Night Watch (Discworld, #29; City Watch, #6) (2011) 4 stars

One moment, Sir Sam Vimes is in his old patrolman form, chasing a sweet-talking psychopath …

Time travel, barricades and a mix of humor and darkness

5 stars

It's been ages since I read any Discworld, but it seems appropriate that I came back to it with a time travel story involving a rebellion and barricades.

It's an interesting mix of serious and silly, sometimes both at once, often treating serious things as comedy and vice versa. The situation is messy, with good cops, bad cops, really bad cops, time ~cops~ monks, and a rebellion that today's Sam Vimes knows won't accomplish what it hopes to, even if it nominally succeeds. There's plenty of comedy in Vimes mentoring his younger self and trying to clean up the "old" watch just enough to keep history on track, how the ordinary citizens handle the rebellion [2], and yet it can still manage to punch you in the gut when you finally find out what the lilac sprigs in the present are all about.

Night Watch is in the middle of the City Watch series, but it takes enough time to establish the now that while I still spent a good chunk of the book wondering who I was supposed to already recognize, I had a good sense of what had changed over the years and the future Vimes is fighting to protect -- and how hard it is to put it aside so he can focus on the job in front of him.

Definitely recommended even if you haven't read the other Watch books!

Notes: 1. Even better: Next up in my DS9 rewatch is the episode with the Bell Riots. 2. In Les Mis, there's a point where one of the rebels remarks that they'll know they've lost the support of the people when old women are emptying chamber-pots on their heads. Since it's no longer to ask Terry Pratchett whether this was intentional, I'm going to assume it's a deep-cut reference to the book.

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