Cannonball Read IV

A bunch of Pajibans reading and reviewing and honoring AlabamaPink.

Archive for the tag “Anne Rice”

Amanda6′s #CBR4 Review 39-40: The Vampire Lestat and Queen of the Damned by Anne Rice

I’m doing these two together because I read them together, and because Queen of the Damned picks up right were Lestat left off. Beginning in Lestat, the titular character has awoken some time in the 1980’s after years of sleep. He comes across the
“memoir” Interview with the Vampire, written by Louis, the vampire he had created over a century earlier. He decides, partly to get the attention of Louis, and partly to set the record straight, to form a hugely popular rock band and release an album and novel (all called “The Vampire Lestat”) at the same time to create intrigue. What we are reading, then, is his novel of his early life as a vampire, bookended by more recent exposition at the time of his awakening.

Queen of the Damned begins on the evening of The Vampire Lestat’s debut concert, when Lestat’s music has awoken Akasha, the millenia-old original vampire. Lestat is the narrator of this story, too, but he has also “collected” the stories of other vampire characters as they concern their whereabouts and doings that evening of Akasha’s rise. Akasha, herself, has a plan (that Valerie Solanas would love) to “save” humankind from itself, and she has taken Lestat with her as her prince to put the plan into motion.

Taken together with Interview with the Vampire, I found the story overall to progressively pick up steam. Interview was an interesting read, but a rather slow one. Lestat started off much the same, and I wasn’t intensely interested in most of his backstory; he engaged in a lot of the kind of existential whining and drama that Louis did for most of Interview. It wasn’t really until Lestat relates the story of Marius, which gets into the detailed history of vampires themselves and introduces Akasha and Enkil, the original Mother and Father, that I started to really feel engaged. That anticipation continued into Queen, and as such I finished this novel much more quickly than either of the other two. It had a lot more action, and the idea that it was taking place in the present rather than being presented as a memoir worked to up the excitement for me as well. Finally, in the third novel, we also get to meet many more of the older vampires, and the dynamics of the group as they come together provided a welcome dimension of interaction that differed from the histrionic “fatal attraction” type of love that was often described between several of the vampire “couples.”

As these are “classic” (in their own way) vampire novels, it is hard for me to recommend some over the other, as there are extremes these days in what people like in their vampire stories. For me, if I were to do it over again, I would skip Interview entirely and begin with Lestat’s story. Though the first half of the novel wasn’t my favorite, it provided the necessary backstory to understand Queen, which was my favorite.

Goddess of Apathy’s #CBR4 Review #4, The Wolf Gift, by Anne Rice

What Have I Become, My Sweetest Friend………….

There are many of you Cannonball readers who are  “of a certain age” as I am and you quite possibly are die-hard fans of Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles. I’m the first to argue how much better vampire stories were back in my day!  Rice’s vampires were not sparkly navel gazers; they were monstrous devils.  Rice’s Louis lived a tortured life, regretting his weary immortality, but Lestat was preening, deliciously wicked fun.  The Vampire Chronicles were dirty, deviant, mature, and violent–exactly what is missing in today’s vampire stories.

As you may suspect, I read a lot of Anne Rice. I stuck with Rice when she wrote about the  Mayfair witches, too. But, then I got a little older, and I stopped reading Anne Rice.  I am not sure if that is her fault or mine. However, when I read that she was publishing a new book, The Wolf Gift, I thought maybe I should give it a whirl once more. We had so much history together. Wolves are hot right now, too, and I hoped she injected some maturity into the popular lit-trash that has been published recently.

I admit I am the cheapest cheapskate there is. I have a Kindle, but so far I have just the free stuff, like self-published e-books and the classics.  I placed a hold on The Wolf Gift from the local library and waited patiently for my turn.

When I finally had the opportunity to check out the book, I was thoroughly excited. It was fresh and new. I began reading it immediately.  If you read the publisher’s summary, it tells you the book takes place on the coast of Northern California in the present. I felt that Anne Rice’s description of the scenery was vivid and captivating.  The story begins in  a towering mansion on the edge of the Pacific.  I could see it in my mind. So far so good.

The main character, young Reuben Golding,  is a reporter for the San Francisco Observer and he has arrived at the mysterious mansion because it must be sold quickly.  I was excited by all the details that Anne Rice gave to the setting–the redwood forests, the exquisite details of every room in the house, the weather.  I have always enjoyed her writing in that respect. My desire to go to New Orleans was born with her novels and I can say that my interest in northern California is piqued by this book.

As fascinating as the setting was, I had a difficult time envisioning Reuben. I could never get a clear visual on him, based on either my own inability to comprehend or Rice’s lack of giving as much detail to Reuben’s exterior as she did the setting. He was young, rich, and just a little lost. However, his life is changed at the mansion when he is attacked and bitten by some horrible creature.  This bite transforms him into something wholly implausible and incredible.

Once he begins to transform, his life changes. He has a purpose; he becomes something better than he was before that fateful night in the mysterious mansion. Reuben has received a Gift. Why has he received it? Can he use it for the greater good or will it destroy him?

I do not want to spoil the complete story for anyone interested in reading this book. I will finish by saying that it is not as violent an Anne Rice book as I was expecting. There was a positive angle in the book that was refreshing.  Rice created her own rules and mythology for her creations and characters that is familiar yet new.

Anne Rice created a wholly readable and enjoyable new book that will likely be a series of books. Her writing has changed, just as we have, but she is still a captivating storyteller, capable of maturity and spinning a great yarn.

Amanda6′s #CBR4 Review 17: Interview with the Vampire by Anne Rice

I have always harbored an interest in canonical vampire stories, and yet I’d never read any of the Rice Vampire Chronicles. Interview with the Vampire is the first of the Chronicles, and it’s the first of the three that I plan to read (having heard that they decline in quality after Queen of the Damned.) But that’s a discussion for another day.

Interview is written as a memoir of sorts, an account of vampire Louis’ life as he tells it to a mortal boy who records his narrative. The basic outline of Louis’ story is that he is turned in New Orleans by the vampire Lestat, and Louis hereafter searches New Orleans and Europe for answers regarding his vampire nature, and vampire origins. His adventure has several phases that are largely determined by who his immortal companion is at the time: his time in New Orleans is primarily spent with Lestat, and then after turning a young girl, Claudia, Louis begins to love her deeply and the two of them travel to Europe. In Paris, they meet the oldest living vampire, Armand, with whom Louis then shares a powerful mutual attraction.

Throughout the tale, Louis grapples with love, loss, vampire morality, immortal existentialism, and the separation of human nature from vampire emotion and being. Interview is a very philosophical novel, as Louis is constantly questioning spirituality, good and evil, loyalty, and many questions surrounding these themes that were never answered for him as a human. At times, the novel comes off as kind of mopey and histrionic, particularly if you like your vampires cheeky and darkly humorous (think Spike or, for a recent example, Damon Salvatore.) It was also kind of slow at times, and it took me a bit longer to get through it than I should have been able to do had I really applied myself.  Overall, though, I did like this book, and I liked that it stayed true to traditional vampire mythology — these vampires do not go out in daylight, and there are telltale signs about their appearance that clue humans into their supernatural nature. I’ve started on the second book in the Chronicles, which allegedly is a bit more “fun,” so I’ll see how that goes.

Figgy’s #CBR4 Review #1: “Interview With a Vampire” by Anne Rice

Here it is! I’m fiercely determined to write all 52 reviews this time. Let’s see how long that lasts.

As for Interview With a Vampire…well, I didn’t like it at all.

Read it here!

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