Tagged: lestat

Memnoch the Devil by Anne Rice

(Cover picture courtesy of Midshelf.com.)

In Anne Rice’s extraordinary new novel, the vampire Lestat—outsider, canny monster, hero-wanderer—is snatched from the world itself by the most dangerous adversary he has ever known: Memnoch, a mysterious being who claims to be the Devil.  He is invited to be a witness at the Creation.  He is taken like the ancient prophets into the heavenly realm and is ushered into Purgatory.  Lestat must decide if he can believe in the Devil or in God.  And finally, he must decide which, if either, he will serve…

I really didn’t see why so many people were upset about this novel until I actually read it a few times.  Now, however, I can see why it has been deemed offensive—or even blasphemous—and why Anne Rice, now a born-again Christian has repudiated her Vampire Chronicles.  Especially since this one.  Memnoch the Devil doesn’t tell the conventional church-approved story of Satan’s fall from heaven.  No, it is Satan, or Memnoch, who tells his side of the story.

From a theological perspective, this is a very interesting book.  In it, Anne Rice has combined both old and new Christian ideas from many denominations with a bit of Jewish theology.  Memnoch’s justification for his rebellion reminds me very much of the character of Satan from John Milton’s Paradise Lost.  Without getting into all of the nasty little details, let’s just call this novel experimental theology and leave it at that, shall we?  I’m not going to bring my personal beliefs into this review.

From a less biased, more literature-focused perspective, Memnoch the Devil is not exactly the greatest novel ever written.  Lestat is a cardboard cutout by now, the plot is slow and predictable and Memnoch is the only redeeming thing, character-wise.  Memnoch is complicated, yet sympathetic in a bizarre way if you put your religious beliefs aside while reading this.  But other than Memnoch, this novel doesn’t have much going for it.

As usual, my warning: Memnoch the Devil contains mature content including bad language, explicit sex scenes and violence.  Personally, I would not recommend it for anyone under the age of 14, but it really depends on the reader’s maturity level.

I give this book 2/5 stars.

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The Tale of the Body Thief by Anne Rice

(Cover picture courtesy of Collider.com)

In a new feat of hypnotic storytelling, Anne Rice elaborates on the extraordinary Vampire Chronicles that began with the now-class Interview with the Vampire and continued with The Vampire Lestat and The Queen of the Damned.

For centuries, Lestat—vampire-hero, enchanter, seducer of mortals—has been a courted prince in the dark and flourishing universe of the undead.  Now Lestat is alone.  And suddenly all of his vampire rationale—everything he has come to believe and feel safe with—is called into question.  In his overwhelming need to destroy his doubts and his loneliness, Lestat embarks on the most dangerous enterprise he has undertaken in all the danger-haunted years of his long existence…

The Tale of the Body Thief is the fourth book in Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles, but by this book, it seems like her heart wasn’t really in to writing it.  While the premise of the novel is interesting enough and her descriptions are just as wonderful, it seems to lack the spirit and enthusiasm of the first three books.  It seems as if she was pressured into writing a fourth book to capitalize on her series’ fame and that’s the worst reason for any author to write a book.

Even though it feels like Anne Rice had to continue the series because of its immense popularity, Lestat is still as complex as ever and after being a vampire for so long, he struggles as a human.  It’s amazing to see him struggle over things that normal humans do every day, like eating and going to the bathroom.  Along the way he meets David Talbot, a former member of the supernatural secret society, the Talamasca.  Together they discover that the man Lestat switched bodies with has no intention of switching back and they hatch a plot to get Lestat back in his proper body.

I’ll add my usual warning: this is not a fast-paced novel.  Yes, it has an interesting plot, but no, it is not a fast plot because The Tale of the Body Thief is a character-driven novel.  Anne Rice has wonderfully sensual descriptions and a compelling writing style, but as with all of the books in the Vampire Chronicles, The Tale of the Body Thief contains explicit sex scenes and other mature content.  I would recommend it for ages 14 and up.

I give this book 3/5 stars.

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The Queen of the Damned by Anne Rice

(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.

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The Vampire Lestat by Anne Rice

(Cover picture courtesy of this site I cannot translate.)

Lestat.  The vampire hero of Anne Rice’s enthralling novel is a creature of the darkest and richest imagination.  Once an aristocrat in the heady days of pre-revolutionary France, now a rock star in the demonic, shimmering 1980s, he rushes through the centuries in search of others like him, seeking answers to the mystery of his eternal, terrifying existence.  His is a mesmerizing story—passionate, complex, and thrilling.

If you don’t like slow plots or are in any way sensitive to gore or explicit sex scenes, this book is not for you.  But if you can appreciate a slow but compelling narrative filled with fascinating characters, you will appreciate The Vampire Lestat.

The Vampire Lestat is the second book in the Vampire Chronicles, but you don’t have to read Interview with the Vampire to understand it.  Anne Rice lets her book stand on its own, but it is interesting to see first Louis’, then Lestat’s different perspectives.  Whereas Louis found his vampirism to be a curse, Lestat chose to embrace it, delighting in his newfound power.

I think a big part of why the Vampire Chronicles are so popular is the fact that Anne Rice has created truly memorable characters.  If I’m honest with myself, Lestat remains in my mind along with other great characters like Thu, Harry Potter, Katsa and Hamnet.  What keeps people coming back for more is her characters, not her slow moving plot or her sensual descriptions, as some reviewers claim.  Lestat is not always sympathetic, but he is appealing enough to command your attention.

I can honestly say that once you start reading The Vampire Lestat, you won’t be able to put it down.  When I first read it, I stayed up until four in the morning to finish it—although that was partly because the alternative was going to sleep on a concrete floor with nothing but a thin sleeping bag.  Still, it is a great book and you’ll have to forgive me for being cliché and describing it as “hypnotic”, because there is no other word for it.

I give this book 4/5 stars.

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Interview with the Vampire by Anne Rice

(Cover picture courtesy of Pepper Ink.)

Here are the confessions of a vampire.  Hypnotic, shocking, and chillingly erotic, this is a novel of mesmerizing beauty and astonishing force—a story of danger and flight, of love and loss, of suspense and resolution, and of extraordinary power of the senses.  It is a novel only Anne Rice could write.

Interview with the Vampire is no doubt a classic novel, but it is not for everyone.  If you do not like descriptions of graphic sex or admittedly disturbing violence, this is not a book you should attempt to read, regardless of its classic status.  I do not like graphic descriptions of sex, so I skipped over these parts, but the violence was unavoidable as this is a true vampire novel.  This is definitely a book for older teens to adults.

Aside from some mature content, Interview with the Vampire is a wonderful, slightly disturbing novel.  It starts off rather slow, but as Louis’ tale goes on, this book will become glued to your hands.  The sensual descriptions, the exotic characters and the authentic historical details are what really make this novel so great.  The plot slowly twists and turns until we learn how being a vampire has changed the once mild, innocent Louis de Pointe du Lac.  If you’re used to the wishy-washy vampires of today, prepare for a fresh and frightening experience.

I give this book 3.5/5 stars.

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