularly to the Night Watch. Sam Vimes has come such a long way. In the first book he's featured in, he's a drunk with a horrible outlook on life, merely a captain, no family, no life except for the Watch. Now, several books and years later, he is a Duke, the Commander of the Watch, sober, married and about to have a child. I have never seen such redemption in a character and have to wonder if Vimes isn't Pratchett's favorite character. Rather than let him stew in his own miserableness (as typical cop movies, books, shows do) Vimes rises above his own demons to know another, better world (and he doesn't sacrifice any of his character to do so). I was very much looking forward to reading this book and was never let down.
Profile Image for Morganlise.
11 reviews19 followers
February 17, 2009
If I could give this book ten stars, I would. In fact, it makes me rethink all of the other books that I've given five stars, perhaps they don't deserve it...

Here's the problem: This book isn't going to have the right impact unless you've read, at the very least, three of the previous Ankh-Morpork Night Watch books. Please, if you have heard about Pratchett and are looking for some place to start, go with "Guards Guards!" or "Mort", and read a few more before you embark on this one. You'll thank me later.

Thanks to time travel, we get to go back in time and see many of our favorite Ankh-Morpork characters in the tail end of the bad old days that many would like to forget. And it's no wonder - Ankh-Morpork is ruled by a fascist Patrician who had imposed a city-wide curfew, and, due to his paranoia, is having his "Unmentionables" round up anyone who might be a dissident and torturing them into giving information. Vimes chased a totally Bursar criminal with no morals onto the roof of the Unseen University Library, and through a freak electrical storm, winds up back in the days when he himself was a rookie in the AM Night Watch. The criminal, Carcer, killed the man who Vimes remembered from the time as being his role model, John Keel, leaving Vimes to step into his place and try to guide the events of the Glorious Twenty-Fifth of May to their necessary conclusion. But could Vimes change the path of history this time and spare the lives of a few good men? Or is history doomed to repeat itself?

This is my favorite Discworld novel, and that is an incredibly hard title to come by. I find it to be incredibly moving and emotional, and it makes me cry every time. "All the little angels rise up, rise up..."
Profile Image for Emiliya Bozhilova.
1,366 reviews224 followers
February 20, 2023
”Хората на страната на Народа неизменно оставаха разочаровани […] Откриваха, че Народът не е склонен да бъде благодарен, признателен, прозорлив и послушен. Народът по-скоро беше дребнав, тесногръд, не особено умен и дори подозрително настроен към умните. Затова децата на революцията се натъкваха на твърде стар проблем - не само управниците са неподходящи […], ами и Народът не е какъвто трябва.”

Това беше първата ми отдавнашна среща с Пратчет, и беше като удар в стена. Игра на котка и мишка между ченге и престъпник с пътуване във времето, власт, политика, тирания и тайни служби, къкреща революция... И вяра в несломимата човечност, която ще устои и ще се противопостави на всяка тирания, подкрепена където трябва със здравите юмрук, разсъдък и човеколюбие на командир Ваймс. Малко хумор и сатира колкото за цвят, все пак сме в света на Диска. Галерия от незабравими образи.


🧹 “Два вида хора се надсмиват над законите - първите ги нарушават, а вторите ги създават”

🧹 “- Във Вестника съобщават, че Борогравия е нахлула в Мулдавия.
- Това добре ли е? Не я помня къде се намира.
- И двете са принадлежали към Мрачната империя, сър.
- Ние на чия страна сме?
- Сър, във Вестника се казва, че трябва да подкрепим малка Мулдавия стещу агресора.
- Значи вече харесвам Борогравия - отсече Ваймс.”

🧹 “Нямаше съмнение, че психопатите се оправят по-лесно в живота.”

🧹 “Ваймс откри, че предпочита да чака заповеди от властта, а после да ги прецежда през ситото на здравия разум, като щедро примесва изобретателна способност да не ги разбира и дори зачатъци на глухота, ако обстоятелствата я налагат, защото властта рядко слиза на уличното равнище.”

