Book Review: Interview with the Vampire (The Vampire Chronicles Book 1) by Anne Rice

 
 
From the events that led him to being turned into a vampire; to his unhappy time in New Orleans with his maker, Lestat; to the vampire child, Claudia, whom they made; to his travels around the globe searching for other vampires; Louis bares all and tells the story of his life to an eager journalist.
 

 
Book Review: Interview with the Vampire (The Vampire Chronicles Book 1) by Anne Rice | reading, books, book reviews, fantasy, paranormal/urban fantasy, vampires
Title: Interview with the Vampire
Author:
Publisher:
Book Number: Book 1
Pages: 353
My Book Rating:
More Info: Goodreads, Amazon, Publisher
 

Review:

There’s nothing I can say about this book that hasn’t been said already and said far more eloquently. But I’m going to talk about it anyway because it’s special to me. This book was the book—the one that started my love for vampire books.

I read this for the first time when I was 14, and then proceeded to read the rest of the 11 or so Vampire Chronicles books (plus the New Tales ones) available at the time. When I think of high school, these are the books that come to mind. I have a lot of memories of reading these books. They mean something to me. They shaped me as a reader and, maybe in some ways, as a person.

So, 8 or so years later, I decided I wanted to revisit this book that meant so much to me as a teen and to refresh my memory before finally reading Claudia’s Story. My first attempt didn’t go well—I DNFed around 20%—but a few years after that, I found myself thinking about this book more and more until one day I came upon some fan art and was suddenly filled with this excitement and desire to reread the book immediately, and I think being in the right mood made all the difference. I really enjoyed it, to the point that I actually want to continue rereading the series—I hadn’t been expecting that.

But anyway… I’ve decided my reviews for this series aren’t going to be reviews so much as just a way for me to track and discuss my thoughts. So the likes/dislikes might be helpful for people considering the book, but the rest will be better for anyone who’s already read it or is just curious. Also, I just want to note that I’m basing these thoughts on THIS BOOK ONLY, not any of the later books.

Things I Disliked/Things I Didn’t Mind but Others Might Dislike:

The interview style of the book was weird since technically it was 3rd person omniscient set in the present, but, since most of the book was Louis talking, it felt more like 1st person set in the past. It sounds like something that be distracting, but I still kept getting lost in the story regardless.

There was a lot of flowery language and description. Sometimes it drew me into the story, other times it was too much.

Descriptions of characters and random humans was… strangely sensual in a way that I sometimes found kind of unsettling. Maybe it was because, instead of noticing typical things, Louis noticed things like the plumpness of someone’s cheeks. Seriously, the word ‘plump’ was used five times which doesn’t seem like a lot, but it sure seems that way while you’re reading. It was like everyone described came from a cherubic Renaissance painting (though I feel like this might just be Anne Rice’s writing style). Although, I suppose it makes sense that a vampire would describe people with a word more often used to describe food.

There was no goal to work toward. It was literally just a vampire explaining everything that happened in his life.

There weren’t regular chapters, just four parts.

Louis and Armand kept tossing around the word ‘love’ like candy almost as soon as they met. But Armand himself said he only wanted Louis because Louis would be the one to revitalize him and keep him from falling into despair from the immortality. And Louis, well, he was clearly just enamored by the way someone was finally willing to give him answers and talk with him and listen while he brooded aloud.

Things I Liked:

– I will always love this portrayal of vampires. I mean, I do like reading about sex + biting, but, for these vampires, feeding and killing IS sex, and I can appreciate that. (I still remember the first time I read a book in which the vampires had sex though, I hated it and was like, “No! That’s not how it’s supposed to be!” Lol.) The biting still has this sensual/erotic aspect to it at times. And I just like these beautiful yet deadly vampires. They’re human, yet they’re not human.

The characterization was fantastic. None of the characters were particularly likeable, but they were so well-written, and that made me kind of like them anyway. Sometimes I feel like a lot of the characters I read about are bland or super similar to other characters, but both Louis and Lestat were so different from each other and also unique in their own rights.

There were some unconventional relationships. I found them thought-provoking (more on this below).

The whole book had a dark, atmospheric feel.

