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Review: Interview with the Vampire by Anne Rice

Friday, November 7, 2014


Interview with the Vampire
Anne Rice

Genre: Gothic Horror
Paperback: 342 Pages
Publication: September 13, 1991 (originally April 12, 1976)
by Ballantine Books



This is the story of Louis, as told in his own words, of his journey through mortal and immortal life. Louis recounts how he became a vampire at the hands of the radiant and sinister Lestat and how he became indoctrinated, unwillingly, into the vampire way of life. His story ebbs and flows through the streets of New Orleans, defining crucial moments such as his discovery of the exquisite lost young child Claudia, wanting not to hurt but to comfort her with the last breaths of humanity he has inside. Yet, he makes Claudia a vampire, trapping her womanly passion, will, and intelligence inside the body of a small child. Louis remembers Claudia's struggle to understand herself and the hatred they both have for Lestat that sends them halfway across the world to seek others of their kind. But they find that finding others like themselves provides no easy answers and in fact presents dangers they scarcely imagined.


Review

So, I know I've mentioned this before, but for anyone new to my reviews, I'll say it again: I absolutely LOVE vampires. I'd heard of Anne Rice when I was in high school, but I didn't actually get to read her until college, when an absolutely awesome professor of mine included Pandora (from the New Tales of the Vampires) on our required reading list my freshman year. I decided to start from the beginning and picked this book up for the first time a few months after that. Since the series was picked up again with the release of Prince Lestat a little less than two weeks ago, I figured it was time to revisit this book and remember why I had enjoyed it so much.

I love Anne Rice's style of writing. While it's not as complex or lush as that of Poppy Z. Brite and Neil Gaiman, it has some complexity to it but also a simplicity that makes it easy to follow. I can actually believe that the words are coming from Louis, and this enhances his characterization as a refined, articulate gentleman who was made into a vampire and has lived for centuries. The descriptions of all the places visited by the vampires were beautifully rendered, though there were a few places where I would've liked to spend more time, in particular towards the end of the novel.

This is a book  whose antagonist just screams for attention. Lestat is one of those rare villains whom I love to hate. He comes across as seductive and magnetic, especially because of his physical appearance, and you are as mesmerized by him as Louis is. As the story progresses and you get to see more of his character, you start to wonder why you found him so fascinating in the beginning. He is so mean towards Louis and definitely lives up to his nickname of the Brat Prince. But then come the last few pages of the novel, and he is portrayed in a somewhat sympathetic light. I have to admit that I actually felt a little bad for him and wanted to know what became of him after Louis left.

Since I was in high school when the romantic teen vampire trend hit the hardest, I was more than happy to see these vampires. Not only were they incredibly beautiful, but I really believed that they were dangerous, especially when reading about their kills. Though we're not given a lot on their mythos and what we do get is kind of vague, there is enough to figure out that they share some traits with classic vampires (no exposure to sunlight, only around at night, sleeping in a coffin, etc.). I also loved how Rice portrayed individual differences among vampires, even among the three we spend the most time with. This really helped to make them seem more human, despite being supernatural creatures.

My one complaint about this book would probably be the pacing. While there are parts where the action and dialogue flow really well, almost beautifully, there are some sections that can get a bit tedious and drawn out. It could be due to the fact that the book lives up to its title; it's an interview, Louis recounting the events of his immortal life as he remembers them. It would probably be natural for there to be moments where the story lulls but these felt to me like they were dragging more than necessary.

However, this stretching out of moments could also have been a ploy for characterization, since Louis is shown to be really contemplative. The nature of the vampires can raise some really interesting topics for discussion, in particular the price of immortality. This is probably what Louis thinks about the most and, though I've seen this happen with a few characters from other stories, his case is different because of what he has to do in order to maintain that immortality. I also really liked how the kid interviewing Louis gets a firsthand demonstration of what vampires have to do and how nicely it sets you up for the sequel.

Of course, I also have to throw in a good word for the film adaptation. While some scenes were cut or swapped out for something else and I'm not entirely sure what they were thinking with some of the casting choices (as much as I love Antonio Banderas, I don't see him as Armand), the rest of it was pretty good in my book. Kirsten Dunst was fabulous as Claudia, and I ended up liking Tom Cruise's Lestat better than I thought I would. Not to mention the fact that Brad Pitt made for an incredibly gorgeous vampire. It's more mellow and has more humorous moments than the book, so you might want to take that into consideration before checking it out.

Pick this one up. Even if you're not as crazy about vampires as I am, there are a lot of things people can appreciate, from the writing to the questions of immortality and how it can affect someone. Lengthy and dragging sections aside, the characters are incredibly memorable, the action is great, and the writing is fantastic. This book is a staple of vampire literature for a reason.

Rating: 4 stars


Series
  1. Interview with the Vampire
  2. The Vampire Lestat
  3. The Queen of the Damned
  4. The Tale of the Body Thief
  5. Memnoch the Devil
  6. The Vampire Armand
  7. Merrick
  8. Blood and Gold
  9. Blackwood Farm
  10. Blood Canticle
  11. Prince Lestat
Similar Books
  • Hotel Transylvania by Chelsea Quinn Yarbro
  • Anno Dracula series by Kim Newman
  • Sunglasses After Dark by Nancy A. Collins
Content
  • Violence
  • Kissing
  • Nudity
  • Scenes with intense erotic undertones
  • Mentions of arousal
  • Some gore
  • Some graphic depictions of murder

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