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Anne Rice's vampires

by iced.cappuchino

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.

Now stop.

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.

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Is this a review?



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19 Reviews

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Tue Oct 21, 2008 10:35 pm
.katsuro. says...

Thank you soooo much, I was ordering them today and hahah I wasn't sure about it.

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Tue Oct 21, 2008 2:48 am
Emerson wrote a review...

Wow, this thread is old. Oh well!

So the 9th book is the last?

If you look on the list on her site: there are actually ten books. I'm only read up to Memnoch, which wasn't my personal favorite. I've vowed to finish them all one day, ha.

And it looks as though she has a memoir out? That's interesting.

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19 Reviews

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Tue Oct 21, 2008 2:36 am
.katsuro. wrote a review...

So the 9th book is the last? I'm thinking of ordering all the books, but I'm a fast reader.. so I want them all at once. Haha. I haven't read any of them yet, but I caught part of Interview with the Vampire and I did really like the movie. And I own Queen of the Damned.. the movie.. I didn't know that they were related. But I'm really looking forward to reading these books. =]

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Thu Dec 02, 2004 9:03 pm
Tessitore says...

It's what happens when people get stuck in contracts. The same thing is happening to Laurell K. Hamilton.

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Wed Dec 01, 2004 9:45 pm
norris_redford says...

I believe that Interview With the Vampire was the best book of the series. I wish she would have just stopped there. After the Body Thief, I just couldn't continue. I loved the first book so much, and thought the rest just ruined it.

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Wed Dec 01, 2004 4:18 pm
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Tessitore wrote a review...

I like the Anne Rice books much better when I listen to them. Except the witches. Go away, witches, I dislike you...

Anyway, I just recently got into audio books with Stephen King's Dark Tower series, and I decided at the library that I wouldn't mind "reading" The Vampire Armand again. So I picked up the audio version and, I must say... it was SO MUCH BETTER when it was being read to me. It's one of those things where I'm seriously just thinking about buying her entire series in audio once I get the money. I don't know what it is... I guess my eyes get bored or something, but sometimes her books just read like history... and sometimes I just need things read to me. You know?

But, yes, if you have the chance... The Vampire Armand. I listened to it on my portable cassette player out in my front yard, staring up at the night sky, and in my car... it was a good experience.

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Tue Nov 30, 2004 11:24 pm
iced.cappuchino says...

However, I'd have to disagree with you on our dislike for her style. The most lavish of books are the immediate confrontation with the abnormal and their inner most desires. Anne Rice has described this intricately and beautifully, so that we get the picture she wants us to; we can taste the rich, heated blood on our tongues as the protagonist draws the warm nectar from his fair victim, perfectly picked like a morsel of divine food. We despair when they despair, we feel what they feel.

Hmmmm... I'd have to agree that her style IS an intergral part of her characters, and that it is gives her books that unique spark. I guess it's part of the reason why so many people either hate or or love it and that very few kind of hang in the middle.

Perhaps I was overly critical in my first post, but I don't dislike her style; it may become a little hard to decipher when I don't concentrate, but - like you said - it is part of the reason why we are so in tune with her characters.

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Tue Nov 30, 2004 6:27 am
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hawk wrote a review...

I admit, I did not read Interview with the Vampire first, rather my first book was Blood and Gold, the story of Marius, so I already had a firm idea of Lestat and Armand before I eventually go to it. Blood and Gold remains my favourite of her books, simply because Marius is my favourite vampire.

I agree with you, iced.cappuchino, that the characters are simply divine. Lestat, the brat prince, is the most naive, succulent, and arrogant of all vampires. Somehow, even through all his flaws in Interview with the Vampire, the reader can never truly hate him. Armand, whom I had a much better idea of before I came to Interview with the Vampire, was the tragedy of the series, the lost youth Marius mourns for, and there is ever a sadness that lurks within him, and a sadness you feel when you read of him.
Louis, the most human of all the vampires, is something different altogether, and Claudia, having never been anything more than a child, has (had) her own aura of sadness about her.

However, I'd have to disagree with you on our dislike for her style. The most lavish of books are the immediate confrontation with the abnormal and their inner most desires. Anne Rice has described this intricately and beautifully, so that we get the picture she wants us to; we can taste the rich, heated blood on our tongues as the protagonist draws the warm nectar from his fair victim, perfectly picked like a morsel of divine food. We despair when they despair, we feel what they feel.
If you did read the lives of the Mayfair witches, you'll understand that she does not shy away from the more graphic of scenes, and yet where on earth would her books be without that richness of description. Her characters would cease to impress.

“I am not worried, Harry," said Dumbledore, his voice a little stronger despite the freezing water. "I am with you.”
— Albus Dumbledore, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince