Book Review: Carpe Jugulum by Terry Pratchett


Book Synopsis:

Mightily Oats has not picked a good time to be a priest.  He thought he’d come to Lancre for a simple ceremony.  Now he’s caught up in a war between vampires and witches. 

There’s Young Anges, who is really in two minds about everything.  Magrat, who is trying to combine witchcraft and nappies.  Nanny Ogg… and Granny Weatherwax, who is big trouble. 

And the vampires are intelligent.  They’ve got style and fancy waistcoats.  They’re out of the casket, and want a bite of the future.  Mightily Oats knows he has a prayer, but he wishes for an axe. 

Carpe Jugulum is what I suppose you would call the last proper Witches book in the Discworld series.  After this we read about the Witches mainly through Tiffany Aching’s perspective, which is still brilliant, but different.  It is a change from the earlier instalments in some ways because there are four witches instead of three and Granny Weatherwax is having a meltdown.  We don’t see a lot of her in this book.

I think any true Discworld fan knows the gist of the end here.  I mean (forgive me for spoiling) Granny Weatherwax always wins.  The story is always more about the how, and there is a good answer put forward here.  It was, as per usual, very clever.  The humour was good – not the best but good.  Here’s my favourite funny bit:

 Steam was rising from under the blanket they’d pulled over Granny Weatherwax. As Agnes looked down Granny’s eyes sprang open and swiveled from side to side. Her mouth moved once or twice. ‘And how are you, Miss Weatherwax?’ said Mightily Oats, in a cheerful voice.  ‘She was bitten by a vampire! What sort of question is that?’ Anges hissed.  ‘One that’s better than “what are you?”’ Oats whispered.”                      

                                     Carpe Jugulum also made a lot of interesting points on religious differences and how just because someone doesn’t have your beliefs (or any at all) it doesn’t make them the enemy.  I think that people could learn a lot from that.  This novel also provided an insight into how things change over time – how sometimes being too modern is a bad thing, because you can make choices that aren’t for the best if you forget the past.

To sum up, this was a good Discworld novel.  It was entertaining and thought-provoking.  It lacked the something that makes some Discworld novels amazing, but it was a book that always had me grinning or laughing.

Oh, and I forgot to mention, to any Nac Mac Feegle fans – this is their introduction into the series and the only person who can understand them is Nanny Ogg 🙂


3 thoughts on “Book Review: Carpe Jugulum by Terry Pratchett”

  1. Fun review, I need to read more of this series, I just found Hogfather at the used bookstore and think I might have to crack it open soon. Do you think it matters that I read them in order? It doesn’t seem like it, but I am not sure…

    1. I haven’t personally read them in any particular order. The Discworld books are all about fun and aren’t written to be read in order if that makes sense. The only time I came across a book that didn’t fit this was ‘Lords and Ladies’ which is part of the Witches mini-series, and Pratchett put in a foreword to say that it would be better to have read the earlier ones. I think you should read the Hogfather if it interests you – it is one of the exceptionally good ones. Thank you for the comment 🙂

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