Monday, June 9, 2014

Book Review - Men at Arms (audio) (JS)

Men at Arms (audio) by Terry Pratchett

Review by Jacqui Slaney

Being a big fan of the Discworld novels and having read the majority of them, I suppose it was a natural progression to try an audio book.

I have been resistant for a while, as when I read a book, I have my own idea of how the characters should sound, but after being offered a free audio copy, how could I resist?

This is the description: 

The town of Ankh-Morpork is in big trouble, and the City Watch is desperate for a few good men to protect it. However, all they have are the dwarves Corporal Carrot and Lance-constable Cuddy; the troll Lance-constable Detritus; Lance-constable Angua, who is believed to be a woman; and, worst of all, Corporal Nobbs, who has been disqualified from the human race for shoving! These underdogs need all the help they can get, for they have been given only 24 hours to clean up the war-torn town.

Despite not being overly keen on the idea of the audio format, I will admit that I was won over quite quickly. Nigel Planer narrates this series, and I found hearing the story, if anything made it more real.

I loved the different voices of the characters with the Librarian being one of my favourites, and Vimes inner monologue. Though they were obviously, not how I imagined them to be, (I never thought of Sgt Colon as being Irish sounding) the voices did fit the characters well.
The story revolves round a strange new weapon that appears to have been stolen from the assassins’ guild. Bodies are being discovered yet Captain Vimes is ordered not to investigate by the Patrician, and the Watch is even ordered to stand down. Vimes is also getting married and looks like he is retiring forever, so could this be the end of the Night Watch?

There is the usual humour here, the kind that makes you laugh to yourself and makes people look at you suspiciously, (especially when you are on public transport and it doesn’t look like you are reading a book). But there is also a darker side, which as always makes the Disc world novels stand out from the run of mill novels.

Without giving away the story line, I can say that do not worry too much about the Watch, Vimes and his men will be with us for a while yet, thankfully as anyone who has read any of the reviews that I have written about the Disc world know that these characters are my favourites.

If you haven’t read any of the Discworld books then I would definitely recommend this one, it’s better if you have read or listened to the other guards books, but even without prior knowledge, you will still enjoy it, and definitely try this format, just be wary of the funny looks that you may attract when you suddenly laugh.

10 out of 10