Monday, 27 August 2012

The Vampire Lestat by Anne Rice

Last summer, I read and reviewed Interview with the Vampire.  I was a big fan of the film but unfortunately found the book disappointing.  Whilst I enjoyed the actual story, I thought the writing was long winded and Louie irritating.  Nevertheless, I decided to try the second volume of the series because Lestat is more appealing as a character to read about and several people mentioned that The Vampire Lestat is more action packed than Interview with the Vampire.

 The Vampire Lestat opens in San Francisco in 1984 with Lestat realising that the journalist from the first book has published Interview with the Vampire. It's riding high in the fiction charts and humans have no idea that the 'story' inside the pages is actually true.  Despite it being taboo, Lestat decides to respond by writing his own account of his life and this is what he bulk of The Vampire Lestat covers.  We follow him from his aristocratic beginnings in Revolution-era France through his travels around the world as he attempts to find out why vampires exist before finally settling in New Orleans.  Along the way we meet many more vampires and hear their stories as Lestat traces the source of vampirism back to Ancient Egypt.  But will the vampire population allow Lestat to publish his book?

The Vampire Lestat is a chunky book at 500+ pages but it reads quickly and fluently.  I enjoyed it much more than I enjoyed Interview with the Vampire.  One of the reasons for that is simply that Lestat is an easier character to read than Louie, he doesn't indulge in self-pity and is very impulsive, which leads to a lot more 'action'.  Lestat is also curious about the world around him and other vampires, which opens the door for Rice to bring in some more stories alongside his.  Although Lestat is the centerpiece of the novel he finds older vampires and they tell their story to him, meaning the book covers a wide time period and many perspectives.  I appreciated this variety.

There's also a lot more information about vampires in this book.  We find out why vampires exist, more about the rules that govern their existence and how vampires can differ from each other.  I don't know if world-building is the right world for a novel such as this, but the 'vampire theory' feels more thought-out than it did in Interview with the Vampire and it makes sense as a whole.  I especially appreciated that the vampires themselves couldn't agree about how best to be a vampire and what they should/shouldn't do.  This made for some interesting conflicts as the book progressed.

The Vampire Lestat is pure escapism.  I breezed through it and thoroughly enjoyed it.  However, some parts crossed the line into silly/tacky, especially the Lestat as a twentieth century rock-star sub-plot at the very beginning and end.  Having said that, I enjoyed it much more than Interview with the Vampire and would definitely read the third in the series, Queen of the Damned.

Source: Library
First Published: 1985
My Edition: Source Books, 2008
Score: 4 out of 5

28 comments:

  1. Ohhh sounds good! I thought Interview had a lot of potential but didn't quite live up to my expectations. This one seems much better. I'll have to add it to my wish list.

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    1. Yes, that was my experience of Interview too. I hope you also find this one better.

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  2. I enjoyed this review. I am wanting to read Dracula in October since I read your post for Classics Club!

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    1. Dracula is the daddy of all vampire novels! I'm really looking forward to seeing what you think of it in October.

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  3. The books are hit and miss, from what I remember. I personally liked Pandora.

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    1. Pandora was interesting but only hints were given in the book. Is she the Queen of the Damned in the next book, or is it Akasha/the Egyptian vampire?

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    2. Whoops! There's a book about Pandora, later in the series. Sorry for not making it clearer.

      The Queen is Akasha.

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  4. I hated Interview with such a fiery, burning passion that I've vowed never to read Anne Rice again. Haha. Glad you liked Lestat though!

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    1. I didn't quite hate it with a passion but Louie's whining grated on me. Maybe it's best if you steer clear of Rice in the future!

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  5. I'm glad you liked Lestat - I much preferred this to Interview for the reasons you mention. Faster pace and less emoting. Personally Queen of the Damned was my favourite as you find out so much more about how vampires started! :-)

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    1. Mel, I expected it to be better but I didn't expect it to be this much better. Sounds like I need to read Queen of the Damned too!

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  6. Funny: I loved Interview with the Vampire and tried reading Lestat and just couldn't get into it. Then again, I never got past the part of Lestat as rock star, so maybe I'd actually enjoy it once I got into the meat of the story...

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    1. You are the opposite of me then! Lestat as a rock star was very silly but I pushed past it as I knew the story would get better.

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  7. I didn't really like Interview With A Vampire either. I'm not even sure if I finished it, but I do want to read other books by Anne Rice, so this is encouraging.

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    1. I finished Interview but found it hard going considering how short it was. This one is physically longer but much more engaging/action packed so it reads smoother and more quickly.

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  8. Oooh, I may have to read this one soon. I didn't care for Interview because the vampires were too emo, but I love Anne Rice's writing style in general.

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    1. Well, the vampires are still emo, but no one is ever as emo as Louie was in Interview!

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  9. I've found Anne Rice to be hit and miss as well...I loved the vampire chronicles and the first couple of books of the Witches series but Queen of the Damned was a DNF for me...and I very seldom DNF. Taltos was also the weirdest, most irritating book I've ever read :/

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    1. The only Anne Rice books I've ever tried are these two. I've heard good things about Queen of the Damned so it'll be interesting to see if I like it or dislike it like you did. Will remember to stay away from Taltos! :P

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  10. I read them in college and I agree - pure escapism. I read the first three and that was enough though.

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    1. Sometimes escapism is the best thing! I think the first three will probably be enough for me, too.

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  11. I think I too read the first three or four of these books and sort of hit my limit -- they feel so dates to me -- so very '80s and the leather/rock scene Rice was involved in during that time. Kind of laughable. Still, super fun, and kind of fun archaeological reading, so to speak, a historical foundation to today's vampire fiction.

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    1. It is very 80s but I found that quite charming. The rock stuff I took with a pinch of salt, silly but I could imagine it and people liking it. It is very much the foundation for vampires being more 'human' and not just monsters.

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  12. I still can't believe I haven't read this series and completely feel left out! I need to pick this up sooner rather than later, maybe for Carl's RIP Challenge.

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    1. It would definitely make a good RIP read :)

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  13. I agree that Lestat was much better than Interview. I really enjoyed Queen of the Damned too. I read her Mayfair Witches books too and enjoyed them. I don't know why I haven't finished the rest of the vampire books yet... other series I think, keep getting in the way and Rice writes long books.

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  14. I keep telling myself I need to read these books! Anne Rice has so many fans and with all the vampires running around in YA it's about time I got to Interview With the Vampire and this one!
    It's always good to hear when books with 500+ pages are still easy reads, it usually means they're REALLY good :)

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  15. I actually own this book but have never gotten around to reading it. Unlike you and most of those commenting, I actually liked Interview so I'll probably love Lestat!

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