Prince Lestat (The Vampire Chronicles, Book #11)
by Anne Rice
Release Date: October 28th, 2014
2014 Knopf Publishing Group
Hardcover Edition; 458 Pages
Genre: Fiction / Paranormal
Source: Review copy from publisher
3.5 / 5 Stars
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...
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...
Prince Lestat is one of those books I would have read no matter what I heard about it in various chat rooms or other social media sites. Are there series you just keep reading, just because you read the first few novels at an influential time period in your life, and now you just have to keep reading the rest just because you have to? The Raymond E. Feist novels were like that for me, and now, so are The Vampire Chronicles. And while I enjoyed it to a certain extent, there were parts of it that did drag on, and I had to force my way through them and keep going.
Visiting old friends has always been a treat in these novels and I used to wait breathlessly for a visit from any one of these vampires in any one of these novels: Louis, Marius, Pandora, David, Mekare and Maharet, Armand, Jesse, and of course, Lestat. As always, I enjoyed the background stories of many of the newer characters, how they became vampires, and how they survived the millenia, but these stories overshadowed the older characters and I was kind of disappointed by that. The usual secondary characters pretty much fell into the background and really didn't have much to add to this story; in fact, were not their usual aggressive and powerful selves. For example, I would have liked to have known Eleni's story as much as Gregory's or any of the others, but she just kind of fell into the background. I just felt like many of the characters were not fleshed out or developed and were just used as background material for the real purpose, trying to justify why Lestat should become their leader, their Prince, another concept which really made no sense to me at all. The fact that all of these so-called powerful vampires would just bow down to Lestat and make him their leader, with little argument as to why this should be the case, bothered me quite a bit. The whole case about how much he is 'loved' and how much he is 'known' around the world began to wear thin after a while. This is where the book slowed down and kind of dragged its feet for me; I would have preferred to read the background stories about the newer characters than read the arguments as to why Lestat should be Prince or about who the Voice is and is he evil. Seriously!!
I did like the attempt to try and connect the supernatural world with the scientific world, but in that it too fell flat, simply because it went too far. I know you have to suspend belief when reading these novels, but there is a point when things stretch a little too far and I just wish it hadn't really gone down that road (spoiler alert here). Don't get me wrong, as I did find the chapters quite interesting, and I really enjoyed the characters of Seth and Fareed, but I just wish that the science had been used a bit differently, that's all. There are just so many fascinating paths in science to explore with regards to vampirism and Rice definitely used the more fantastical of the paths, that's all.
Prince Lestat is not one of those novels that will bring new fans to The Vampire Chronicles, especially if they start with this novel, which I don't think will make sense to readers; it's not a series that I would recommend reading out of order. This novel will not bring any real revelations to the vampire world, other than maybe revealing the origins of the Talamasca, and the ending was quite predictable. I did think it started off rather strongly and I did enjoy quite a few parts, especially the stories about some of the new characters and their origins; it was definitely good to run into Magnus as well (spoiler). Like I mentioned before, it is rather difficult for me to stay away from these books, so I will probably read the next book in this series, Blood Paradise, when it is released. As always, I am fascinated by these creatures, but I would definitely like to see more of the favourites in the next book, strong, powerful, aggressive, and not as bystanders.