Tag Archives: vampires

Review: Staked by Kevin Hearne

3 Stars

Disclaimer: This is the most recent book in a series of books collectively called the Iron Druid Chronicles.  Staked is the 8th book in the series.  I would highly recommend that you not read this book unless you have read the previous novels or you will be very lost.

Having read all of the previous books and waiting patiently and anxiously for each new book to come out so that I can catch up with my favorite Druid and his hound.  This is the first time I’ve been disappointed.  Which I guess is a pretty good thing seeing that this is 8 books into the series.  I wanted to like it more because I absolutely love the characters, but this book just fell flat in so many ways and so many areas, that I just couldn’t be any kinder than 3 stars.

This story picks up where Shattered left off.  Atticus is waging war on the vampires who have been trying to obliterate him for the last two thousand years.  Granuaile is recovering from her battle with Loki and trying to find a way to not only get rid of his mark, but also find a way to cloak herself from divination.  Atticus’ mentor, Owen, is still coming to grips with life in the modern age and living with the Flagstaff and Tempe werewolf packs and contemplating starting a new grove where he can train new druids.

The story switches between each of their perspectives, which brings a richness to the story that you would’t otherwise have if it was narrated completely from Atticus’ point of view.  But it can also lead to a very complicated story where there are so many different threads going on that it doesn’t all come together very well.  I was really confused and disappointed by this several times.  The only arc that came to any conclusion was the vampire war that Atticus and his allies have waged.  But even that was fairly anti-climatic and the ending was pretty much meh.

I was very disappointed with the journeys that both Granuaile and Owen took.  Especially when there were so many things that were brought into their narratives and then never fleshed out.  Granuaile is sent on a mission by the witches to get a horse away from Loki, but then what?  Owen finds out that Fand has broken out and they find out where she is hiding, but then what?  There’s a quick battle between the Norse and the dark elves, but to what end?  There were so many loose ends and story lines that went absolutely nowhere.  I don’t mind a cliffhanger or teasers for the next book.  But this was a bit much.

I still had a blast and equally enjoyable, as expected, was the master of the scene steal, Oberon.  I want an Irish Wolfhound of my own and I wan to name him Oberon and I want him to beg me for bacon and sausages and make me tell him stories when it’s bath time.  I wish Oberon could have his own book.  That would be amazing.  He steals every scene he’s ever in and his girlfriend, Orlaith, steals just as many as he does.  When they’re together, it’s awesome.

If you’ve already read the previous books, you’re going to read this one.  I just didn’t find it as enjoyable as the previous seven.  It was still good and I still love the characters.  Just didn’t live up to my own high expectations.

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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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Review: Interview With the Vampire by Anne Rice

4 Stars

This is actually a re-read for me.  I first read this book more than 20 years ago in preparation to the movie coming out.  There’s a new(er) book out now and since it’s been so long since I last read anything in the series, I’m going back and reading them all again!  I had nearly forgotten how great this book actually is…

I think that Anne Rice is probably one of the reasons that we have such a love affair with all things vampire.  You can’t help but fall in love with these damned souls.  Louis, the narrator of this story, is a vampire who never seemed to lose his mortal conscience.  He struggles to accept this “dark gift” that he’s been given.  He still feels too much, empathizes too much with the mortal life that he left behind and the lives of those he still cares for.  He was a plantation owner who had given up on life after the death of his brother and has become distanced from his mother and sister.  He is alone in the world and has stopped caring whether he lives or dies, in many ways he’s just waiting for death to come for him.

In walks Lestat, beautiful and mesmerizing.  He is both commanding and demanding.  He finds Louis when he is at his most low, his most desperate and makes him an offer that he simply can’t refuse.  He offers Louis his dark gift and Louis becomes his companion in immortality.  But from the beginning you feel the tension between them.  Lestat only cares about himself and he wanted Louis for what Louis could do for him.  He wanted money, a home, security.  He wanted to be able to be in luxury and safe to hunt and hide.  Louis wants to know everything, wants to feel everything, his empathy is still intact.  He wants to know about those who came before him, who made them what they are?  He’s full of questions and continually pesters Lestat for answers.  Answers that Lestat either cannot or will not give him.  Just as Louis is ready to leave Lestat to find those answers, Lestat has other ideas.  Claudia comes into being, the monster that never should have been.  The link that holds Louis and keeps him with his maker, the father of lies.  For now.

The story covers about 200 years of Louis’ life both before and after he was given his immortal gift.  You are taken from New Orleans to Germany to Paris and back again.  You join Louis on his quest to find his answers.  Along the way you begin to have a better understanding of who Louis, Lestat and Claudia are and what drives them, what makes them unique in their immortal world.  Which one of them has the stamina for immortality?  Could you face every day for hundreds of years and watch the world change while you stay the same?  Are you evil?  What is evil and what is good?  This quest for answers is what drives Louis and shapes him into the immortal that he becomes and ultimately shapes his relationships with those around him.

The author delves into some pretty heavy topics that really make you do a lot of thinking and considering and even some examining of your own conscience.  You find yourself being empathetic to these creatures, against your better judgment.  You find yourself being mesmerized by their beauty, their coldness.  But even in their beauty, you can see their danger.  But you are still drawn to them, like a moth to a flame.  It doesn’t matter that they are predators.  It doesn’t matter that you are nothing more than food to them.  Who can sit by and listen to Louis’ story and not want to become his companion for the next few centuries?

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