My Thoughts on the Characters (there might be *SPOILERS* in this section):

– Armand. I feel like I still don’t know much about Armand. He seemed pretty inhuman and emotionless. But he also seemed like someone you could talk to for a long time, and he was a great listener.

– Claudia. Everyone knows about the tragic child vampire, trapped forever in the body of a child, never able to be independent, never able to live or be treated like an adult. But what was so interesting about her was the fact that, for all intents and purposes, she didn’t have a human life before becoming a vampire. She was only five years old, so, unlike others, Claudia didn’t have a humanity to remember and to influence her. She was turned before she even understood right from wrong, before she understood the value of life. And because of that, she was… different. Cold, cruel, and vicious in her own unique ways, but also suffering.

– Louis. Ah… I’m not sure how I feel about him. He was not without his flaws, like kind of only seeing what he wanted to see (especially when it came to Armand and Claudia), but he was far more likeable to me than the others as a person (well, vampire) because he wasn’t as cruel. I would much rather have Louis as my companion than Lestat, Claudia, or Armand. Louis is an introspective, a thinker, a seeker of knowledge, an appreciator of beauty, and I can relate to all those things to some degree. I also felt for him, stuck with Lestat of all people as his maker. Lestat was a horrible mentor, so I could understand Louis being upset about that. I could also understand why Louis stayed with him (more on this below). But Louis’s brooding did eventually get to be a bit much. All he did was dwell in negatives and pain. He said he wanted to appreciate things with his new vampire life, but it didn’t seem like he ever actually did that. And then, by the end, this vampire who had been the most in tune with his humanity became numb and more detached from life than even Lestat or Armand. But who knows, any one of us might turn out the same if we were turned into monsters, hated what we were, were emotionally abused and manipulated, lost the person we loved, and were alive for centuries. So I don’t dislike him. I do feel sad for him though.

– Lestat. Oh, Lestat. He was abusive, manipulative, greedy, controlling, and temperamental, and he wouldn’t let Louis leave because he was afraid of being alone. He was terrible toward Louis and Claudia, and he was cruel to the humans and would terrorize them before killing or would make them fall in love with him so that he could add betrayal to their pain when he killed them. The one word I’d use to describe him though is ‘pathetic.’ Lestat was terrible, abusive, and cruel, and then, when those he treated terribly finally wanted nothing more to do with him, he was weak, scared, lost, lonely, and wanted them back. He might not actually be that simple, I guess I will find out when I keep reading, but that’s how I feel about him based on how he was portrayed through Louis’s POV. Don’t get me wrong, he was interesting as a character, just not likeable as a person. Ironically though, he seemed to have more humanity than any of the others in one sense of the word—he still felt emotions and passions and life in a way that the others didn’t seem to.

My Thoughts on the Relationships (there might be *SPOILERS* in this section):

Louis and Claudia’s was the strangest because he raised her as a father, then he became her lover (minus the sex), but he still kind of thought of her as a child and treated her like a child because she looked like one. Louis himself literally described them as: “Father and Daughter. Lover and Lover.”

– Then there was Louis and Lestat who most certainly did not love each other (or if they did, it was definitely not in a healthy way) but who stayed together regardless and raised a vampire child together. They even had discussions about Claudia’s “acting out” as though she were really their child, and Lestat would storm out, telling Louis to talk to her because he couldn’t deal with her. They made their own little dysfunctional family. But this wasn’t a cute, funny thing—their relationship was abusive, and I can understand Louis’s side to an extent. Lestat was the epitome of an abusive parent/partner/friend/whatever. Lestat constantly belittled Louis, he made Louis believe that he (Louis) needed him (Lestat), he even made a child with Louis in order to manipulate him into staying because he knew Louis wanted to leave him. Anyone who’s never dealt with a person like that might think the solution is really simple—Louis should’ve just stopped whining and left—but 1) he didn’t know if there were other vampires, and he didn’t want to be alone either, 2) Lestat was his maker, which probably gave them some sort of bond, and 3) Lestat was manipulative, controlling, and physically more powerful than Louis. In abusive relationships, it’s not always as simple as just leaving. So I do believe that Louis hated Lestat, but I believe his feelings were more complex than that, which is realistic. As for Lestat’s feelings for Louis… I honestly don’t know. That’s still an enigma to me. I wanted to talk about this though because I’ve seen people talk about romance/love/batting eyes at each other/etc. in this book between Louis and Lestat, but all I could really see was how abusive and manipulative Lestat’s actions and words were.

