Book Review: Prince Lestat, by Anne Rice

I was eager for this book to come out when I’d first heard the announcement months ago. When I was in high school, I discovered Anne Rice’s vampire chronicles. Someone had forgotten their copy of The Vampire Lestat. It was under my desk in social studies. I picked it up and began reading and forgot everything else around me. I didn’t care about homework or what Mr. Reggie was saying. And I absolutely did not care about the previous owner of that book! It was mine, now. Finders keepers. I was smitten with this amazing world of power and guilt and existential struggle.

I loved the mythos Rice created. I devoured the other vampire books, too, but only up to a point. I’d read up to Queen of the Damned. I’d read Tale of the Body Thief, and that one snapped me.

I thought it was egregiously self-indulgent. I wanted to slap Lestat in the face. I had had enough of Anne Rice’s vampires. I never read Memnoch the Devil, nor any of the others.

After all these years, and a return to Christianity by Rice, resulting in books about the life of Christ Himself (which I kind of want to read, now, to be honest), Rice has returned to the world of the blood drinkers in Prince Lestat.

Unfortunately, it was a disappointment.

Perhaps Rice is too huge an author, now, and too much a diva to work with, or her editors are too weak-willed or unskilled or both. I don’t know. There’s still raw talent there: I pretty much read it nonstop over the course of two days, and there were some fascinating ideas in it. There were few excellent scenes, however. Thankfully, the best one is near the climax of the story. That’s all I can say without spoiling anything.

But overall, the book is self-indulgent to the point of being masturbatory. Lestat has become a Mary Sue character who can do no wrong and who suffers no consequences. More importantly, and worse, no one else suffers for his mistakes, either, or if they do, all is forgiven in the end. It’s like an 80’s sitcom where everybody wags their finger, laughs, and says “Oh, you!”

Not once do you ever feel afraid for Lestat’s life. Not once does he ever seem to be in serious danger. And you know what the ending is going to be, it’s obvious, and, frankly, it’s boring. I don’t want to spoil it, but she had a chance to put the life of every single vampire at risk. There could’ve been a moment when all of vampiric existence could’ve been in serious doubt.

And she blew it. Like I said, the story felt like it was without risk.

And one more thing: the very thing that all the other vampires in the story wanted Lestat to be? Their prince? Especially the kind of prince he turns out to be?

That’s exactly the kind of person the Lestat I knew would never become. He would rebel against such a thing.

You don’t make a rock star into an administrator.

photo credit: izarbeltza via photopin cc

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