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Those of us who grew up watching Hammer films know better than to invite a vampire into our castle. But suppose you are the new jester-turned-king of a small principality on Discworld, and you want to be friends with all of your neighbors, even if they happen to be undead. (Hint: always check to see if a country has a disproportionate number of 24-hour Walgreens before issuing your invitations).
Not only does King Verence invite a family of vampires to his daughter's christening, his invitation to the powerful witch, Granny Weatherwax goes mysteriously astray.
Foopahs abound. Granny Weatherwax closes up her cottage as though she never means to return. Her friend and fellow-witch, Nanny Ogg is upset by King Verence's choice of a priest of Om as the official baptizer--a priest who relies on bits of strategically placed paper to jog his uncertain memory--which is how the little princess ends up with the name 'Esmerelda Margaret Note Spelling of Lancre.'
Of course, Lancre did once have a king named, 'My God He's Heavy the First.'
This is obviously going to shape up as one of the most disastrous christenings since Sleeping Beauty got the shaft (or more correctly, the spindle) from the thirteenth fairy godmother. Then events take a turn for the worse when the vampires happily chow through Nanny Ogg's special garlic dip without a single rumble of indigestion.
I love all of the Granny Weatherwax/Nanny Ogg Discworld novels, and even though "Carpe Jugulum" tackles some unusually serious themes (its vampires are truly evil, unlike the loveable, teetotalling Otto in "The Truth"), it is still vintage Pratchett and vintage Granny.
It is amazing how an author of such absurd fantasies can still convey such a bone-chilling description of evil. Pratchett is much more than a 'simple' comic novelist.
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on May 12, 2003
Okay, I have this odd sence of de ja vu when I read a vampire novel, I mean if you read 3 how different can the 4th be? Not this one. It's a beautiful satire and has far too many one liners and jokes like all Terry Pratchett books to really go into. It has Nanny Ogg and Granny Weatherwax two of the witches in Lancre driving out the vampires (sorry, vampyres)who were invited in by King Verence for his daughter's christening. Possibly my favorite bit, was when the older vampires are making fun of young vampires who wear bright clothes and stay up until noon and wear their hair short and tell people that their name is Pam or Agnes.... it's a very funny quick read. I also have a hard time thinking of it being a blow off. There are bits with Granny Weatherwax that make you feel you may have just read somethingg important.
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on November 12, 2001
This is just one of umpteen reviews, so I'll skip the summary. In fact, the only reason I'm reviewing this AT ALL is that I bought the book through Amazon, so every time I write a review of something else, they remind me I still haven't reviewed this one.
But, after having it for months, I've finally started to read it. Wow, I'm glad that I did!
Let's be honest. The plot is really secondary to the characters. And that is where PTerry shines. He gives us characters with motivations and passions, likes and fears, and he lets the humor flow from that, rather than forcing a plot point to make the humor come out. PTerry's humor is never forced.
However, as many have pointed out, this plot is a re-hasing of Lords and Ladies. Without a doubt, Lords and Ladies is my favorite. So when this plot also takes place in Lancre with an outside force of supernatural beings assaulting the kingdom, it felt like I was coming back to a well-eorn fable. I knew the plot, and I could concentrate on reading about the characters.
And we learn so much about the characters this time. Nanny Ogg and Agnes get some great treatment this time around (which they lacked in previous books), and even Granny Weatherwax gets some new twists. The characters are delicious.
Why a four star rating instead of a five, then? Because PTerry wasn't as inventive this time. In Lords and Ladies, we see Elves in a different way. Cliches are broken, mangled, played with, and twisted. But the Vampires (vampyrs, as they prefer) are somewhat mundane. One of them is even named Vlad, for Pete's sake! PTerry certainly did give us a new take on some of the traits of the Vampires, but they didn't get the much-needed overhaul that the Elves got previously.
Otherwise, an entertaining, highly-readable, highly-quotable book (as Discworld books tend to be). But it's still the younger, less successful brother compared to Lords and Ladies.
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on March 28, 2015
A family of vampires --oops, VAMPYRS-- develops an immunity to the traditional vampire banes in an attempt to take over Lancre. Unfortunately for them, Lancre is the home of the greatest witch in literature, and Granny Weatherwax won't be havin' with that.
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on October 10, 2015
Pratchett was only about halfway through his Discworld series when he wrote this one. While he continued writing about witches in the Tiffany Aching YA books, Granny Weatherwax never got another starring role. It's a good thing she goes out with a bang. She and the other Lancre witches have already beaten elves, fairy tales, and opera, so what's left besides modern-thinking vampires? Granny can handle them too, and, as always, she does it her way.
