Ever wanted to read a story about vampires, witches and ghosts all in one book? How about a story about an expedition in the Amazon jungle? How about a book about a romance between a 24 year-old and a 74-year old?
I know the last question sounds a bit creepy but there you have it!
1999 marked the year of the pinnacle of vampire literature, when the classic fascination regarding old-styled vampires was still active. Anne Rice, I thought, was just in the game for making more money pushing out stories that did not have anything to do with the original cast of Interview with a vampire (Lois and Lestat) and focused more on the Mayfair witch chronicles and new vampires nobody heard about (Pandora, Marius, Armand). “Merrick” starts off slow and is boring for about a quarter, talking about David Talbot’s life in the Talamasca (organization dealing with the supernatural) and about his love for his protegee Merrick and how they met.
Merrick Mayfair is a brown beauty from new Orleans, with green eyes and an amazing figure and a family history to match. If you have read The Mayfair Witch Chronicles by Anne Rice, you would be at least familiar with her strange and powerful lineage – a family known as powerful witches and voodoo masters. Her “Oncle Julien” is mentioned more than once and “Oncle Velven” is the one that is powerful enough to predict her future from her early years.
She had a sister and a mother, but the father disappeared when she was growing up and her mother, Cold Sandra, brought in a series of boyfriends with her magic (and based on her description, with her looks). The only father she loves is a rich aristocrat who teaches her how to read Latin and with whom the entire family goes in an expedition with to find some old artifacts of the Olmecs.
Her new step-dad falls ill, victim of a curse that surrounded the stolen treasure and her mother receives a big checque as part of his will. When she leaves with her older sister (Honey and the Sunshine) never to return again, she is left alone and forgotten in her Godmother’s care (until picked up by the Talamasca).
Half the book is dedicated to the growth of Merrick, from a scrawny child into a beautiful and erudite young woman who, at 24, embarks in an expedition to find the remains of the Olmec ruins in the Amazon.
Pulling David along and having sex with him in a tent (eww), they discover the mask of the Olmecs, an ancient relic which allowed Merrik and David to see the spirit of the dead.
David falls ill with the same curse which killed her step dad but he manages to survive and sees the “lonely spirit” which advises him to return the mask back to the forgotten forest. He refuses and keeps the mask, recovering slowly from the fever.
The second part of the book shows Merrick disappearing off the radar, David falling prey to the body thief (as described in the Vampire Chronicles book 4 – The Tale of the Body Thief) and him and Louis talking about Claudia – the young vampire child burned centuries ago.
Louis convinces David that they need to get in touch with Merrick again and ask for a favor – he wants to see the spirit of Claudia and ask her about the after-life – to see whether she suffered or not, or whether she was at peace.
But as the book repeats,
Life belongs to the living and dead things have no claim on life.
Their summoning goes wrong and Claudia appears and attempts to stab Louis and demands that he give up his life and die in order for her to be happy. He is shaken and goes to talk to Merrick afterwards. David feels that there is something happening and when he wakes in the morning, he finds Louis dead and burnt in the sun and Merrick turned from a vibrant human into a creature of the night, despite Louis’ promises and hers that this would not happen. David is saddened by this turn of events and wishes he would have never met Merrick as he seems to have brought a curse upon her.
Merrick confesses that everything has been planned by her for the longest of times – the jungle expedition, the random meeting, the desire of David to see and protect her. It was all plans and charms.
All my life,I’ve been afraid of things, as a child and a woman must be. I lied about it naturally. I fancied myself a witch and walked in dark streets to punish myself for my doubts. But I knew what it meant to be afraid.
And now, in this darkness, I fear nothing. If you were to leave me here, I would feel nothing. I would walk as I am walking now. As a man, you can’t know what I mean by what I say.You can’t know a woman’s vulnerability. You can’t know the sense of power that belongs to me now.
From the darkness, a miracle happens and Lestat awakens from his long catatatonic state and gives his blood to revive Louis. A blood exchange happens and Louis, Merrick, David and Lestat end up sharing the same blood and they become a coven.
Total score: 2/5