Anne Rice: full time writer, creator of the brat prince Lestat, of the Mayfair witches and the famous Vampire Chronicles, which began with the even more famous book-turned-crappy-movie 'Interview with the Vampire'.
Now, my dear friends, for the huge controversy over her work.
Well, now, whether you worship her to the last corners of Heaven or hate her like the Devil's behind, allow me to present my review on her series 'The Vampire Chronicles'.
It starts with the book 'Interview with the Vampire', in which Louis Pointe-du-Lac, a vampire, tells his story to a young human reporter. The story spans over two hundred years, from the moment Louis was made a vampire to modern times.
Now, the story in itself is not incredible. The writing is... flower-y, with long descriptions, punctured now and then with dialogue and long monologues on death, religion and more angst.
No, the genius is not in the writing style nor the story itself. Some may contest this fact, but I don't believe that Anne Rice's popularity is due to these two factors. Her writing is somewhat above average, yes, and her story is moderately interesting.
HOWEVER, what truly draws us in her stories, what is the pure genius of her work (and keep in mind that this is a review, therefore very subjective, therefore it is completely and totally MY opinion) are the characters.
Yes, the characters.
After the first book, you may be tempted to drop the series altogether and save your money for something else.
Well, I'll ask you to at least give the second book a chance.
I'll admit, I was incredibly relunctant to read the second book after the first. The first was good- but long and drawn out. But upon reading the second book, 'The Vampire Lestat'...
Revelation and joy!
Critics of Anne Rice may flame her long, flower-y prose, her overly long descriptions and her overly verbose style, but they can't really say anything for her careful consideration of her characters.
Reading the second book after the first is like having milk with cookies. Like a hot bath after soccer practice. Like, well, you get the point. Suddenly, the quirks and mysteries in from the first book are explained and revealed. Not only that, but you delve deeper into each characters' consciousness. And with the amount of characters in the story, it is no easy task.
You could drop the series after the second book. But wait. I'm telling you that stopping after the second is not possible. You'll see for yourself why when you read the series.
The third book is as good, perhaps even more so, than the second. New characters, new intrigue, all carefully planned out, but very drawn out and written in her flourish-and-lace style, as with the last two book.
The first three book are possibly the best part of the series.
You may continue up until Blood and Gold (which is roughly book 7 or 8), but I wouldn't recommend the latter of her series. The prose is just as flower-y and overly verbose, but I find it lacks that *spark* between the characters. It's 'Lestat loves her' now, 'Lestat loves him' then, 'Lestat loves them all!' later.
Furthermore, you have to read the Mayfair witch series to understand the last few books. Having been only reading the Vampire Chronicles, I became very confused when I picked up 'Blackwood Farm'.
The most tragic flaw, as the series moves on, is the drop out of past characters. New characters are introduced all the time, but we hardly get a glimpse back at the old ones, except Lestat, who becomes the main character from book two.
I believe this is the major turn off for those who pick out secondary characters (Louis and Armand being the most loved ones, from what I've seen on forums and discussion groups) as their favorites. They disappear from book eight onwards, the story focusing more on Lestat and his new companions.
So, if you ever decide to read this series, here is my comprehensive guide to which ones to pick:
Book 1- 'Interview with the Vampire': yeah, read it
Duh, you should read this if you decide to read the series. It's rather drawn out and long, but yeah, if you manage to finish it and the second one, you'll probably love the way the character interrelations slip toghether.
Book 2- 'The Vampire Lestat': yeah, read it
I would've found it of mediocre level, but for the way it can fit into the first book so well. I know I said this already, but the first two books fit together really really well.
Book 3- 'Queen of the Damned': definitely read it ^^
This is my favorite book. The characters are all in here and they all play an actif part. There are around nine? ten? characters and you get under all of their skin and understand all of them. There are no two dimensional characters with Anne Rice. o.o Perhaps this is the reason why her books are so long...
Book 4- 'The Tale of the Body Thief': Er. If you want to know the rest, yeah
Er. Yeah, if you want to continue the series, by all means, go ahead. o.O I found this book very... er, disconcerting though. Very different from the rest. But yeah, it had humour in it. o.O
Book 5- 'Memnoch the Devil': Er. Well, Armand's in it, so if you're a fan...
...What to say about this book. I wouldn't recommend it, simply because it really serves no purpose. It's just... drawn out and long and boring. I read it though, and found it passably good, though not incredibly captivating. I would suggest skipping this and going straight ahead to book 6, which is Armand's story.
Book 6- 'Armand the Vampire': Sure, but not one of my recommended ones
I've seen a whole bunch of people sticking with the series until book 6, because they love Armand and want to know his story. If you love Armand after reading the first couple of books, read this one. You'll know what happens to him after 'Memnoch the Devil'. I didn't like it. Well, I didn't like anything after book 5, but that's my opinion.
Book 7- 'Blood and Gold': Er, see above.
Marius' story. Goes with book 6, in the same way book 1 and book 2 goes together. Passable. Verbose and descriptive, like the rest. 'Nuff said.
Book 8- 'Blackwood Farm': No. But but now, you're in too deep.
Oh, before you read this book, read 'Merrick'. Because you won't understand anything about Lestat being exiled from New Orleans. I know I was confused. I read this book in diagonal, skipping most of the more drawn out scenes. So I can't give a really recommend/not recommend comment for this book. Well, if I can't finish it, I think that's warning enough.
Not in the series- 'Merrick': Some closure for Louis, not much, but, yeah.
If you are a fan of Louis (like I am) and are wondering what happened to him after the fourth or fifth book (because he drops out of the series after those books), read this book. And he doesn't just appear for one or two pages, he plays a major role in it. For this reason alone, I read the book and appreciated it. Long and drawn out like usual, but the book gave Louis' story some closure. Finally!
Book 9- Blood Canticle: Judging from the reviews on Amazon, no.
I suppose this is the last book of her series (I forgot where I read this, so if anyone can confirm this, I'd be grateful). I haven't read it, because it mixed the world of the Mayfair witches and the vampires. So, yeah, I haven't read the Mayfair witches and don't intend to, so I haven't read this book.