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Friday, June 12, 2009

Night Watch by Terry Pratchett

pratchett discworld night watch book reviewNight Watch
by Terry Pratchett

This is by far the darkest I've read of Pratchett's Discworld series. While his characteristic humor and elegant style is very much present, the plot and social commentary dwell on the dark side of human nature. In that sense, this was one of the tougher books to read after getting used to Pratchett's form, but highly satisfying.

Close on the heels of Thief of Time by Pratchett, reading Night Watch was a stark contrast. I enjoyed the characterization of Lu Tse, the little sweeper monk whose talents are such a legend that acolytes learn the Rule No.1 early on: Do not act incautiously when confronting a little bald wrinkly smiling man; and the whole concept of storing and re-purposing Time as needed was interesting but the book itself was not entirely appealing to my unrestrained passion for Pratchett's writing... But, that has to be its own post one of these days...

Back to Night Watch: Hot in pursuit of notoriously evil Carcer, Commander Vimes finds himself transported back 30 years, and what's more, Carcer is back there as well.

Now, Vimes has been an all-time favorite character of mine in the Discworld series, ever since I first encountered him in the side-splittingly clever Guards!Guards!. Commander Vimes encounters early Vetinari and other members of the current Watch in this story. Being quite a character, we get to see his wet-behind-the-ears young self commingling with his seasoned quick-on-his-feet-and-hard-to-fool copper self, thanks to time travel set off by magical storm and some meddlesome History Monks.

Events unfold where Pratchett manages to present complex ideas regarding Time, Sequence of Events in History, and Parallel Dimensions that I was easily held captive. The story progresses rapidly never dwelling on the incidental issues of rip in the Time continuum that could potentially result in irrevocable side-effects altering History and rewriting the Future.

There is Time Travel, and there is Pratchett's take on Time Travel; and for me, the latter is brilliantly innovative and convincingly coherent compared to the run-of-the-mill treatment of the former seen in pulp sci-fi.

This book is on my Re-Read List for sure.

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