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on September 23, 2003
Carpe Jugulum, the 23rd Discworld novel by the ever-amusing Terry Pratchett, introduces vampires to the Disc. Having read the books out of order, and having already read all of the subsequent ones, vampires are old-hat to me. A couple of times, I had to consciously remember that this was the first and that some of the things I knew about them weren't true in this one. That being said, this is another wonderful Discworld book, a notch on his belt that looks rather toothy.
A number of people have commented on the similarities between this book and Lords & Ladies, with the vampires replacing the elves as villains. While I do see some similarities, there are some marked differences as well. Carpe Jugulum, I feel, stands well on its own two feet. There is a completely different purpose behind what the vampires are doing. The Count wants to modernize his people, to get them to overcome some of the "silly" stereotypes about vampires. He doesn't want a dank, gloomy castle with webs all over the place. He doesn't see the hunt as a game where the vampire always loses. He wants to take over in order to protect himself, his family, and his very way of life. If he didn't commit some thoroughly evil deeds in the process, his goal might actually be a legitimate one.
However, he does commit these acts, and thus must be stopped. This is where the book does become a little standard, with an intractable enemy facing the witches and Granny using her "headology" to save the day. I have to admit that what she decides to do is very interesting, and a nice twist on vampire myths in general. I won't reveal what she does, but suffice it to say that she turns one of the typical vampire powers back on itself in a very novel way. The plot is well-told by Pratchett, and for once the ending doesn't actually come out of left field. If you read the characters properly (especially Igor, who is also introduced in this book), then you may be able to guess what happens.
As for the characters, Pratchett again excels. The witches are their normal selves (Magrat is kind of shy but shields a strong backbone when push comes to shove, Nanny Ogg is lewd and crude but always knowledgeable, and Granny is her usual gruff self with a heart underneath which nobody will ever see unless they really look), but the new witch Agnes is also very interesting. She has a second side to herself which occasionally comes out. It is a separate personality, which is invaluable in protecting her from the vampire charms. Mightily Oats is also a hoot, but deep enough that you do start to care about him. His crisis of faith isn't exactly unique, but Pratchett gives him enough differences to avoid making him unoriginal.
The vampires steal the show, though, along with Igor. We have the Count, who is determined to change things. His wife, the Countessa, is going along with him but doesn't really believe in it. The kids, Lacrimosa and Vlad, don't see any point to all this. They just want to feed and play with the mortals. These four argue constantly, as the Count flashes them holy signs to harden them against the effects, makes them stay up during the day, and overall annoys them with his optimism that all of these things can be changed. He's also looking forward to matching wits with Granny, and there are a couple of times where you think that maybe Granny won't succeed. Igor, however, is the best character in the book. The vampires are sure that his lisp and the way he walks is all part of the "game" and that he doesn't need to do all of that. But Igor is a traditionalist, constantly referring to how the old "mathter" used to do things. "The old mathter loved my spider webs." He's a fun character, and I completely understand why Pratchett has used an Igor in almost every book since this one. He truly is a wonderful creation.
The humour is Pratchett at his best, with some innuendo (though kids have either already heard it or wont' get it). The Witches books always seem to contain things like that, and as before, the plot is much more straightforward then is usual in a Discworld book. He seems to like using the "traditional" villains whenever they are involved, perhaps because they are the most "normal" heroes he has created. Sometimes there are some seemingly unnecessary bits, such as the little blue people (Nac mac Feegle) who help King Verence attack the vampires. However, they are hilarious, so I'll forgive the fact that they don't really do a lot in the book. The puns are atrocious (the name of the vampires' castle is "Don'tgonearthe Castle") but I couldn't stop laughing.
If you like Pratchett but don't like the Witches, then this book won't change your mind. But if you haven't tried them yet, give this one a try. You don't need to have read the previous witches books (though it does help). And if you're reading this after reading the next few books, keep in mind that some things you know about vampires just aren't true...yet. What a bloody treat!
David Roy
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Those of us who grew up watching Hammer films know better than to invite a vampire into our castle. But suppose you are the new jester-turned-king of a small principality on Discworld, and you want to be friends with all of your neighbors, even if they happen to be undead. (Hint: always check to see if a country has a disproportionate number of 24-hour Walgreens before issuing your invitations).

