Carpe Jugulum: A Discworld Novel: 23

by Terry Pratchett | Science Fiction & Fantasy |
ISBN: 0552146153 Global Overview for this book
Registered by erinacea of Friedrichshain, Berlin Germany on 10/5/2017
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Journal Entry 1 by erinacea from Friedrichshain, Berlin Germany on Thursday, October 05, 2017
Another among the Discworld series read along with Mark Oshiro's reading project.

I had never read the book before and, at the start of the reading project (what? 3-4 years ago), had no idea what it was about. In the meantime I had been spoiled a bit by someone's comment hilariously summing up the plot as "Twilight done right", which left the meaning tantalizingly open to a few different interpretations. I had also learned that it was a book in the Witches sub-series.

The plot:
"Twilight done right." *lol*
A family of vampires uses their mind control powers (and an unwise wedding invitation) to overthrow the kingdom of Lancre. Luckily for its inhabitants, they don't quite have all witches bewitched.

I loved this book.

To return to the original notion, it is interesting (and eerie) how similar Vlad occasionally is to Twilight's Edward, especially in his more creepily stalkerish moments. Edward actually seems like a defanged version of Vlad, which in comparision makes me appreciate the latter a lot more (as a fictional character, in person I'd despise him). Except briefly at the beginning (and even then only in hindsight) Bella was never in any danger from Edward, but Vlad remains dangerous yet mysteriously alluring throughout the story.

Agnes, for her part, is a much more intriguing character than Bella ever could have been. Her split personality basically means you get two characters for the price of one (though I didn't much like Perdita to begin with, she sort of grew on me), and both of them fight back against Vlad's manipulations.

Still, Vlad's utter delight at Agnes' ability to block his mind reading and mind control powers is scarily Edward-like. It also occurs to me that Meyer's later novel The Host features a female protagonist who shares her head with another female mind, both battling for control of the body, which is either a very strange set of coincidences or Meyer had indeed at some point come across this book (possible from an angle of someone clearly interested in vampire stories) and was (possibly subconsciously) influenced by Agnes' character.

Leaving this delightful pairing aside, the return of the other witches was also great. (I'm not sure if this is the last book in the main Witches sub-series, or if there's one left, possibly Unseen Academicals. That said, a strong contender for this book's favourite character was Reverend Mightily Oats, the self-doubting Omnian priest, who seems a bit like Brutha reborn (see Small Gods). I found it interesting how Brutha's famous trip through the desert with Vorbis was mirrored by Oats dragging Granny through a swamp. Where Brutha was searching for shade and water and had to save Vorbis from dehydration, Oats was seeking warmth and shelter from the rain to keep Granny from freezing to death.

In general, the vampires made for much more interesting villains than the elves back in Lords & Ladies. At least to me, it felt that it was in the elves' nature to be evil whereas the Magpyrs had a choice and at least tried to present themselves as good for the country.

Here's my top ten right after finishing this book:

1. Carpe Jugulum
2. Small Gods
3. Maskerade
4. Men at Arms
5. Jingo
-------- (imaginary line splitting special favourites from "normal" favourites)
6. Guards! Guards!
7. Reaper Man
8. Hogfather
9. Witches Abroad
10. Wyrd Sisters

Next up: The Fifth Elephant

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