Prince Lestat

Wow, I bet none of you were expecting this; an eleventh Vampire Chronicle long after the series was said to be over. And considering the last one was so relatively anti-climactic to be so positioned in the series, now we finally have a book worthy of being called a finale. Though of course you may have heard that this is not in fact going to be the last one, and another is already planned for next year. And I could not be happier.

This is very much a “where are they now” kind of book, and we get updates on characters major and (very) minor, and even some completely new ones. Of course a lot of time has passed since Blood Canticle, and this book positively revels in it. Are the vampires Mac or PC kind of people? Do they carry cell phones, do they send emails? The answers to these seemingly irrelevant questions are actually deeply etched into the plot, so that the newness of it all is much more than just a gimmick. This is brilliant storytelling, and fresh on many levels. We’re treated to Anne Rice’s signature romantic style without being bogged down by endless poetry. This is a book where things really happen. Of course I do still have to wonder if they like Netflix as much as I do.

Now, what’s a “where are they now” story without some review of where they’ve been? The Vampire Chronicles have always been written in such a way that if you read them out of order you won’t be lost, but they sure do sell each other. This game plan is in effect here more than ever, and Anne Rice seems to especially recognize that since it’s been so long since the last book, our memories might need a little refreshment. But this is done expertly here, not as a long-winded recap but with just enough tantalizing details to thoroughly involve earlier books into the latest plot. And as I said before, things really do happen. It’s not just an update, but it’s filled with fresh new events and dramatic plot twists worthy of M. Night Shamyalan that do more for the series as a whole than any of these books since Blood and Gold. And trust me, if this is the first Chronicle you read, you will be driven a little nuts with curiosity. The series has really evolved here, and all the references to the ways of the contemporary world don’t seem the least bit out of place but blend almost seamlessly into a storyline we’ve grown to love over the past almost forty years. This is brilliant, especially since this addition is sure to attract some new readers who are too young to have read the earlier books the first time around.

But I’m bad for not giving away spoilers. I can’t even buy someone a gift without telling them about it as soon as they payment has been processed. So let me meet you a fraction of the way. There’s science in this book, and it results in multiple conversations you would only expect to hear on Coast To Coast. Whereas the others have been purely about history, religion, art, and all the things included in your typical Bachelor of Arts curriculum, this new and unexpected subject actually gets a place at the head of the table here. After all, at least once science course is required in a B.A. So this may be perfectly appropriate for the latest lesson in our education about the Vampires.

Now aren’t you just positively thirsting to pick this one up? 😉

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Vittorio the Vampire

Well, what can I really say. It’s an Anne Rice book. That should probably tell you all you need to know. As this was the only one of her vampire books (with the exception of the upcoming Prince Lestat) I can confirm that your expectations will probably prove to be correct.

It’s heavily religious. The main character claims that he’ll speak naturally instead of like some… I don’t know, let’s call it a fancy-ass guilded flower. And of course, he lies. It’s not that big a deal that he tends to be long-winded though, as this isn’t a particularly long book by anyone’s standards. But I’m a little confused about the part where the plot just breaks off and starts again as though nothing happened in between scene A and scene B… it makes no sense, unless maybe someone can explain it to me. And the scene where he (finally!) gets made a vampire is unusually anti-climactic. It disappointed me, and it’s odd for a book like this. And the romance part…. Anne Rice is no stranger to romance, but usually it’s dark and gothic. This is somehow oddly sappy and just plain strange. It seems somehow quite out of character for Vittorio. Ursula’s spell over this guy must be pretty powerful, because he just doesn’t seem the type, at least in the face of all that he experiences here. But Vittorio is a good guy, I don’t want to say I dislike him as a character. He’s not particularly annoying, as can sometimes happen. And his personality fits well with the period in which this all takes place. No, there’s not a whole lot to complain about here, besides maybe that it doesn’t really break any new boundaries despite being the only vampire book truly cut-off from all the characters and events we’re otherwise familiar with.

If you’re into this sort of thing, definitely give it a go. If you’re not, then don’t. That’s about all I have to say about it.