🧹 “Върху тъмния екран на нощта Ваймс си представи Анкх-Морпорк. Не град, а процес, тежест върху света, която изкривяваше земите на хиляди километри оттук. Хора, които никога нямаше да го зърнат през живота си, въпреки това прекарваха живота си в работа за града. Хиляди и хиляди зелени декари бяха част от него. […]. Той засмукваше и поглъщаше […] и даваше в замяна […] сажди от комините си, стомана, тигани и всички инструменти, с които се произвежда храната. Също храни, мода, идеи, интересни пороци, песни и знания, а и нещо, което видяно през подходящото осветление, щеше да се нарече цивилизация.”
Profile Image for Julie.
2,013 reviews38 followers
December 22, 2022
I just loved it! It's a parody of every day life as we live and breathe it. Favorite quotes: "The garden didn't get much proper light. Gardens like this never did. You got second-hand light once the richer folk in the taller buildings had finished with it," [...] "But it'd take magic beans to reach real sunlight in gardens like this," and, "Push off and get us two cups of tea lad will you! One green with yak butter and Mr. Vimes will have it boiled orange in a builder's boat with two sugars and yesterday's milk." This is a reference to what we call Builder's tea in England, a strong brew of black tea, usually made by leaving the teabags in the teapot to stew for a long time. I grew up in England, and we made tea for everyone who came to call, whether they were the plumber, or selling insurance, or making a delivery, they all got a cup of hot black tea with milk. Indeed, tea was drunk on every occasion, and my instinct on hearing bad news to this day, is first to make a cup of tea. Definitely one of my favorites in this series.

Update: 12/22/22 - Every bit as good second time around!
Profile Image for Tijana.
765 reviews206 followers
July 6, 2021
Odlično se sećam svog prvog čitanja Noćne straže, možda što sam tad prvi put čitala friško objavljenu najnoviju knjigu u serijalu o Disksvetu, pa sam to doživela kao nešto posebno - i tvrde korice i drugačiju, manje drečavu ilustraciju (svaka čast Kirbiju, ali njegove naslovnice bile su jedinstveno ružne) i uopšte sve. Ali za vreme tog čitanja se u meni iskristalisalo jasno osećanje: super je ovo, ne, sjajno je, ali sad zaista nema dalje, sad je dosta, doterao si do vrhunca, ljuljaš se na samom špicu i odavde može samo naniže.

Ne znam šta da dodam, eto, nisam promenila mišljenje otada.

Disksvet, jelte, obuhvata više manjih serijala prema kojima se razni ljudi različito odnose. Npr. ja Rinsvinda i sve sa njim u vezi zdušno prezirem, Smrt mi je uspelija kao epizodista nego kao glavni lik, veštice su mi uvek kvalitetne a knjige o Straži žarko ljubim, Men at Arms je prva Pračetova knjiga koja mi se otvorila kako treba i zatvorila me u Disksvet. I baš zato sam pratila romane o Straži i investirala se u epsko napredovanje i uzdizanje Sema Vajmsa - moralno, profesionalno, bogami i finansijsko, kako god hoćete. Nismo samo mi čitaoci zavoleli Vajmsa; zavoleo ga je i autor i sve štedrije ga darivao iz knjige u knjigu. I u Noćnoj straži je to prosto doseglo vrhunac. Premisa je kvalitetna i izvođenje je super, i humor je tu, i glavobolne zavrzlame, i ozbiljna poruka iza njih, ali naprosto - Vajms je ovde postao toliko savršen i toliko superherojski da bi svaka dodatna mrva pretegla tas na "fuj" stranu.

Profile Image for Algernon (Darth Anyan).
1,529 reviews979 followers
March 31, 2012
One of the best books in the Discworld series. The story revolves around Sam Vimes, and it's a very good example of the author's shift from slapstick comedy to a subtler form of humor and to targetting in his imaginary world real problems from the world we live in.
Using the plot device of time travel, the author throws the Commander of the Ankh-Morpork City Watch back to a revolutionary episode of the city history and to his own apprenticeship in the Watch. The theme offers the author rich pickings in lampooning both moneyed olygarchy and revolutionary zealots. It's easy to see why Sam Vimes is becoming one of my favorite characters from Discworld - he is a pragmatist and a cynic who expects the worst from his fellow men, yet does not give up, and "concentrates on the job at hand" , he fights dirty when it needs to be done, and he fights for his principles even when nobody else cares. His fondness for the city and its unruly inhabitants shine through the soles of his cheap boots, telling their own history to the perceptive mind.

The book has an added attraction in the encounters with younger versions of staple characters like Cut-Me-Own-Throat-Dibbler, Nobby Nobbs, Vetinari or Reg Shoe.

I will continue with the series, and I wish we could have many more years and many more books from the author.
Profile Image for Megan Baxter.
985 reviews663 followers
May 19, 2014
Somehow Terry Pratchett seems to go down particularly well when I'm not feeling at my best. I've read several that I've enjoyed but not been particularly grabbed by. In comparison, the times that I've read one of his books while sick or exhausted, I have liked them a whole lot more.

Note: The rest of this review has been withdrawn due to the changes in Goodreads policy and enforcement. You can read why I came to this decision here.

In the meantime, you can read the entire review at Smorgasbook
Profile Image for Thibault Busschots.
Author 3 books80 followers
November 28, 2022
Sam Vimes, the idealistic commander of the City Watch, hunts down the killer of several watchmen and follows him up to a rooftop in the middle of a magical storm. Suddenly they get struck by lightning, which catapults them both into the past. One of the first things the killer does after arrival is kill John Keel. History Monk Lu-Tze freezes time for Sam Vimes and explains to him that this is a major problem. Vimes idolized John Keel when they were in the Watch together. John Keel not only taught Vimes what it means to be a good copper, he is also responsible for Vimes’ firm belief in justice. Without John Keel, there would be no Sam Vimes. And John Keel was just killed, right before he was supposed to join the Watch and meet a young Vimes. The only way to save the present, is to recreate the past as best as possible. The only way to do that, is for Sam Vimes to assume the identity of John Keel and become the mentor of his own young self.

The story basically shows us the impact one good mentor can have on the life of a person. It’s also just a very fascinating concept. As John Keel, Vimes' hero and former mentor, turns out to be Vimes himself from the future. This is so cool and also so absolutely brilliant.

The character development is incredibly good. Sam Vimes is easily one of the best characters Pratchett ever created. So exploring his past is just a really good idea. He’s the most developed and most interesting protagonist in the Discworld series. He’s also a very fascinating character. His cynicism, streets smarts and his grasp of human nature clash so hard with his pure, idealistic thoughts. But it’s his idealistic nature that makes sure he will always try to do the right thing. Because deep down, he cares. He will always try to make the world a better place, no matter how much he doesn’t like the way the world works all around him.

The Discworld series is of course known for its brilliant comedy. So it’s very interesting to note that there really isn’t much comedy to be found in this book. The serious and rather dark tone of this novel makes it stand out a lot from the other Discworld novels in all the right ways. It also makes the revolution this story revolves around feel much more grim, serious and important. It makes you pay attention. Because this story tries to send a very important message to us readers. And it’s clear Pratchett didn’t want to see his message get lost in between some good jokes.

The Discworld’s City Watch books are some of the best books ever written. This is easily one of the best books in the series.
Profile Image for Lightreads.
641 reviews534 followers
December 28, 2008
Another Watch novel, in which Sam Vimes Is accidentally transported decades into the past in pursuit of a murderous psychopath, whereupon he must play the part of the old Sergeant who first taught young Lance Corporal Sam Vimes what it means to be a copper. Meanwhile, political unrest spreads across the city, the old Patrician is on his way out, and the barricades are going up. Vimes knows what’s going to happen – he was there after all – and he’s visited the graves every year since. And now he’s got to do it again.

Oh. Oh, oh, oh. Okay, I’m fine – it will take a lot more than this book to reduce me to a gibbering, inarticulate wreck. This isn’t as funny as some Discworld novels, by which I mean that it’s not as giddily hilarious, though it is dry and sarcastic and unflaggingly witty. Pratchett usually has a selection of particular targets for that wit, and this time around It’s Les Miserables, which he sort of turns inside out and upside down and then sets it going with a gentle pat. This is a book about doing the job that’s in front of you, about being clever in the face of stupidity. Vimes starts out just trying to catch a killer, and ends up trying to assure his own future and, by the end, save as many innocent bystanders as possible from being crushed between the military machine and the shifting tides of political power. Because Vimes is a copper. His master is the law, and this book wholeheartedly believes that the law is not something we are given by higher authority, it’s something we’ve got just because we are.

