Review: The Vampire Lestat by Anne Rice

4 Stars

This is another re-read for me.  I’m a bit OCD as I’ve mentioned and I cannot read a new book in a series if I haven’t read the previous books.  In most cases, the series is still fresh in mind because I’d read it more recently.  Unfortunately this is not the case in the Vampire Chronicles.  I read them years ago and didn’t stay caught up.  So now that there are newer books, I wanted to go back and read the entire series again!

The Vampire Lestat brings us to the 1980’s when Lestat decides to once again join the world after going to ground.  He comes back to a world that is much changed than the one he turned away from decades before.  He is drawn to a rock band that had taken up residence near him and as he sets out to become their lead singer, he comes across the book, Interview with the Vampire where he once again hears the words of his creation, Louis.  He is fascinated at the tale that Louis has concocted, but he wants to set the record straight.  He wants us, dear readers, to know who the real Lestat is.  He’s not really this evil creature that Louis depicted, he’s so much more.

The author takes us across the world and across the centuries to not only meet Lestat as a mortal but also to meet the original vampires, Those Who Must Be Kept.

We meet Lestat de Lioncourt.  The youngest son of an aging, blind and broke French aristocrat.  He is constantly questioning, never settling for the rote answers given to him by his elders and his peers.  He is one of those inquisitive beings that actually wants to know why the sky is blue.  He is a born skeptic who becomes absolutely irresistible to his maker, Magnus.  Lestat is able to expand on the reasons why he never gave more information to his fledglings.  In the beginning, he had none!  He did not lie when he stated that he wasn’t given a choice, that he wasn’t taught any of the ways and the rules…at least he didn’t have them right away.

The secondary characters also receive this same treatment.  We are given the history of Armand and the one who made him, Marius.  The history behind the Theatre des Vampyres is explained.  Even Louis becomes something more than a whining brat.  You see the world through Lestat’s eyes and what an interesting world it is.  Many of the questions that arose during the first novel, told by Louis’ point of view, are answered here.  The history of the vampire race is fleshed out and we are given the tales as they have not only been handed down from one generation to the next, but also from the being that has been keeping watch over the makers of the vampire race, Those Who Must Be Kept.

We travel from rural France to Paris, the City of Lights but also a city of darkness.  The stinking crypts of les Innocents where a coven of Children of Darkness still keep to the old ways, the worship of Satan and the old rules.  Their beautiful and terrifying leader, Armand.  A battle of wills and of ideals that leads Lestat away from his beloved France and out into the world.  Crisscrossing the continent until he lands in Egypt.  In Egypt he learns that his dearest friend has gone into madness and taken his own immortal life, his aristocratic family has all suffered under the hands of the Revolutionaries and all are gone save his father.  His despair becomes overwhelming and he goes into the earth until he is finally sought out by Marius, the maker of Armand, who he has been searching for ever since he left Paris.

From Marius he learns the history of his new race, the history that has been handed down to him over the centuries.  We learn of how he was made in Roman occupied Gaul over a thousand years before.  He learns why Those Who Must Be Kept are shrouded in secret and mystery.  Why the stories must remain myths.  Why the rules must be kept.  But Lestat was never one who could follow the rules…

I would recommend this to anyone who was a fan of the first book in the series but I would also recommend this to anyone who is interested in this genre.  It’s a different voice than those that have gone before and definitely different from those who came after.

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