Jane’s Great Re-Read: Carpe Jugulum by Terry Pratchett – a review

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Carpe Jugulum is the last of the first wave of witches novels.  This time GRanny and the rest of the Lancre coven are faced with invading vampires from Uberwald.

017a31d85ebdea8b7795cde95b6333ae7327c5f88bThere are now four witches in Lancre, Granny, Nanny Magrat and Agnes but covens work best with three, you know: the maiden, the mother and the other one.  A lot of this novel is about how roles change over time and what its like to feel out of place in the world.  Magrat has given birth to a daughter and is keeping the name secret until the naming ceremony.  King Verence has summoned an Omnian Priest and sent invitations out to other kingdoms.  Of course vampires love to get invited into places, but when a King does it the whole Kingdom is at stake. (I am really pleased with that pun)

My reservations are that the witches novels do feel a little bit formulaic at this point.  That said it is crammed full of puns and jokes and footnotes that I love.  I love the ideas of the vampires trying new ideas.

Agnes is brilliant in this novel because she is resistant the vampiric mind control. He second thoughts provided by Perdita are vicious and I love that Anges is generally nice but Perdita is much more assertive and vociferous. She teams up with Mighty Oates (the Omnian priest who can’t make up his mind about what he believes in)

There are some fantastic ideas like the gnarly ground, which is highly magical and changes depending on how you are feeling as you traverse it.  Vampires trying to fit by wearing colourful clothes and going by mundane names.

As with all Pratchett novels it is a romp.  The pacing is breakneck speed and there is a lot of drama, well Granny Weatherwax does have impeccable timing.  I love how there is ambiguity in the coven roles in this one.  Agnes assumes the maiden position and Magrat who is a new mother is now able to surprise Nanny Ogg with her more colourful jokes.  Nanny finds herself pushed into the role of Crone and where does that leave Granny?  That’s one of the central themes is the change and getting older.  Granny isn’t ready to conform just yet.

 This is where I am leaving my Discworld re-read for the moment.  I have so much affection for the witches.  Granny Weatherwax remains my hero and I still feel a strong kinship with Agnes Nitt.  My appreciation for Magrat and Nanny Ogg has deepened and as always, Greebo is my favourite cat in literature.

I’m currently reading The Shepherd’s Crown which is the final Discworld novel and coincidentally features the witches. I will be posting a reaction to it once I’ve finished it.

Jane’s Great Re-read: Witches Abroad – Review

Witches abroad is the third in Granny Weatherwax sequence and one of my personal favourites in a strong field. Terry Pratchett’s books are like onions there are layers. The basic plot is Magrat is left a Magic wand by one … Continue reading

Jane’s Great Re-Read: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince – Review

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I always felt smug about this book, mainly because I worked out who the Half-Blood Prince was prior to it being published. I also guessed that Dumbledore would not make it to the final book. Although that was rather more obvious. This is a wild ride of a book, I loved all the sequences between Harry and Dumbledore. Dumbledore diminishing, though having learnt important lessons in the Order of the Phoenix. Also Snape you can’t talk about this book without thinking deeply about Snape stuck between a rock and a hard place and with no choice to his actions. And the questions about who is he actually loyal to?

And then there’s Draco, in well over his head and feeling every inch the frightened child that he is. I adore Dumbledore in the sequence, when facing down someone who charged with killing him, he tries to reason with him and even this darkest of moments he offers Draco a way out.

I cried at Dumbledore’s funeral I couldn’t help it. The huge protective presence in the novels is gone as it needs to be for Harry to realise his true potential and defeat Voldemort.

IMG_3465IMG_3466So my five things:

  1. Horace Slughorn a collector of people and the one Slytherin who doesn’t seem completely dark and evil.
  2. Felix Felicis.  I would love to have a small vial of that potion just for once.
  3. The confrontation between Snape and Harry when Harry goes after him after killing Dumbledore.
  4. The opening sequence with the muggle prime minister I like to imagine its Tony Blair because I’m a bit weird like that.
  5. The order being bad ass.