Time for another super long review that no one will read!
Things I Disliked/Things I Didn’t Mind but Others Might Dislike:
– The book was long, and between the flashbacks of Armand’s and Marius’s lives and Lestat’s kind of long-winded way of talking about everything, the story moved forward at a very slow pace sometimes, which made me impatient.
– A lot of the characters’ actions and words were dramatic and/or strange to the point of being unrealistic, but somehow it just worked and never pulled me out of the story.
– The parts about Lestat kissing and wanting to ravage his mother were… odd.
Things I Liked:
– I was impressed with the way Anne Rice was able to portray the perspective of an immortal who had been around for a long time and had seen the world change. The way Lestat viewed all the changes… they were things I’d have never thought about, but, once I did think about them, they made sense.
– The characters were all so complex, like WOW.
– The writing was engrossing and sucked me in. (Thankfully Lestat didn’t use the word ‘plump’ to describe everyone like Louis did lol.)
– It was interesting to learn some background that related to Interview, like how the Theatre des Vampires got started.
My Thoughts on the Characters (there might be *SPOILERS* in this section):
– Lestat. People told me I would change my mind about Lestat once I read this book. In a way, they were right. But in a way, they were also wrong.
In reference to everything that happened in Interview, what we have here, essentially, is a case of “he said, she said.” Louis has one version of the story, Lestat has another, and all we have to go on is their words.
But, if Louis was telling the truth about how Lestat treated him—and I’m inclined to believe he was, since Claudia felt the same way—nothing in this book changes the fact that Lestat was abusive toward them. (Here’s where I get a little more pedantic than I normally do in reviews, but I think this is an important topic.) Lestat’s past, his sadness, etc. doesn’t excuse that. His love for Louis and his claims that Louis misunderstood everything don’t excuse that. Even the fact that Louis did in fact misunderstand some things (like that Lestat mostly fed from evildoers) and did leave some things out (like some of their good times together) doesn’t excuse that. Because guess what? Someone can be a good person in some ways, do nice things, etc. but still be abusive. I can’t even blame Louis for leaving out the good times they had because people do seem to have this belief that if someone does nice things sometimes, if the abuser and victim ever have fun together, if the abuser and victim love each other, then it means the abuser can’t possibly be abusive in any way; so no one would have believed Louis had he mentioned the good times. And, quite frankly, when Lestat was talking about how great his relationship with Louis was, well, people who are emotionally abusive and manipulative often do say things just like that. There are plenty of abusive people in the world who refuse to see or admit even to themselves that their behavior is abuse and who believe their relationship with the victim is caring and supportive even when it’s not. Just as Louis’s narrative was biased in some ways, so was Lestat’s. For example, he stated that he hid his powers from Louis because Louis couldn’t handle it, but that’s just proof that he was keeping secrets and making decisions about what was best for Louis instead of letting Louis make those decisions himself. And let’s not forget, Lestat left things out of his version too, like how there was SO MUCH he could’ve told them about their kind without having to get into personal stuff and without breaking his promise to Marius. And how he taunted Louis and said mean things to him (and to Claudia). He himself even said that he’s selfish—and he is—so there was nothing in this book that makes me think that Louis actually lied in his story.
TL;DR: Will we ever know the true, unbiased tale of exactly what happened between Louis and Lestat? Probably not. Do I believe Louis did have some good times with Lestat, that he had some feelings for Lestat, that he too was afraid of being alone and wanted the companionship they had? Yes, but I already said that in my review of Interview. Do I believe Lestat has good qualities and did some good things with Louis? Absolutely. But do I believe any of that makes his abusive behavior toward Louis and Claudia any less abusive? No.
I will concede, however, that Louis’s version of what happened in Paris was all wrong. Of course, that’s Armand’s fault for purposely setting everything up to appear that way to Louis. It made me feel for awful for Lestat though when I realized that he didn’t mean to get Claudia killed, didn’t even know they were in Paris, and that he was treated just as badly by Armand.
What I find sad about the whole thing though is that it seems like Lestat and Louis could have had a great relationship if only Lestat had treated him a little better. Lestat is someone who seems to like to think and learn too, who appreciates beauty in things, who loves mortals, and still has a lot of love and humanity left in him. Despite their issues, I kind of ship Louis and Lestat and would’ve liked to know more about the close/good parts of their relationship. But by the end of this book, they seemed to understand each other better, so maybe things will at least be better between them from now on.