Not only does King Verence invite a family of vampires to his daughter's christening, his invitation to the powerful witch, Granny Weatherwax goes mysteriously astray.

Foopahs abound. Granny Weatherwax closes up her cottage as though she never means to return. Her friend and fellow-witch, Nanny Ogg is upset by King Verence's choice of a priest of Om as the official baptizer--a priest who relies on bits of strategically placed paper to jog his uncertain memory--which is how the little princess ends up with the name 'Esmerelda Margaret Note Spelling of Lancre.'

Of course, Lancre did once have a king named, 'My God He's Heavy the First.'

This is obviously going to shape up as one of the most disastrous christenings since Sleeping Beauty got the shaft (or more correctly, the spindle) from the thirteenth fairy godmother. Then events take a turn for the worse when the vampires happily chow through Nanny Ogg's special garlic dip without a single rumble of indigestion.

I love all of the Granny Weatherwax/Nanny Ogg Discworld novels, and even though "Carpe Jugulum" tackles some unusually serious themes (its vampires are truly evil, unlike the loveable, teetotalling Otto in "The Truth"), it is still vintage Pratchett and vintage Granny.

It is amazing how an author of such absurd fantasies can still convey such a bone-chilling description of evil. Pratchett was so much more than a 'simple' comic novelist.
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VINE VOICEon July 27, 2001
I love Terry Pratchet's Discworld novels, and I'm partial to the novels featuring the witches. This novel, however, is by far my favorite. Not only to you have Granny Weatherwax, Nanny Ogg, and Agnes Nit, you get a pack of vampires and an army of pixies -- I mean, Pictsies.
Although the Pictsies are amusing, what really makes this novel is the family of vampires who want to lead a normal life. Particularly amusing is the Count's teenage daughter, Lacci (short for Lacrimosa), who does the most un-vampiric things, like staying up until noon, wearing brightly-colored clothes, and asking her friends to call her Gertrude.
You can never go wrong with a Discworld novel, and this one in particular is amazingly funny!
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Those of us who grew up watching Hammer films know better than to invite a vampire into our castle. But suppose you are the new jester-turned-king of a small principality on Discworld, and you want to be friends with all of your neighbors, even if they happen to be undead. (Hint: always check to see if a country has a disproportionate number of 24-hour Walgreens before issuing your invitations).

Not only does King Verence invite a family of vampires to his daughter's christening, his invitation to the powerful witch, Granny Weatherwax goes mysteriously astray.

Foopahs abound. Granny Weatherwax closes up her cottage as though she never means to return. Her friend and fellow-witch, Nanny Ogg is upset by King Verence's choice of a priest of Om as the official baptizer--a priest who relies on bits of strategically placed paper to jog his uncertain memory--which is how the little princess ends up with the name 'Esmerelda Margaret Note Spelling of Lancre.'

Of course, Lancre did once have a king named, 'My God He's Heavy the First.'

This is obviously going to shape up as one of the most disastrous christenings since Sleeping Beauty got the shaft (or more correctly, the spindle) from the thirteenth fairy godmother. Then events take a turn for the worse when the vampires happily chow through Nanny Ogg's special garlic dip without a single rumble of indigestion.

I love all of the Granny Weatherwax/Nanny Ogg Discworld novels, and even though "Carpe Jugulum" tackles some unusually serious themes (its vampires are truly evil, unlike the loveable, teetotalling Otto in "The Truth"), it is still vintage Pratchett and vintage Granny.

It is amazing how an author of such absurd fantasies can still convey such a bone-chilling description of evil. Pratchett is much more than a 'simple' comic novelist.

If you like to keep track, this is the 4th Discworld novel starring witches Granny, Nanny, and Magrat (who is now Queen), and the 2nd starring Agnes (who really wanted to be an opera singer, not a witch).
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on May 21, 2016
Full of the usual surprises and delights. Somehow the interactions of the witches and the vampires gets a bit uneven. Also, although we expect Granny will win in the end, the device used seemed a bit too stretched. A good read, but with the nagging feeling that the book was a bit rushed and Sir Terry could have have improved it quite a bit given more time.
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