Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Review Tuesday: Prince Lestat: The Vampire Chronicles by Anne Rice

Years ago, even before Anne Rice declared that she would no longer write tales of vampires I had given up on the franchise. Mind you, I read the entire series, and found the majority to be pure garbage. I forced myself to read through some egregiously horrendous books and promised myself I would never torture myself that way again. But the point was moot, she gave up on paranormal stories and devoted her energies to religion. I guess religion wasn't selling because she returned to her beloved Lestat last year.

Prince Lestat:
The Vampire Chronicles
by Anne Rice
When a mysterious voice compels vampire elders to go out and destroy fledglings en masse, the most powerful revenants convene to set things straight.
I have to say, last year when I saw the pre-order for PRINCE LESTAT I was taken by surprise, then skeptical. In the past I found her books to run either hot or cold. Either you enjoyed it, or loathed it. For instance, Memnoch the Devil was delightful, while Merrick was a terrible chore to endure. In my mind, approximately one third of the books in the series were good, the rest were downhill from there. 

That said, why would I even consider reading PRINCE LESTAT, Anne Rice's return to The Vampire Chronicles?


In her absence from the niche, did she learn something, ANYTHING, about telling a better story?

I would say yes. 

In a way, this story is almost a direct sequel to THE QUEEN OF THE DAMNED, which I considered to be an iffy tale.  There was so much worthless wordy description and detail that it was maddening. However, what was great about it was the explanation of the vampire bloodline in Anne Rice's fantasy world. New characters and powers were all born in that story that would shape the direction of future books. 

Prince Lestat takes place decades after the events of The Queen of the Damned. The world of the vampires had been shaken to the core that night of Lestat's rock concert. The elders became reclusive and the fledglings became aggressive. Some among the tribe are calling for some sort order to be set, and for a leader to emerge, while others are perfectly happy existing within the chaos.

Then, one day, matters grew worse. Some VOICE is compelling elders to destroy the fledglings. But not merely those with under a century in the blood, but even some with hundreds of years of immortality were meeting their ends with the fire gift. 

As a result there was a worldwide outcry for some vampire to rise to the top and lead the rest through this crisis. Naturally, the logical choice would be the brat Prince, Lestat, as he's well known the world over by breaking all the basic rules of vampirism by writing books and songs and rock videos telling the [hi]story of blood drinkers.

The story introduces many new characters into the nocturnal world that Anne Rice launched back in the 1970s. For instance, we get to learn more about the very vampires who created Marius and even Lestat! Characters alluded to in previous tales have roles in this book. Potentially the most explosive new character, Viktor, the human son of Lestat! That's right, a HUMAN SON!

I can't say that I went into this book open-minded considering the history I have with literature by Anne Rice. She has let me down many times (among the unreadable were Merrick and everything after Blood and Gold) that I think I had severely low expectations for this book. Color me surprised to find the book clever and compelling! I found the tale complete, and rewarding to read. It's as though the suffering reader endured the previous tomes to hit the jackpot with this one. 

I will not reveal anything of the ending, but I will say this, I am not sure if Rice has plans to continue with the Vampire Chronicles after this book and I am not even sure if she can. This is a very good book and a perfect way to bring the series to a conclusion. If she does decide to continue, I can't see how Lestat could ever be the lighthearted dreamer he was previously. Heavy is the head that wears the crown...

If you've previously read, at least, books I - III in the Vampire Chronicles, I highly recommend this book.