(Cover picture courtesy of Simania.)
In a feat of virtuoso storytelling, Anne Rice unleashes Akasha, the queen of the damned, who has risen from a six-thousand-year sleep to let loose the powers of the night. Akasha has a marvelously devious plan to “save” mankind and destroy the vampire Lestat—in this extraordinarily sensual novel of complex, erotic, electrifying world of the undead.
The Queen of the Damned is, out of all the books in The Vampire Chronicles, the one I enjoyed the most. Why? Because I’m shamelessly obsessed with ancient Egypt.
Now, no one really knows much about Pre-Dynastic Egypt and Anne Rice paints a vivid picture of what could have been. The reasons behind the cannibalism practiced by Maharet and Mekare’s tribe are very intriguing, however, there is little to no evidence supporting the practice of such ritual cannibalism in Egypt. In fact, the only real evidence of cannibalism in Egypt is found in the autobiography of Ankhtifi, a man who lived during the First Intermediate Period. As much as it makes a nice story, I have to point out that it was not Akasha and Enkil who united Egypt. It was Narmer (Menes to the Greeks) and his queen Neithhotep who first ruled over a unified Egypt.
Aside from inaccuracies most people wouldn’t notice, The Queen of the Damned is a good book. The plot is not very fast, but Anne Rice made up for it in her sensual descriptions and intriguing characters. Unlike most villains, Akasha is a three dimensional character, with redeeming qualities to complement her gaping flaws. She also has realistic motivations behind her deeds, which makes her stand out from the crowd.
As with all of Anne Rice’s books, this is not recommended for young or sensitive readers. There are explicit sex scenes, cannibalism and violence. Personally, I would not recommend The Queen of the Damned for anyone under the age of fourteen.
I give this book 4/5 stars.