Sunday, March 05, 2006

Reader's Diary #43- Terry Pratchett: Carpe Jugulum (FINISHED!)

Ah to be done this book. Sigh of relief. Mostly because I won't have to stress about offending Scotty again after this final post. Ever had a friend recommend a book or movie to you that you just didn't like? It's awkward. Especially when you're expected to give critiques of said book or movie. I'd like to take this as a lesson not to take recommendations from people I know, but I know I will. In fact, I'll even go looking for them again. Even from you Scotty! (If you'll even bother speaking to me again!)

For a brief moment during this book, I felt like Agnes. For those unfamiliar with Carpe Jugulum, Agnes is a witch with two personalities. At times I was so torn with the book- do I like it or not?- that I considered giving my opposing sides names. But in an effort to avoid going bonkers, I decided against that. And in the long run, I also decided that I didn't like it. So die-hard Discworld fans, the rest of this posting will be anti-Pratchett- so either toddle off or read-on and write me an angry comment or two (just be forewarned that I'll be deleting anything with foul language or hexes on me or my kin.)

This book is a mess. It has so many subplots going on that it's hard to even keep track of what the main one is supposed to be. There's Hodgesaargh and his phoenix finding mission, Agnes and Vlad's near lovestory, Verence's bizarre abduction by the Smurfs, Granny's lost party-invitation sulking fit, Oats' religion-crisis, Lancre's Vampire coup, and Igor's mistreatment by his marthters. To name a few. Most of these were only barely resolved at the end and in such a way that it felt like Pratchett had simply grown tired of the book (I can relate).

Furthermore, the characters were grating. I wasn't expecting a lot of character building, it is afterall the 23rd in the series. I imagine the character building is done overtime. But the supposed icon of the series is Granny Weatherwax, head witch. You wouldn't know it from this book. Sure she saves the day, but until that point she's hardly even a presence. Certainly not enough to get anyone new to Pratchett's writing under her spell. And Nanny's whole schtick seems to be that she's a crass old lady. Oh how droll. Magrat is supposed to be a working mom, and dealing "comically" with her competing roles as witch, queen and motherhood but you can tell by my use of quotation marks how funny I thought her character truly was. Agnes/Perdita I did like. She (They) held my attention and was entertaining. The vampires had an interesting twist. And I liked Oats' character somewhat, just not when Pratchett seemed to "preach" through him.

Will I ever read another Pratchett? Maybe in time. I'm coming across a little harsher perhaps than I really am. I can see the entertainment value of such a book. And while the humour may not be my cup of tea, it certainly isn't braindead American Pie humour and many people obviously enjoy it. Furthermore, fans who started at the beginning may be more enthralled with the characters than I was. It says on Pratchett's site that "generally the books are written to be accessible at any point to anyone" and I paraphrased that in an earlier posting- though now I'm not too sure. I'm definitely not willing to go back and read the first 22 books to find out.

So again, my apologies to Pratchett aficionados- especially Scotty and Rebecca.


Scotty said...

I need to take yoga lessons.

Rebecca said...

Not a problem :) I would suggest, if you are one day inclined to try Pratchett again, I'd go for his later stuff - he's moving away from his old structures.