Jingo by Terry Pratchett
Series: Discworld #21
Publication: HarperTorch (first published 1997), Paperback, 461pg
Genres: Adult, Fantasy, Fiction
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It isn't much of an island that rises up one moonless night from the depths of the Circle Sea -- just a few square miles of silt and some old ruins. Unfortunately, the historically disputed lump of land called Leshp is once again floating directly between Ankh-Morpork and the city of Al-Khali on the coast of Klatch -- which is spark enough to ignite that glorious international pastime called "war." Pressed into patriotic service, Commander Sam Vimes thinks he should be leading his loyal watchmen, female watch dwarf, and lady werewolf into battle against local malefactors rather than against uncomfortably well-armed strangers in the Klatchian desert. But war is, after all, simply the greatest of all crimes -- and it's Sir Samuel's sworn duty to seek out criminal masterminds wherever they may be hiding ... and lock them away before they can do any real damage. Even the ones on his own side. (from Goodreads)
Despite Jingo being one of the weaker Discworld books (which doesn’t mean much anyway because even the crappier Discworld books are a LOT better than most other books) it’s still pretty darned groovy. I’ll tell you why!
a: It has great characters. Not just the City Watch, who are weird and lovable and basically Big Damn Heroes, but also the guest stars! The Klatchian Ambassador in particular was a favorite of mine; he plays mind games with people to expose their racism in a really jolly way. Sort of like a satirical Santa Claus.
b: The underlying message is about not being a dillweed about immigrants! Actually, a lot of the Discworld books are about not being a dillweed. (The City Watch books are just more focused on immigration and not being prejudiced and how everyone’s a person, even gnomes and vampires and werewolves).
c: As another reviewer talked about, by taking Vimes and the Watch out of Ankh-Morpork and throwing them into a situation which they basically know nothing about, the mystery part of the Night Watch books gets overrun by people standing around wondering what to do. Which is a downer!
On the other hand, Vetinari leaving Ankh-Morpork lets his personality shine even more brightly than it normally does, and since he’s one of my favorite characters I definitely approve of that. Also, I like reading about people trying to do big things with only the power of their conviction behind them. It’s inspiring, even in a fantasy world setting.
d: There are also lots of humorous situations with Carrot and his charisma which can basically punch through walls. Jingo‘s got a good balance of humor and pathos, and that’s great!
So, overall, I enjoyed it! But I think it’s one of those books that I’ll have to reread a few times to really soak it all in– I kept getting distracted by the fun parts and I feel like I missed a huge chunk of the plot. At the rate I’m rereading City Watch books, I’ll get back to Jingo in…December, probably. Huzzah!
Read: August 21-23, 2013