Continuing the story of Guards! Guards!, Men at Arms follows all of my favorite characters from that former on a grand new adventure (of sorts).
We have Corporal Carrot:
Colon thought Carrot was simple. Carrot often struck people as simple. And he was. Where people went wrong was thinking that simple meant the same thing as stupid.
He’s direct to a fault, not out of malice but rather because that’s just the way he feels the world ought to be. Also, he might just become the King of Ankh-Morpork…
There’s Captain Vimes:
“And give me some coffee. Black as midnight on a moonless night."
Harga looked surprised. That wasn’t like Vimes.
“How black’s that, then?” he said.
“Oh, pretty damn black, I should think.”
“You get more stars on a moonless night. Stands to reason. They show up more. It can be quite bright on a moonless night.”
“An overcast moonless night?” he said.
Harga looked carefully at his coffee pot.
“Cumulus or cirro-nimbus?”
“I’m sorry? What did you say?”
“You get city lights reflected off cumulus, because it’s low lying, see. Mind you, you can get high-altitude scatter off the ice crystals in–”
“A moonless night,” said Vimes, in a hollow voice, “that is as black as coffee.”
About to get married and leave the City Watch (and not happy about it), Vimes is a wonderful grumpy old man how’s better at his job than even he thinks he is.
New in this book, we have Angua.
“The boldest of the three moved suddenly, grabbed Angua and pulled her upright. “We walk out of here unharmed or the girl gets it, all right?” he snarled.
“I hope you’re not going to kill anyone,” said Carrot.
“That’s up to us!”
“Sorry, was I talking to you?” said Carrot.”
The epitome of kickass heroine with a secret, she’s wonderfully done. I hope to see more of her in future books (and have a sneaky suspicion she’ll stick around for a while).
And finally (heh) Death:
“I believe in reincarnation,” Bjorn said.
“I tried to live a good life. Does that help?”
THAT’S NOT UP TO ME. Death coughed. OF COURSE… SINCE YOU BELIEVE IN REINCARNATION… YOU’LL BE BJORN AGAIN.
Death is absolutely one of my favorite characters when he’s in other people’s stories (he doesn’t quite work as a protagonist in my opinion
Plotswise, The City Watch series thus far is interesting in that it has what feels like a lot more of a consistent plot than many of the other Discworld books rather than a single central idea and a bunch of jokes around it.
Overall, a wonderful book. There is a reason people suggest starting Discworld with the City Watch books.