I had waited years for a worthy follow up to the Vampire Chronicles. I devoured Interview with a Vampire and The Vampire Lestat years ago and they are still to this day two of my all time favorite books. I enjoyed Queen of the Damned and The Vampire Armand and even give kudos to The Tale of the Body Thief. Most of the others, however, just fell flat for me so when I heard there was a new Anne Rice book continuing the Vampire Chronicles saga, I was both excited and wary.
Synopsis from Amazon:
The novel opens with the vampire world in crisis…vampires have been proliferating out of control; burnings have commenced all over the world, huge massacres similar to those carried out by Akasha in The Queen of the Damned…Old vampires, roused from slumber in the earth are doing the bidding of a Voice commanding that they indiscriminately burn vampire-mavericks in cities from Paris and Mumbai to Hong Kong, Kyoto, and San Francisco. As the novel moves from present-day New York and the West Coast to ancient Egypt, fourth century Carthage, 14th-century Rome, the Venice of the Renaissance, the worlds and beings of all the Vampire Chronicles-Louis de Pointe du Lac; the eternally young Armand, whose face is that of a Boticelli angel; Mekare and Maharet, Pandora and Flavius; David Talbot, vampire and ultimate fixer from the secret Talamasca; and Marius, the true Child of the Millennia; along with all the other new seductive, supernatural creatures-come together in this large, luxuriant, fiercely ambitious novel to ultimately rise up and seek out who-or what-the Voice is, and to discover the secret of what it desires and why…
And, at the book's center, the seemingly absent, curiously missing hero-wanderer, the dazzling, dangerous rebel-outlaw--the great hope of the Undead, the dazzling Prince Lestat…
Well, I was right to be wary. I think I knew in my heart that this book wouldn't hold a candle to the original. Don't get me wrong, Lestat is still the Brat Prince of the Vampires and does not let the reader down, and it was wonderful to see Louis and Armand and other favorites. The parts of the book that focused on Lestat and the other well known and well loved characters were engaging and at those moments, I was able to catch a glimpse of the old stories that I loved so much. However, so much of this book focused on other, lesser known vampires that I wasn't as invested in. Their stories were mildly interesting and they had purpose to the story but I felt like it was false advertising to call the book, "Prince Lestat" when Lestat was probably present in only about half of the book and he certainly wasn't causing the often jaw-dropping or laugh out loud trouble we are used to reading. Louis, my favorite character, only barely made an appearance and then suddenly had the lead role in the last chapter, which I'm still not sure I understand.
I think the problem was that I was expecting something I didn't get. My expectations were too high. The book was well-written and the last quarter of the book was quite exciting once all of the different chapters/stories began to merge. I still believe Anne Rice to be a stellar author but I am going back. I'm going back to reread those first two books that kept me up until wee hours of the morning on the edge of my seat, reveling in the Vampire world and its colorful and unforgettable characters. These are the stories I want to hold onto and remember forever.