Mention fantasy and it is a fair chance that people will start conjuring up images of wizards and demons and magic spells and dragons and the like. One thing most people will not associate with fantasy is humour. Yes, fantasy does have its moments that make you smile but it is not supposed to be laugh out funny. I mean, it is heroic and hectic, but humorous? Naaah.
Fortunately, no one told Sir Terry Pratchett that.
The result? We have the most hysterically hilarious and yet incredibly sensitive and intelligent fantasy series of all – the Discworld series. The series is based on a fantasy flay world (a disc) that is being carried by four elephants placed on the back of a turtle. But that’s not important. What’s important is that on this Disc is the amazing multicultural city of Ankh Morpork with dwarfs, trolls, humans, gnomes, werewolves, and the like. And they are all held together by a rather odd system that allows even thieves to have a legal organisation or guild as they choose to call it. And there is wizardry and politics and oh yes, there are dragons!
You could of course start the series from its first book, The Colour Of Magic, but we think Guards! Guards! that revolves around the Nightwatch, a group of guards supposed to keep security in a city where even lawlessness is recognised under the law. The leader of the Nightwatch, Captain Vimes, is a cynical person who has lost any hope of doing anything good. But then, things start happening. A new recruit joins, a cult summons a dragon and suddenly everyone wants a king instead of the Patrician who rules the city as a benevolent dictator. And in the middle of all this are numerous puns, muddles and complications that will leave you laughing time and again. Pratchett does weave in some very contemporary references into his fantasy world and if you actually delve deeper into some of his wit, you will see a very cutting edge. But that’s a bonus. Even read purely as a story, Guards! Guards! is simple rip-roaring fun. It is intelligent, it is interesting, it is easy to understand and it is a truckload of fun to read.
Why do you think we are recommending it? Read!