Lestat. The vampire hero of Anne Rice’s enthralling new novel is a creature of the darkest and richest imagination. Once an aristocrat in the heady days of pre-revolutionary France, now a rock star in the demonic, shimmering 1980s, he rushes through the centuries in search of others like him, seeking answers to the mystery of his eternal, terrifying existence. His is a mesmerizing story — passionate, complex, and thrilling
I absolutely adored this book. I read its bulk while waiting in the hospital to be operated and I could almost close my eyes and see the vampire beckoning me to open my window and let him in.
“Very few beings really seek knowledge in this world. Mortal or immortal, few really ask. On the contrary, they try to wring from the unknown the answers they have already shaped in their own minds — justifications, confirmations, forms of consolation without which they can’t go on. To really ask is to open the door to the whirlwind. The answer may annihilate the question and the questioner.”
I’ve read a lot of vampire books and a lot of Anne Rice’s books and this shines out to me as a masterpiece. Better written than Interview with the vampire and a lot more soul poured into it to showcase the human nature when presented with the biggest dream or curse: immortality.
“To be godless is probably the first step to innocence,” he said, “to lose the sense of sin and subordination, the false grief for things supposed to be lost.”
So by innocence you mean not an absence of experience, but an absence of illusions.”
An absence of need for illusions,” he said. “A love of and respect for what is right before your eyes.”
The book is brilliantly written, putting a fictional character of noble origins into deep despairs. A life without death is a life without the redemption and the afterlife. It’s a life without God.
“I can live without God. I can even come to live with the idea there is no life after. But I do not think I could go on if I did not believe in the possibility of goodness.”
So how can a vampire keep their humanity when nothing can stop them except daylight?
“You sense my loneliness, (…) my bitterness at being shut out of life. My bitterness that I’m evil, that I don’t deserve to be loved and yet I need love hungrily. My horror that I can never reveal myself to mortals. But these things don’t stop me, Mother. I’m too strong for them to stop me. As you said yourself once, I am very good at being what I am. These things merely now and then make me suffer, that’s all”
Although I viewed Lestat as somewhat of a villian in the first book, the reader gets a glimpse of Lestat when he was human and first made vampire. His story is long and tours the globe, even with a history lesson of vampire history. The present-day setting of the book is in the 1980’s and I loved Lestat’s view on the 20th century, along with his view on humanity, good versus evil, life and death, and his fellow vampires. I was pleasantly surprised to see this side of Lestat.
What makes “The Vampire Lestat” so good? Just about everything – from characters, to setting, to writing, to mythos. About the only thing I can critique is that at one point, not long after Gabrielle is turned and we meet Armand, the story kinda stalls and gets a bit dull. Oh, and when Marius is telling his story, I kinda got confused and thought we went back to Lestat’s POV. But honestly, those are nitpicks – I enjoyed myself thoroughly with this book.
Lestat is a WAY better protagonist than Louis. He’s not so whiny, so pathetic, so useless. He’s a master of his own life – sure, he contemplates whether he is evil and tends to choose victims who are evil (those women Louis says Lestat seduces? They are prostitutes that cheat sailors and probably kill them). He is a passionate being – he cares enormously for Nikola and Louis (some of the sweetest interactions in the book) and his mother (though his love for her gets a bit creepy in the “I don’t think we should be kissing our MOM this way”). He is a curious being – he searches all over the Mediterranean for Marius and the source of answers. He is a powerful being – his powers attract the attention of Armand and Marius and when others can’t stand being a vampire, he is able to press on.
The rest of the cast is beautifully done as well. Gabrielle, Nikola, Marius, Armand, and even Louis all get dimension. They are real people, with real desires – Gabrielle to be set loose to live alone. Nikola to balance his “wicked” pursuit of the theater with his religious beliefs. And so on. And so forth.
The story was engaging and exciting. I was enthralled with the depths of the mythos, a perfect balance of complex and yet simple – not a list of rules sloppily tacked together when the author needs to add a new challenge to her characters, but actual rules that make sense in the world and seem to originate naturally from the circumstances. And the addition of Akasha and her brother – I can’t tell you how deliciously creeped out I was! I loved it!
At this point, I’m just gushing. Honestly, I really loved this book and am SO GLAD I didn’t give up on this series. If you like your vampires wicked and blood-thirsty, you definitely need to check out this series!!