So, my review is once again… really long. I can’t help it! I have so many thoughts! I’m trying to at least divide these up as much as possible so that you all can choose which sections interest you and just read those if you don’t want to read the whole thing :-)
Things I Disliked/Things I Didn’t Mind but Others Might Dislike:
– A lot of the writing choices in this series are strange. For example, the book started off with Lestat breaking the fourth wall, explaining how he was going to tell us the story of what happened since the ending of the last book. He even explained how he was going to jump to other characters’ perspectives (though that made more sense when I got to the end). And in every book so far, at least one character has explained their entire life story out loud to someone else.
– There’s also a lot of fluff. The characters really like to wax lyrical and over-explain things. But I’m guessing this is just Anne Rice’s style.
– There were a lot of POVs, not all of which seemed necessary. BUT while I didn’t care for some of the POVs (Jesse’s, Pandora’s), I loved others (Daniel’s, Khayman’s), and I did enjoy getting such a well-rounded view of events and getting to know everyone better.
– The book was slow and meandering, and not a lot actually happened. We didn’t even get to the concert until like halfway through. Then things got interesting at the concert. Then things slowed down again. This book seemed to be mostly backstory about various different vampires and how vampires came into existence.
Things I Liked:
– Not only are all the characters so complex, these vampires are so not-human. They masquerade as human, but they’re not. The way they think and feel is so different.
– All the relationships are so complex too. I also find it so interesting the way all the vampires are psychically connected. That makes for interesting connections and interactions among them. And it’s nice when they actually care about each other, like how Pandora and Santino both cared about Marius enough to trek through the frozen tundra to save him.
– It was cool getting to see the characters from other perspectives, to see the way other characters saw them. It helped me understand and get to know all of them better. Especially since every POV is so deep and biased that I sometimes don’t even realize something about a character until another points it out. It’s like every new POV causes me to reconsider my thoughts and feelings about things.
– This has got to be the most unique, complex, well thought-out explanation for vampirism, how it started, why it works the way it does, etc. that I have ever seen.
– I loved the ending. Well, part of it— *SPOILER* The way they all overcame issues among themselves and came together, agreeing to always meet up again. *END SPOILER*
– This is more of a neutral thing than a like or dislike, but all these characters are so forgiving. I mean, I don’t know that I’d have forgiven them for some of the things they’ve done to each other. But I guess, when you’re immortal and have a limited choice of fellow immortal beings to befriend and keep away the loneliness and madness, it makes sense.
My Thoughts on the Characters (there might be *SPOILERS* in this section):
– Armand. I stand by my assessment that Armand is awful. However, he’s also the most entertaining of the vampires so far because of how Anne Rice really plays with the whole “old immortal who can’t keep up with changes and doesn’t understand modern times” thing. Like, on one end of the spectrum, you have Lestat who can seemingly adapt to anything; he rises from the ground after who knows how long, and within a couple weeks, he’s decked out in leather, riding a motorcycle, joining a band, writing songs, planning out music videos, typing up his own memoir, and basically taking over the human world as a rockstar. Meanwhile:
Once Armand had dragged Daniel out of bed in New Orleans and shouted at him: “That telephone, I want you to dial Paris, I want to see if it can really talk to Paris.”
Technological inventions began to obsess Armand, one after the other. First it was kitchen blenders, in which he made frightful concoctions mostly based on the colors of the ingredients; then microwave ovens, in which he cooked roaches and rats. Garbage disposers enchanted him; he fed them paper towels and whole packages of cigarettes.
Back to him being awful though, I’ve talked about the things he did in previous books already, and in this one, he basically ruined Daniel’s life and sanity (before he finally turned him). First, he basically just told Daniel that he was going to stalk him and possibly kill him, unless he proved to be interesting. That went on for a while, and poor Daniel lived in constant fear, on the verge of madness. Then he stopped for a bit, Daniel started feeling sane and well again, only for Armand to swoop back in and tell Daniel he loved him and that Daniel was his now and that, from now on, he could do what he wanted during the day but would spend his nights with Armand. He even made Daniel have sex with people while he watched. I really don’t think I’d call it consensual given how controlling Armand was of Daniel, and Daniel himself said he would be aroused during but feel resentful after. Armand was horribly manipulative (but that’s nothing new), and Daniel was horribly exhausted from years of being dragged around, made to go along with all of Armand’s whims. However, I think Armand cares more about Daniel than he’s ever cared for any other living being (there was Marius, of course, but he literally belonged to Marius, and I think he only felt love for Marius because he was beautiful and otherworldly and the first one to treat him with compassion, so I’m not really sure how I feel about that). And that’s… kind of sad. That this is love to him. That this is how he treats the person he cares about most. And I can’t help but wonder if Daniel actually loves him back or if he just feels what he feels because of his obsession with immortality/vampires and the crazy way Armand essentially took over his life. But now that Daniel is vampire, Armand seems to be treating him better at least.
