Lestat is my favorite vampire.
I have read Bram Stoker’s Dracula and seen countless on-screen adaptations, along with the lesser-known Victorian penny dreadfuls that inspired it. I’ve read Charlaine Harris’s Sookie Stackhouse books and seen the first two seasons of the HBO show that followed. I’ve read all of Stephenie Meyer’s novels and seen all the movies. I’ve watched both the 1992 movie and the late-90s television series of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I’ve read Sunshine, The Coldest Girl in Coldtown, The Society of S, Vampire Academy and seen more under-the-radar and near-impossible-to-find vampire movies than I care to admit to right now.
I bring all this up so that when I say, “Lestat is my favorite vampire,” you’ll understand exactly where I’m coming from.
Nevertheless, when I heard that Anne Rice was giving the world another novel featuring the so-called Brat Prince of the legendary and beloved Vampire Chronicles, I was both excited and a little bit nervous. The tenth book in the series, Blood Canticle, came out way back in 2003 when the gaps between novels had been only three or four years tops (excepting the gap between the first two, before the series really got popular). That’s a long time to wait for another book, and like many, I was convinced Rice had given up on the series altogether. So what would this new book be like? Would it bring back the magic I’d been craving? Or would it sink the series and make me turn to other things, as I’ve been doing in the long years since Lestat’s absence?
I’m thrilled to report that the Brat Prince did not disappoint me.
In Prince Lestat, the whole of vampiredom has been hearing a telepathic and extremely unhappy “Voice” which both knows them all by name and is bent on convincing them to destroy each other – successfully in some cases. The younger or “fledgling” vampires are flocking to New York in the hope that someone will come to their rescue and/or tell them what to do. As you might imagine given the title, what they really want is a leader, and they want Lestat. Unfortunately, he’s gone into hiding and no one seems to be able to find him. And the killings are only getting worse.
There are echoes of the third book, Queen of the Damned, in this one, what with the impending crisis and the theme of vampire-kind coming together to reach a common goal. One thing I tend to tell people who aren’t familiar with the series is that the first three books comprise the overarching story, and the others – from The Tale of the Body Thief up through Blood Canticle – are mostly just fun, diversionary vignettes that can be read more or less on their own. In other words, if you haven’t read the entire series, you can probably jump into this one without getting lost.
Also, Rice has provided a helpful glossary of terms and a list of characters as bookends in this particular volume in order to help readers keep the details straight. If anything, I’d suggest reading Queen of the Damned before this one, since so much of what happens in that book sets up the events that transpire here. This is the same sort of game-changing epic, bringing new meaning to the identity of vampires as a species and their place in this fictional universe, but it also has a deeper sense of closure and hope for the future. It’s so hard to sum this up without giving away one critical plot point or another, so I apologize for keeping this vague. All I can tell you is it’s definitely worth the wait, and makes me want to go back and read the whole series again from the beginning.
Place your hold for Prince Lestat here!
Want to start at the beginning? Check out Interview With the Vampire here!