I’m not sure I even understand what Louis’s relationship was with Armand. They traveled the world together, but Louis had become numb already by that point, and he said something about going off on his own for long periods of time before returning to Armand.

Overall Thoughts:

Even though this book had a lot of description and a few other things that would normally put me off a book, it’s a vampire classic, it means something to me because of how much it’s influenced my reading habits, and I found myself being drawn in by the great characterization!

 
 
Book Blurb

This is the story of Louis, as told in his own words, of his journey through mortal and immortal life. Louis recounts how he became a vampire at the hands of the radiant and sinister Lestat and how he became indoctrinated, unwillingly, into the vampire way of life. His story ebbs and flows through the streets of New Orleans, defining crucial moments such as his discovery of the exquisite lost young child Claudia, wanting not to hurt but to comfort her with the last breaths of humanity he has inside. Yet, he makes Claudia a vampire, trapping her womanly passion, will, and intelligence inside the body of a small child. Louis and Claudia form a seemingly unbreakable alliance and even “settle down” for a while in the opulent French Quarter. Louis remembers Claudia’s struggle to understand herself and the hatred they both have for Lestat that sends them halfway across the world to seek others of their kind. Louis and Claudia are desperate to find somewhere they belong, to find others who understand, and someone who knows what and why they are.

Louis and Claudia travel Europe, eventually coming to Paris and the ragingly successful Theatre des Vampires – a theatre of vampires pretending to be mortals pretending to be vampires. Here they meet the magnetic and ethereal Armand, who brings them into a whole society of vampires. But Louis and Claudia find that finding others like themselves provides no easy answers and in fact presents dangers they scarcely imagined.

Basic Info

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Genre: , , ,
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More Info (Possible Spoilers)

Sexual Orientation:
Non-Human Type:
Romance Type: ,
Romance Aspects:
Other:

Warnings

Sex:
Violence:
Strong Language:

 
 

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  1. Christy LoveOfBooks

    I never read the book, but I remember watching the movie at the theater when I was in high school (the 90s). Don’t remember many details, though. Claudia was only 5 when turned in the book? Wasn’t she older in the movie? And that’s just weird, about her and Louis. Glad you were able to enjoy it on your reread.

    Christy LoveOfBooks recently posted: The Hunt by Chloe Neill

    1. Kristen Burns

      Yeah, they made her older in the movie. It’s definitely a weird kind of relationship, but somehow it doesn’t feel out of place in the dark atmosphere of the story. Thanks!

    1. Kristen Burns

      I suppose the goal was eventually to find other vampires in the world. But I mean, it kind of does end on a thought since it’s just Louis telling his life story up to that point. Normally that would bother me, but I think the fact that I knew generally what the plot was helped since I kind of had things to look forward to and knew that some things would happen eventually, if that makes sense.

    1. Kristen Burns

      Yeah, those reads that remind us of our childhood/teen years always have a special place in our hearts <3 You should totally reread some of your old favorites!

      Thanks :-)

  2. Barb (boxermommyreads)

    I’m pretty sure I read this around the same age you did. I have hopes of reading it again one day and then continuing on. However, I do love her other series. I devours The Mayfair Witches books and loved the first werewolf book she wrote, although I need to finish that series. I hate to say it but Tom Cruise sort of ruined this series for me. I thought he made an awful vampire.

    1. Kristen Burns

      I’ve never read her other series, just the vampires. I didn’t even know she had werewolf books, interesting! Idk, I saw the movie before reading the book and it was what made me want to read the book in the first place, so Tom Cruise was the version of Lestat I first saw. (The weirdest casting in that movie was definitely Antonio Banderas for Armand!)

  3. Wattle

    I read this book years and years ago now, and barely remember it, but I *do* remember an overall feeling of liking it. When I tried to read The Vampire Lestat straight after though…let’s just say, there was a bookmark half way through that novel for 10 years before I gave up and got rid of the books I’d bought (I’m an all or nothing kind of girl, I didn’t buy the whole series but it was more than 2 lol)

    Anne Rice’s writing is sort of…flowery to me? There’s just…something about it I cannot get into completely. Weirdly, I’ve actually been thinking about re-reading this lately. But I’m not sure…I love the movie though.

