Review: Carpe Jugulum

Carpe Jugulum by Terry Pratchett

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is my second time reading the book. Dropped the rating from 5/5 stars to 3/5 stars.

On this second time reading through the Discworld books, I’ve come to realize that I really prefer the Witch books to the Rincewind/Wizard books. Usually (or at least up to this point), the Witch books have been parodies or retellings of Shakespeare or Fairy Tale stories. This one is used by Pratchett to formally introduce Uberwald. It will play a larger and larger role in future Discworld books (including City Watch books). Uberwald is where horror creatures like vampires and werewolves come from. It also includes Igors (although within this book we only know of one family line of Igors).

This book continues along with the consequences of Magrat and and Verence taking the throne. Verence continues to be a parody of self-help through books (I believe the previous Witch book had him sending to Ank-Morpork publishers for a book on how to copulate). In this case, his research on modernizing the monarchy leads to him inviting Vampires in. Despite the invitation aspect of Vampire lore, a lot of the humor in this book comes from the fact that the Vampires also want to modernize. They have trained themselves not to react to all the usual things that bother/kill vampires.

The book also continues the fallout of Magrat leaving the coven and being replaced with Agnes (who, we learned in the prior book, has a Discworld form of multiple personality disorder). The witches are all trying to figure out their new and different roles with Granny wanting things to be as they always were while Agnes wants to change things up a bit (although not in the same way as Magrat) and Nanny Ogg remains a comedic foil to them both.

Although you’ll be missing out on the reasons for personality conflicts, this is a book that you should be able to pick up if you’re a horror fan who wouldn’t mind a fun parody of the various horror tropes – particularly when it comes to vampires. I enjoyed it – my biggest reason for dropping it to 3 stars is that I rated it 5 back before I was using the Goodreads tooltips to guide what the ratings mean. 5 stars = “it was amazing” while 3 stars = “liked it” and the latter definitely applies more than the former.

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