And that’s what I love about the Watch novels, I think. They’ve got a keen, unerring nose for the right of the thing, and a deep disdain for those who maintain there is no right. And by ‘they,’ I mean Sam Vimes. Vimes believes in things like justice and truth with a purity and strength which should be laughable, and which is usually idiotically obnoxious in a hero. But Vimes’s justice and truth aren’t the cheap knock-offs, manufactured of pasteboard and excuses glued together with a stew of stick-up-your-ass. They’re the real thing, and they’re worth it. And that’s just so wonderfully refreshing after spending too long navigating between two equally irritating options – the books that’ve never heard of a shade of gray, and the ones who think absolutes are just way too much fucking work, so better chuck away the whole mess in a nihilistic tantrum. (Sorry. That last one, in particular, really gets on the nerves of this pragmatist with an idealist’s heart).

So these books make me happy because they believe in things with towering strength, and the things they believe in are actually worth it.

Also, I love Sam Vimes with every fiber of my being.
Profile Image for Bradley.
Author 5 books4,102 followers
October 26, 2019
I think I misremembered this one. This is a re-read. I didn't remember it being quite this good when I put the stars down in 2013 for when I read it almost a decade prior.

But you know what? This might be one of my top favorite Pratchett novels.

It may have something to do with the SF element. Maybe it has everything to do with a time-traveling Vimes being a mentor to himself, a big, bad, patriotic battle in the heart of Ankh-Morpork, and some classic Discworld history and a very young Havelock Vetinari entertaining the crap out of me.

If you weren't there, then go away. Wise words.

Fortunately, WE can be there on that fateful day!


There wasn't a single thing I didn't like about this novel.
Profile Image for Mark.
405 reviews14 followers
April 21, 2022
Audio version.
My first Pratchett. Not sure why it took me so long, aside from my natural contrarian bent, to finally see what I had been missing.

(time passes)

This is really good. Intelligent, deeply amusing if not always clever, interesting plot and well-developed characters.

In a way, quite like Robert Asprin in good form. More intelligent than most of Piers Anthony’s fantasy stuff and deeper. More British, yes. Quite British. Flagrantly, outlandishly British at times.
Profile Image for Ashley.
2,772 reviews1,771 followers
July 29, 2021
Once again I am about to write an inferior review of a Terry Pratchett book. The problem is compounded here because this is the best Discworld book I've read so far. The better the Pratchett book, the more it speaks to me, the more incapable I am of articulating why I loved it so much. I just get so overwhelmed.

There couldn't be a worse time for Sam Vimes to accidentally time travel. He's literally about to be a father at any moment, and he's mid-chase to catch a violent criminal that has been terrorizing the city and the Watch for months. But time travel he does! And on the anniversary of an uprising in the city, where good men were lost, including his own mentor. Turns out Vimes is his own mentor. Or at least, will be in this timeline. Vimes gets caught up in a semi-revolution, as the people rise up and a corrupt leader is taken down. Another problem: the violent criminal, Carcer, has time traveled back with him.
"I'll get suspicious."

"You'll have to make it convincing."

"I'll still be suspicious."

"You won't even trust yourself?"

"I'm a devious character. I could be hiding something."

Thirty years ago Ankh-Morpork is, impressively, even more of a lawless, dirty place than it is nowadays, with Vimes running the watch, and Lord Vetinari as the Patrician. In old Ankh-Morpork, Vimes is a only rookie on the watch, which is small and ineffectual, and doesn't yet embrace all its citizens. It is, so far, an (alive) human only endeavor.

I was surprised (I don't know why) by how insightful and timely this was, all while it was making me laugh. Pratchett has some nuanced, important things to say about policing and governance and duty, and the complicated nature of humanity (and, er, vampirity, trollness, werewolfness, etc). I said this on a status update, but basically this book is like if you added time travel to Les Miserables, and Vimes played all the major parts at the same time in one character.
"And so the children of the revolution were faced with the age-old problem: it wasn't that you had the wrong kind of government, which was obvious, but that you had the wrong kind of people.

As soon as you saw people as things to be measured, they didn't measure up."

I have loved all the City Watch books, and many other Discworld books, but there's something really special about this one. It's been almost twenty years since this was first published, and it feels just as fresh as it must have felt then. Vimes' particular brand of everyman hero, a perceptive, smart guy with a core of iron hard decency, is such a compelling foundation to rest the book on. Even as things fall apart around him, Vimes himself is a rock. It's also really fun to see how Pratchett handles time travel, and fun to see how he envisions Ankh-Morpork having evolved over the years. And the subject matter is somehow comforting and revolutionary at the same time (fitting for a book with a small revolution at its core).