    1. Kristen Burns

      Yep, that was how I felt before rereading. I remembered liking it but barely remembered the actual book. But I guess I must’ve enjoyed all the rest in the series as well. I’m curious to see how many more I’ll end up reading this time.

      Oh, there’s definitely a lot of description and floweriness. That was my biggest issue, I think. But I think you give the reread a go anyway ;-)

  4. Lily B

    I’ll give her a try at one point or another. I had this vampire phase at one point so I am surprised that I never read her.
    Glad you enjoyed it so much, despite the fact that the same thing that drew you to the book at certain points also did not work at others

    Lily B recently posted: Review: Asylum by Madeleine Roux

    1. Kristen Burns

      It was actually the movie that made me want to read the book in the first place! I have had occasions when the movie ended up being better, but I think they’re both good in this case. Thanks!

  5. sjhigbee

    Thank you for a wonderfully detailed and readable review, Kristen. I’ve never read this book and you gave me plenty of information as to whether this one is for me or not:)

    1. Kristen Burns

      I can’t promise it won’t give you nightmares (I mean, I’ve had random nightmares from non-horror books lol), but I can promise it’s not at all a scary or creepy book. It’s just vampires :-) And yes the movie is also great!

  6. verushka

    It’s great (and sometimes not great) when you revisit an old favourite. I read this years ago, and i’d forgotten so much of what you described, but also you’ve given me a new way of looking at Louis and Claudia especially — thank you!

    verushka recently posted: #CBCA: Pepsi the Problem Puppy

    1. Kristen Burns

      It’s a great movie as well! Lol yeah it doesn’t hurt that it has both Brad Pitt and Tom Cruise ;-) Although now they’re the ones I picture when I read lol.

  7. Becky @ A Fool's Ingenuity

    It’s so awesome that you got a chance to reread the book which began your love for vampires! I love books which influence you as a reader (for me, there are a whole bunch of different reasons). I’m not a massive vampire reader so I kind of know I’ll never read this series (the number of books is also offputting) but I get that it is a classic in its own way. The style of writing would totally not work for me but the characters are interesting and this is kind of the standard idea of how vampires act.

    1. Kristen Burns

      Yeah, prob not the series for you. The number of books would normally be daunting for me, but I already own like ten of them and my library has ebooks of the newer ones I don’t own, so I don’t have to worry about the money. And though I plan to continue, I’m not gonna force myself to keep going if I reach a point where I get tired of it. But yeah, this was a big influence on the modern portrayal of vampires!

  8. Karen

    I’m kind of afraid to re-read this now. I read it almost 10 years ago maybe and I was sooooo in love with Louie and intrigued by Claudia & Armand and I don’t want it to be ruined if I feel differently.

    I re-read it dozens of times back then but stopped once I started blogging and had too many other books to read.

    For What It’s Worth

    Karen recently posted: tell me something tuesday

    1. Kristen Burns

      I get it, it’s nerve-wracking rereading old favorites since you might end up liking them less. That’s why I’m glad this one turned out well for me!

  9. MaryGrace

    I definitely felt the same way as you did when I first read the book back in high school. 1994! Oh man, that was eons ago, and the movie came out in the fall of that same year. Over the years I followed it up with the other books in the Vampire Chronicles, able to see more and more of Lestat’s backstory and motivations, though Louis stays the same and honestly, that got boring. I think Queen of the Damned is the best book out of that series.

    1. Kristen Burns

      Oh that’s cool that you read it before the movie! I read it after seeing the movie, so I just have Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt stuck in my head as the characters lol. I don’t remember much about the later books, but I do remember that Lestat changes a lot. I think I remember Queen of the Damned the best, or at least bits and pieces of it. I remember the climax being really intense!

    1. Kristen Burns

      Lol it really was, but I couldn’t bring myself to remove anything! Thanks, glad you liked it :-)

      Sometimes I kind of regret that I didn’t keep any notes about my thoughts on books when I was in middle and high school. I just wonder how much I actually noticed or paid attention to, what I took from books, how I felt about them. I might’ve missed out on a lot too when I first read this, or maybe I felt the exact same way. I guess I’ll never know. But you should totally do a reread ;-)

      I think the movie is great too! It was actually the movie that made me interested in the book in the first place.

