OK, here’s my long awaited review of Anne Rice’s latest book, “Prince Lestat”. Before reading “Prince Lestat” I read all the other books in the vampire chronicles (well, the first five – the main ones).
To say I was excited about this book would be a massive understatement. I’m a huge fan of Anne Rice’s work, though it is patchy in places (see my review for Tale of the Body Thief as an example).
I think the first, second, and third books are the best in the series. Unfortunately “Prince Lestat” is one of the worst (if not the worst).
I remember reading a story about Anne mentioning that all the familiar characters we came to love from previous books would be in “Prince Lestat”, which in truth they are, however they play only bit parts, and walk-ons.
Amel is barely present, Jessie, the newest and perhaps strongest of the vampires, takes up maybe five pages or so. Maharet and Mekare, though in the novel to a greater degree are not the characters we came to love in the previous novels. In fact, I’d say all of the characters we felt we knew well are now completely changed, perhaps by time, or more likely Anne’s inability to reconnect with them after such a long time.
Perhaps, not having felt the love from their creator, all those characters so beloved by her readers simply turned their back on her? And in doing that, she was left only one other option, to create more characters! And, there are many of them. Too many. Way, too many. So many I can only remember a few. And none of them hold the same fascination as the characters introduced in the previous novels.
Even Lestat “feels” different. He doesn’t act like Lestat would. It’s like he’s grown up. The Brat Prince is truly dead and we’re left with a boring adult version of a character who has lost his pizzaz and attitude. There are scenes in this book where I couldn’t help but think, Lestat would never do that!
This is not Anne Rice’s Tour de Force, this is her “Phantom Menace”. Such a shame too as she had created so many wonderful characters who could have been used to much greater effect.
Marius played a bit part and should have been much more prominent. Same with Louis, Armand, Daniel, Jesse, David, and the rest.
So, if you’re looking for your Vampire Chronicles “Fix”, if you want to connect with well defined, flawed and interesting characters then read the first four books, and the associated novellas, but if you’re looking to start from scratch with totally new characters (the number of which could rival War and Peace) then read “Prince Lestat”. Ironically, you won’t need to read the first four books as those characters are merely glossed over in this book, and there is ample explanation of what happened previously to get you up to speed.
I’ll be reading the next book, for sure. But my expectations will be greatly lowered.
Suffice to say, as a writer, I learned a lot from this book. It’s just unfortunate I learned what not to do.