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Review: The Vampire Lestat by Anne Rice

Friday, December 19, 2014


The Vampire Lestat
Anne Rice

Genre: Gothic Horror
Paperback: 550 Pages
Publication: October 1986 (originally 1985)
by Ballantine Books



Lestat, having risen from the earth after a fifty-five years' sleep, and infatuated with the modern world, presents himself in all his vampire brilliance as a rock star, a superstar, a seducer of millions. And, in this blaze of adulation, daring to break the vampire oath of silence, he determines to tell his story, to rouse the generations of the living dead from their slumbers and to penetrate the riddle of his own existence.


Review

Once again, my love of vampires reigned supreme when I drew this book for review. I was already well acquainted with Lestat from previous books and the film adaptation (yes, I did picture Tom Cruise at times while reading), so I was curious as to how his origin story would turn out. Needless to say, I was dazzled by the time I finished.

Since he's our protagonist this time around, let's look at Lestat. While he came across as devilish yet somehow magnetic in Interview with the Vampire, this book provides for a slightly different vampire. He's still a brat and seems to have thing for breaking rules, but we get to see why he acted the way he did in the last book. Call it my weakness for rock stars in leather on motorcycles, but I found myself falling for Lestat in the first few pages of the novel. I actually had to remind myself that this same guy was the antagonist of the book I'd read only a few weeks ago. But these first few chapters really reminded me why other characters find themselves so drawn to him.

I think what gave way to this change of feelings towards Lestat was the way this story was told. Since we only saw him from Louis's perspective in the last book, we saw Lestat as Louis painted him: a cruel leader who wanted to keep any and all knowledge of other vampires and vampiric nature from his fledglings. Again, since we see Lestat's life from his early years as a young aristocrat and actor to his transformation into a vampire and the years that follow, we learn the reasons why he kept all of this information from Louis and Claudia. He actually reminded me of Louis when he is first transformed, fascinated with his new senses and holding a desire to live among mortals.

Where pacing was a problem for me in the last book, it wasn't the case for this one. Lestat as a narrator has a livelier voice than Louis, and the way the narrative is split into parts allows for an easier transition to the different major events of Lestat's life. What I did find myself struggling with a bit was the fact that Lestat doesn't really mention dates as time goes by. He'll say that a few months or years have passed, but there are rare instances of concrete dates given. This may just be due to his vampire nature, since the passage of time feels different to immortals. We also get more on the physical aspects and abilities of vampires and their mythos, including the origin of Those Who Must Be Kept, the oldest vampires in existence.

I think what I loved the most about this book was the emergence of other vampires, some of whom were familiar faces from the previous installment of the series. We once again meet the brooding Armand and learn briefly how he came to be born to darkness, as well as the establishment of the Theater of the Vampires. Later Lestat encounters Armand's creator Marius, who also gives us his tale of becoming a vampire and becoming the guardian of Those Who Must Be Kept. (Marius was already familiar to me since I'd read Pandora, so it was fun getting to hear about his tenure as a vampire.) Towards the end of the book we also get the reappearance of Louis, our narrator from Interview. Call it my weakness for him in particular, but I just about screamed with joy when he showed up. The moments with him also illustrated the change in how Lestat is portrayed.

I'll admit that I did like how the ending for Interview set you up for this book, but I really loved how the ending of this book sets up the next sequel. The last few sections are thrilling, with Lestat's band putting on their first show at a sold-out stadium in San Francisco, and the scene is fabulously put together, making you feel that you are right there with him onstage. The high energy and action of these last few pages, as well as the cliffhanger at the very end, left me excited to pick up the next book.

This book definitely tops its predecessor. Again, Rice's writing is fantastic in this book, and Lestat as a protagonist is a real delight. The vampires were great, possibly better this time around, and the ties to the last book worked incredibly well. The origin stories were good additions and could easily be picked up again in more detail in later books. This installment of the Vampire Chronicles was an absolute joy to read.

Rating: 5 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
  • Scenes with intense homoerotic undertones
  • Some gore
  • Some graphic depictions of murder

1 comment on "Review: The Vampire Lestat by Anne Rice"
  1. I love how new installments in a series can show us the same characters in a new light and even make us fall in love with characters we hated in another book. This sounds like a fantastic vampire novel! Lovely review as always, Roxanne! :)

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