Anyway, despite Lestat’s negative traits (or maybe because of them), I still feel that he’s a fantastically complex character and one that I found myself feeling for. So the people who said I’d change my mind were right in that I do see him in a completely different light now. And there’s just something about him. You can’t not be drawn to him. I mean, the man wakes up after who know how many years literally underground, and within days he’s decked out in leather and riding a motorcycle around New Orleans. Despite being dead, he’s so full of life and vitality. He’s so emotional and dramatic about everything. He feels so deeply. Apparently he was like that even as a human. And I did feel bad for him at times; even if he did bring some of his problems onto himself with his impulsiveness, rebelliousness, and selfishness, he didn’t deserve all the bad things that happened to him.
– Armand. So… Armand is awful. But also very complex. I feel like he never actually cares for any of the vampires he keeps company with, not even the ones he takes as companions. I mean, he manipulated Louis to turn someone else into a vampire (which destroyed Louis emotionally), and he killed Claudia (which further destroyed Louis) so that he could have Louis to himself. He also let Louis kill the other vampires in his coven, and he himself killed most of the vampires in his previous coven. And even after everything Lestat did for him, when Lestat needed help, Armand just used him, forced him to rat out Claudia because it served his (Armand’s) own purposes, then pushed him off a building. I don’t think he even understands what love is. He jumps around from vampire to vampire, telling them he loves them within like five minutes of meeting them, but it’s never actually love. Maybe that’s because the first “love” he ever felt sounded to me more like Stockholm Syndrome after being taken and sold as a kid. (I don’t mean to imply that Marius treated him badly; in fact, Marius was the first to treat him well, but he did still essentially own Armand.) And as he said himself, because he was taken as a child, he never had a normal human life, which was why he didn’t even know how to exist among mortals.
– Nicolas. I think Nicolas was the one I felt the worst for. Imagine things from his perspective: giving up everything and being disowned by your family to run away to a new city with your lover; seeing your lover being kidnapped and hearing him shout for you as he’s pulled through a window; worrying that your lover has been killed or something awful has happened to him; all the sudden being showered with gifts from your lover but still with no explanation or visit from him only for him to one day show up at the theatre where you work, put on some grand supernatural display, and then run off again, still with no explanation to you. Then, to top it all off, he was kidnapped and nearly drained by a bunch of vampires in an underground crypt, turned into a vampire himself, and had his hands—his most important body parts as a violinist—cut off. Nevermind that they were reattached, it would still be awful. No wonder the poor guy went mad. No wonder he hated Lestat. No wonder he decided to go into the fire. I liked Nicolas, and I shipped Nicostat, so that whole storyline was very tragic.
– Gabrielle. She’s not my favorite. Gabrielle’s not terrible, but she’s cold, and I can’t understand her desire to spend her life away from all civilization.
– Marius. He seems like a kind and understanding person, but I need to learn more about him before I can really form an opinion.
My Thoughts on Other Things (there might be *SPOILERS* in this section):
– I loved the scene when Lestat and Gabrielle rose in the church. You had these two powerful, deadly vampires, and they put on this whole theatrical show to terrify everyone in the church, but the only reason they did that—what the terrified people in the church would never have guessed—was because they themselves were terrified. The humor of their theatrics plus the kind of irony of them being just as terrified made that scene stand out in my mind.
– I’m gonna let my freak flag fly for a moment and say that I still remember the first time I read the scene when Lestat and Akasha drink from each other at the same time, and, at that time, I swear it was the most erotic thing I had ever read. To this day, I still love reading about two paranormal creatures drinking blood from each other at the same time.
– The ending got so intense when vampires started going up in flames and everything. I loved it. But I also loved that Louis was back and even that Gabrielle was back.
This review is long enough already, I’ll just say that I liked it, and the complexity of the characters has yet again given me a lot to think about!
*I’ve read this book multiple times. This review was written after my 2nd read.*
No Rating (1st Read – mid/late 2000s)
4 Stars (2nd Read – 2017)
Fans of Book 1 in Anne Rice's Vampire Chronicles. Anyone who likes beautiful yet deadly vampires, descriptive writing, and amazingly complex characters.
More Books in the Series:
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 existence. His story, the second volume in Anne Rice’s best-selling Vampire Chronicles, is mesmerizing, passionate, and thrilling.
Book Author: Anne Rice
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Series: The Vampire Chronicles
Genre: Fantasy, Historical Fantasy, LGBTQIA, Paranormal/Urban Fantasy
My Rating: 4
Series/Standalone: Part of a Series