The Vampire Lestat – Anne Rice

photo-2Book Description (Amazon): Once an aristocrat in the heady days of pre-revolutionary France, now Lestat is a rockstar in the demonic, shimmering 1980s. He rushes through the centuries in search of others like him, seeking answers to the mystery of his terrifying exsitence. His story, the second volume in Anne Rice’s best-selling Vampire Chronicles, is mesmerizing, passionate, and thrilling.

My Review (Spoilers!):

Executive Summary: enchanting

My sister is a big Anne Rice fan, and I think she has read all of Rice’s vampire books. When I borrowed Interview with a Vampire from her, she also sent me this one. I started it after I finished Interview, but with holiday traveling and the slow start to the book, it took me quite a while to finish. In fact, when I was on my flight to my parents’ house, one of the flight attendants told me that this book was his favorite of all of them. So I kept reading.

The book is “an autobiography” in that Lestat is releasing it as a bit of “his side of the story” in response to Louis’s release of Interview with a Vampire. Lestat reawakens after sleeping in the group (presumably since we left him in Interview) in the 1980s which I thought was a hilarious idea. He automatically falls in love with the era and decides to join a rock band. He quickly takes over using his vast money to direct the band to his whims. He wants people to know that he is real and idolize him (since everyone knows of Lestat from the book). This is totally against any vampire “doctrine”.

Then the book turns into telling Lestat’s story from the beginning. And honestly, I just didn’t care. Basically Lestat lived in rural France in the 1800s to an aristocratic family (albeit one that was no longer wealthy). He did not get along at all with his family except for his mother who eventually convinces him to move to Paris with his new friend Nicolas as she is dying and he will have no one on his side once she’s gone. Lestat and Nicolas, a violinist, go to Paris and join a theater. Lestat becomes the main character and loves ever minute of it. At one performance, he feels as though someone is watching him specifically and the following night, he is kidnapped from his home.

He is taken to Magnus’s castle and turned into a vampire. Then Magnus kills himself by jumping into a fire without hardly telling him a thing. He remains tied to the mortal world, sending letters and Magnus’s money to his family and his theater family. Eventually his mother comes to visit. As she only has a short time left to live, Lestat tells her what has happened and at her request, he turns her into a vampire as well. Eventually Lestat and Gabrielle (his mother) are accosted in their (previously Magnus’s) tower by a bunch of lesser vampires. They believe that they are Satan’s creations and live as “old” vampires do–sleeping in cemeteries, wearing rags, and haunting mortals. They are opposed to Magnus’s and now Lestat’s way of pretending to be a mortal and living amongst mortals. (They are led by Armand who we know from the previous book) They have kidnapped Nicki and are about to sacrifice him. Nicki is saved but is near death and against Gabrielle’s wishes, Lestat turns Nicki into a vampire.

Nicki hates being a vampire and is reckless and careless with everything. Armand is having difficulty without any direction (no coven to lead). Armand begs Gabrielle and Lestat to take him with them and tells them about his creator Marius, however the pair realize that they will not help Armand. Lestat puts Armand in charge of the Theater–now the Theater of the Vampires–and also in charge of Nicki. The pair go to travel, growing apart quickly. Lestat wants to travel to all the cities and be around all the people; Gabrielle wants to live in the wild never seeing anyone. Eventually they part. Lestat all the while is trying to contact Marius by leaving him notes at every location they go. Marius has not replied, Gabrielle has left him. Lestat sinks into a depression and buries himself in the ground. Eventually he is saved by Marius. (This is where the story finally becomes interesting.)

Marius takes Lestat to his home (an island far away and difficult to get to). He tells Lestat the story of how he was made (he’s about 1800 years old and was an ancient Roman). He tells the tale of the supposed origin of vampires and shows Lestat “Those who Must be Kept” aka the first vampires–Akasha and Enkil–vampires from ancient Egypt who are so old that they rarely feed, hardly move, and are kept in a shrine in Marius’s home. It is suggested that any damage that happens to them happens to all vampires. For instance, Marius took them after their previous owner left them out in the sun and all the vampires in existence were burnt. Akasha allows Lestat to feed from her which increases his power, but Enkil gets protective and Marius sends Lestat away to calm Enkil. Marius promises that they will meet again once Lestat has completed one “life”.

Lestat takes his father to New Orleans and the story reverts to the story that we knew from Interview. After this section which I will not revisit, it returns to 1984 where the band is about to perform at a very large concert in San Francisco. As Lestat had wanted, many vampires know of the concert, and one of those is Louis. He comes back to Lestat and attends the concert with him. After the show, Louis and Lestat are attacked by vampires who are instantly burned to death. Gabrielle also appears and helps them escape. Once they are in safety, Lestat begins trying to contact Marius. He then realizes that it has been Akasha all along because he awakened her with his voice. (a bit cheesy but oh well) The book ends with Akasha appearing and grabbing Lestat.

Verdict: 3.5 stars. I did like this less book than the previous one. I thought the first half or so of the book was fairly dull and it was really hard for me to get into (3 stars max). Once we meet Marius and find out about the ancient Egyptian vampires, it was interesting again (4 stars). Honestly I just wanted it to be the story of Marius. I never really came to like Lestat. Even when he explained “his side” of the story from New Orleans, he still just seemed like a jerk. It didn’t offer anything new. I may revisit this series later in the year when I have less books in my backlog. I would like to read The Queen of the Damned at least.

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Filed under 3.5 stars, Book Club, Book Review

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