  10. Karen Blue

    I read this book after I read The Vampire Lestat and other books in the series. I think I read this when I ran out of series to read and so…I am a bit biased toward Louis. I read it and thought the whole time how Louis was a liar and such a whiny Vampire that he took his gift for granted.
    I read Interview with a Vampire through Lestat’s eyes because for me he was everything. My favorite bits of this book were the bits involving Claudia as she became the one subject Lestat was always reluctant to talk about.
    I think you summed this up very well. It is such an engrossing tale and it has so many subjects that were hard to relate to that it could really only get 4 stars from me either. Fantastic review!

    *I have to admit I read your review the day it hit my email and then forgot to stop by and comment. That was stupid as the email got buried until just now for me. I did start reading The Vampire Lestat as soon as I read your review. Maybe only because I couldn’t wait to read it since the minute we talked about it. I can’t believe how much I forgot, including the fact that Armand loved Lestat first. Hopefully I will be finishing Lestat sometime next week.

    1. Kristen Burns

      Ok now your comment has me itching to get to the next book because I don’t remember any of these things and I want to what Louis lied about?! I wonder how much an impact it makes reading the series in a different order. Like, I sympathized with Louis while reading this, yet you sympathized with Lestat. I’m really curious to see if my opinion will change as I read more. But gah, I still have other books to read before getting back to this series!

  11. Cee Arr

    ARGH YOU DID THE THING!!!! XD

    I personally did sympathise with Louis, but also found him quite whiny sometimes. Like dude, you’re a freaking vampire – maybe appreciate that once in a while!

    Lestat… he’s not a good person. But I adore him. The force of his emotions (plus his drama – he’s the f**king queen honey!) always made me love him. Plus, he’s so sad! Someone can’t be that sad without me wanting to hug them, ok? ;) <3

    I just love the whole gothic-ness of these books. And Anne Rice's writing is officially the sh**! Lol.

    1. Kristen Burns

      I agree, I sympathize, but he also could do with a little less whining and a little more doing.

      I am curious to see if my opinion of Lestat changes when I read more of the series. Whether I like him as a person will depend on whether he changes or not. But I can dislike a char as a person and still love them as a char if they’re interesting/complex/realistic enough.

  12. La La in the Library

    My cousin gave me this book and it was my first vampire book. I didn’t read Dracula until last year.. Ha ha. I was used to reading SciFi and High Fantasy, so reading this book was very different for me and I loved it. I am so glad your re-read attempt was a success this time because it is wonderful being able to revisit old favorites, especially ones that have an extra special place in your heart. ☺

    La La in the Library recently posted: THE SUNDAY SYNOPSIS #137

    1. Kristen Burns

      This was also my first vampire book, and I didn’t read Dracula until last year either, haha, so we have that in common! Thanks :-) It’s nerve-wracking visiting old favorites though since sometimes it doesn’t go so well!

  13. Olivia Roach

    And there you were saying this would be the review that no one would read but I see a lot of lovely comments! I can’t say too much as I haven’t read this book before… I do love vampires though – admittedly because of Stephanie Meyer (I gather you’re not a fan… because that breaks all the vampire rules) but I should read this one because it sounds like it really deals with a classic vampire and kind of does it in a unique way? The writing style and format of the book sounds different. I realise I don’t mind flowery language as long as I am invested in a book enough before it shows up, so I don’t think I’ll mind that.

    Olivia Roach recently posted: Last Chance [Book Review & Giveaway!]

    1. Kristen Burns

      Believe it or not, I read all the Twilight books, so I must’ve liked something about them. But I read them after Anne Rice’s books, and so I felt like Meyer’s vampires were all wrong, and I think it might’ve been those books that made me stop reading about vampires for years lol. But now I like seeing how diff authors portray them, and I respect every author’s right to make vampires however they want as long as they still drink blood :-) (and every reader’s right to enjoy whatever books they want!)

      I think it was these books that kind of set the standard for the modern vampire portrayal. If you like vampires and don’t mind flowery language, then I def suggest giving this a try!