Oh, and let’s also not forget that Armand treated Lestat horribly in the past, but as soon as Akasha woke and started killing vampires but sparing the ones closest to Lestat, Armand wanted Lestat’s protection.
But like I said, he’s entertaining. And complex. And some strange part of me likes him despite everything he’s done. I guess I feel for him. In a way, he’s a bit like Claudia in that he never really got to have a normal human life before being turned.
– Daniel. I found Daniel just as complex and interesting as all the others, but he was a bit of a hot mess. As a human, he was obsessed with immortality and vampires and then Armand to the point that he’d just stop eating and wander around a city half-mad and/or near-death until Armand sent someone to rescue him. Once he got what he wanted, I have to agree with Marius’s description that Daniel was basically drunk. He was just perpetually fascinated and amused by everything. He didn’t even have the sense to feel worry when Akasha was incinerating all the vampires around them.
– Khayman. I felt bad for him. Khayman was so old, one of the oldest, and he was just so lonely. The poor man just kept trying to be friends with every vampire he came across. He offered his name freely, he tried to help them, etc. He did a terrible thing in the past, absolutely, but he admitted that and regretted it and only did it because he would’ve been killed otherwise and someone worse would’ve just been commanded to do it anyway, so I was able to like him for who he is now. I’m happy he finally has a coven of sorts.
– Marius. I felt bad for him too, for different reasons. He took on this heavy, thankless burden of watching over Akasha and Enkil for so many years. Then, when she woke, she mocked him, destroyed his home, and nearly destroyed him but spared him only because of her feelings for Lestat. I could understand why Marius felt bitter. But he was still kind-hearted and couldn’t even hold onto that bitterness for long, plus he still didn’t want anything bad to happen to Lestat or to anyone. I like his compassion, patience, and wisdom.
– Maharet. To put it bluntly, Maharet has been through some shit. Yet she never let it break her. She even found a way to avoid the despair and madness that claims all the other vampires, either causing them to go into the fire or into the earth. I don’t know that I felt much connection with her, but I admired her.
– Lestat. I’ll give Lestat credit—he stood up to Akasha and told her that what she was doing was wrong, knowing full well that she could and might kill him. But then, so did Marius, Gabrielle, Louis, and Maharet, so this act of morality doesn’t really make him special. He wasn’t really my favorite person in this novel, I guess, since more than ever it was apparent how reckless Lestat was. He wanted to have attention and to start a war and never actually stopped to think how many innocents might harmed in the process. And he said himself that when he wants to do something, he’s going to do it, regardless of rules or anything. In a way, I relate to his rebelliousness, the way he won’t just sit back and accept it if he doesn’t agree with someone. But I’m also a fairly rule-following person the rest of the time, so sometimes I find his rebelliousness annoying. I also didn’t understand how he could love Akasha (then again, he didn’t know the whole backstory). But he does bring all the drama and fun to these books.
– Akasha. I hated Akasha. Her ways of twisting everything around and creating delusions out of desperation to make herself seem better, to make things go her way, to make things fit with what she wanted to believe, was taken to an extreme because of what she is, but it was a realistic mindset. And that was what made her even more awful to read about.
– Gabrielle. Oddly enough, despite hardly having a part in this book, Gabrielle has grown on me. She’s fiercely loyal to Lestat; she even did little things just to try and make him happy at the end. And really, she goes off into the wilderness and keeps to herself, not causing problems with anyone (other than those she kills, which I can accept since she needs blood to survive).
– Louis. I feel like a lot of people don’t like him, but I do. I like how human Louis is, and I too would be the one scolding Lestat for being too rebellious. I feel like we could get along.
Yes, there were some negatives to this book, mostly that it was slow with a lot of fluff, but I still think it was worth it. I think all three books so far have been worth it because these are some of the most unique and complex characters I have ever read about!
*I’ve read this book multiple times. This review was written after my 2nd read.*
No Rating (1st Read – mid/late 2000s)
3 Stars (2nd Read – 2017)
Fans of Books 1 and 2 in Anne Rice's Vampire Chronicles. Anyone who likes beautiful yet deadly vampires, descriptive writing, and amazingly complex characters.