Long live the Glorious People's Republic of Treacle Mine Road.
"Who knew what evil lurked in the hearts of men? A copper, that's who. After ten years, you thought you'd seen it all, but the shadows always dished up more. You saw how close men lived to The Beast. You found that people like Carcer were not mad. They were incredibly sane. They were simply men without a shield. They'd looked at the world and realized that all the rules didn't have to apply to them, not if they didn't want them to. They weren't fooled by all the little stories. They shook hands with The Beast.

But he, Sam Vimes, had stuck by the badge, except for that time when even that hadn't been enough and he'd stuck by the bottle instead . . .

He felt as if he'd stuck by the bottle now. The world was spinning. Where was the law? There was the barricade. Who was it protecting from what? The city was run by a madman and his shadowy chums, so where was the law?

Coppers liked to say that people shouldn't take the law into their own hands, and they thought they knew what they meant. But they were thinking about peaceful times, and men who went around to sort out a neighbor with a club because his dog had crapped once too often on their doorstep. But at times like these, who did the law belong to? If it shouldn't be in the hands of the people, where the hell should it be?"

Profile Image for Richard.
452 reviews108 followers
August 4, 2015

This is rated as one of the best Discworld novels out there, a number of friends put this at the top of a highly rated pile so coming into this on those high hopes didn't take much for it to fall short for me.

Don't get me wrong, I really enjoyed this. It's a Watch novel which involves time travel. Talk about a winning combo! Add into that seeing all the characters you enjoy reading about at an earlier stage in their life, a revolution, and some quite emotional scenes then you have a recipe for success. Sam Vimes teaching himself (a younger version of himself, time travel remember) tips and tricks on how to become the man he is stands out as some of the more interesting aspects of the Discworld series.

Why it fell a little flat? Me, in a word. Busy schedules and a weekend away drinking in excess meant that I couldn't get the story flowing, things were forgotten and motivation was low. This is definitely one of those books that would probably have impacted me more if I could have cracked at it quicker. A Discworld novel should take about 4-5 days for me to read, this took 11 which sums it up really.

So in summary, don't drink and read. I'll probably come back to this in the future and give it the time and attention it truly deserves.

If you like this try: "The Hogfather" by Terry Pratchett
Profile Image for Trish.
2,017 reviews3,436 followers
October 26, 2019
Justice! Freedom! Reasonably Priced Love! And a Hard-Boiled Egg!

This 29th Discworld novel has us go back to Ankh-Morpork again. Sam Vimes is about to be a father! But then, just when he thought that waiting for his wife to give birth was the most nerve-wrecking thing, timey-wimey stuff happens when he and The Watch are trying to apprehend a cop-killer on the memorial day of a revolution. So he ends up in the past, not least thanks to the intervention of The Library as well as Lu-Tze, and has to find his way home. Along the way, we get to se a wholly different side of the city and its citizens from a time when Vetinari was not Patrician (yes, it boggles the mind).

This book, mainly, is about politics, about The People, about freedom and justice as concepts as well as the reality of them. But it is also very much about what makes Sam Vimes be who he is. It was a deep character study as well as a look at history and its repetition.

Moreover, in addition to some of Pratchett's best writing including the well-known gems such as puns and turns of phrases, it was a mad dash. Theoretically, we all know more or less what happens to Vimes since we know there will be other The Watch books, but I was still fearing for him, sitting on the edge of my seat. And I wanted him to go give Carcer the justice that little shit deserved - preferrably without abandoning his principles. Not to mention that in this one case I actually wanted history to repeat itself since I knew where it would lead to. You see, I actually like Vetinari, his leadership style and what has become of Ankh-Morpork. Did it? Well, I shan't spoiler it for those of you who haven't read this madcap adventure yet.

I might be wearing a Lilac every 25th May (in addition to my towel) from now on. And now excuse me while I go and eat my hard-boiled egg.
Profile Image for TL .
1,879 reviews53 followers
April 28, 2015
I'm a sucker for a good story with time travel or reincarnation... I see a book with those themes and I snatch it up if I have the funds. There's just something about them :)

This one was on the good side... around page 240 or so it dragged for awhile but picked right back up. Other than that little blip, it kept my attention quite nicely and made me smile when I thought about Sam revisiting his memories and having doubts as to whether it was him or Keel.

