Who wouldn’t like a who-done-it-novel in a fantasy setting with well-thought characters and city burning from an intricate political situation, the racial-kind (between Dwarfs and Trolls)? Men at Arms is a fast-paced and fun to read. There behind the main storyline is Pratchett’s snarky societal commentary.
I love City Watch series, especially Vime’s realism combined with pessimism when it comes to humanity. It always makes me smile, and often enough I agree. Men at Arms felt lighter than the other books in the series which is funny as there is murder, political-play, assassination attempts, and racial tension. So one could say it being light is relative. But maybe it is the fast-paced detective story which masks the seriousness of the subject: economic inequality and racism?
Pratchett portrays that the problem is distance and separation. That getting to know each other is the best medicine, and this is beautifully written into Cuddy’s and Detritus’ relationship. For me, that was the salt of the story and makes the book great. It shows how even when Pratchett criticizes humanity, he sees there is hope.
Men at Arms is a great book, and it establishes what is about to come in the City Watch series. And of course, there is Corporal Nobbs. I’m not sure what is wrong with me, but that “human” melts my heart.