Title: Carpe Jugulum
Author: Terry Pratchett
Page Count/Review Word Count: 432
Carpe Jugulum is one of Sir Terry Pratchett’s Discworld novels, and I can’t help feeling like it was overshadowed by some of his other books – I always seem to have this problem with comparatively average Discworld novels. By the time that this was released, Pratchett was well into his stride, yet it still feels a little underdeveloped. Most of Sir Terry’s work sparkles; Carpe Jugulum looks a bit faded, like it’s lost some of its brilliance over time.
If you’re the sort of reader who dips in and out of the Discworld series at random, I’d recommend picking something else, unless you’re starting to run out of choice. However, if you’re the sort of reader who began at The Colour of Magic and is reading through the books in order, then go ahead and read this for sure! And that’s kind of the point of my review – it’s alright, and definitely a lot better than most authors could manage, but it’s nowhere near his best, and there’s a lot of choice out there.
As far as the story line goes, it follows the witches that we grew to know and love in Equal Rites – Magrat Garlick, Nanny Ogg and Granny Weatherwax. They’re pitted against a bunch of vampires, who are deadly enemies – in fact, the title of the novel is a pun in itself, a play on the phrase ‘carpe diem‘, which means ‘seize the day‘ in Latin. Carpe Jugulum? It means, ‘go for the throat‘ or ‘seize the jugular‘.
There’s a lot of politics happening, and whilst I must admit that I enjoy politics in the real world anyway, I do think that Pratchett handles it incredibly well and that he manages to make it interesting. But then, that’s what he does – he takes what’s happening in the real world, and then bastardises it and allows the Discworld to evolve its own version. In fact, the whole process feels almost organic, as though the complex politics of the Discworld evolved on their own.
So overall, I would recommend Carpe Jugulum, but only to people who are already serious fans of the series. For newbies, I think it’s important to read a book that will make you fall in love with the series – then you can come back and read Carpe Jugulum later. As for which book to pick, I’d recommend something starring the Ankh Morpork City Watch – Guards Guards and Feet of Clay in particular. And with that, I’ll bid you adieu!