I remember saying to him in my head "Don't think too hard on time travel, you'll only get a migraine"

The time travel parts were handled nicely, it made sense... as much it can in this type of thing, and wasn't too outlandish, staying true to the "ground rules" it laid out. The one end bit with Sam when he came back. and the wizard was hilarious.

Glad Carcer's fate was what I hoped it was and Vetinari... love that bastard :)

Well done again Mister Pratchett! Can I go to Ankh-Morpork and join the Watch? Sounds like fun ;-)

Would recommend, happy reading!
Profile Image for Juho Pohjalainen.
Author 5 books282 followers
February 22, 2021
Here's a tricky one.

Is this a good book? Yes, without a doubt. It takes a well-known character, three-dimensional and beloved by fans, and throws him back in time into a much darker and gloomier era out of which his present-day has thankfully moved on. It illuminates us on the backstories and youths of the recurring cast, introduces a few of whom we've heard of but never seen in action, and then throws in it some completely new characters - some of the darkest and most hateable villains seen in the series, and that's saying something. It's some tense, frightful, gripping stuff: you don't know how it will turn out and you'll genuinely fear for your favourites. In a vacuum, this is one of my favourite novels in the series - certainly in the top five.

But is it a good Discworld book? Ehh...

Really, it depends on what you think "Discworld" means - what the series stands for. It's been doing great many things over the decades, according to the interests and whims of its creator Terry Pratchett (mayherestinpeace); it started out as a straight-up fantasy parody that didn't even try to take anything seriously, but quickly grew into its own thing, a weird and irreverent realm of wonder that was never short of laughs but could get dramatic and thoughtful when it wanted. It may be that you think Night Watch - and what comes after that - still fits just fine into the setting and that nothing is fundamentally wrong with the direction the later books took.

But I, personally, always thought that the humour was an essential foundation stone of the series. However serious things could be from time to time, it always snapped back into comedy and levity and a great joke or two. Whenever I think of Discworld now, "comedy fantasy" is how I define it.

But the scale kept on gradually shifting as the series went on: you had less of the comedy and more of the drama, as if the foundation stone was being chipped away. Night Watch was where the scale tipped over for me.

This was the first Discworld book that I recall not being funny at all. Not that it didn't have a few jokes, still, but those jokes all had a certain edge to them: all the gloom of tyranny and revolt and civil warfare enveloped them far more thoroughly than anything else that had come before now. And it didn't get any better afterwards: later books concerned themselves with warfare and gender equality, con men and frauds, racism and slavery and terrorism, faith and higher truths, lynch mobs and even teen miscarriage - some of these had come up earlier, true, but never nearly so solemnly and seriously.

Comedy and parody shifted away into satire. And Terry, I'm so sorry to say this, never really handled satire all that well. He was quite unsubtle about it and always made sure his readers knew exactly what he thought of a subject and what, in his opinion, was the Right Thing. At worst, once so beloved three-dimensional characters devolved into mouthpieces. I'm not even saying that he was wrong - if anything, he hit the nail on the head more often than not - just that he all too often let it get in the way of making a good story. And this is where it got its start.

Night Watch is where comedy died. I liked it anyway, still, but this is where it all begins to go downhill. For me, at least.
Profile Image for Wastrel.
150 reviews206 followers
July 28, 2015
Night Watch isn't the best place to start Pratchett, not because it would leave a bad impression, but because you just won't get as much out of it as a seasoned fan. That's because it's a novel that doesn't just follow on from the events of previous books, but that culminates, explains, and perhaps even justifies them. The plot may be close to standalone - there are very few facts a newcomer would need to learn to understand the plot - but the examination of, and recontextualisation of not only the central human character of Vimes, but of the broader character of the city of Ankh-Morpork itself, is the source of the book's power. It's a strikingly grim, messy and restless Discworld entry, eschewing the easy moralisation that Pratchett was sometimes prone to - or rather, the easy moralisation is there... but so are the doubts. How much evil can a man do in the name of overcoming evil? How much tyranny is permissable in order to protect freedom?

Night Watch feels like one of the stories that Pratchett was born to tell - and it's also one of his masterpieces.

My full review of it is over on my blog.
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