Lestat is Back!
After 11 years of waiting, Anne Rice has finally delivered a new addition to her Vampire Chronicles.
“All my struggles, my triumphs, my losses, were being eclipsed by what was being revealed now. Had ever ennui and despair been banished by such revelations, such precious gifts of truth?” — Lestat
Anne Rice’s now 11-book series tells the tales of the vampire Lestat de Lioncourt and the other blood suckers he meets along the way. After being saddened to learn that Blood Canticle was apparently the last book of the series, I was extremely pleased to learn Rice was reviving her vampires with a new addition: Prince Lestat.
For those of you who haven’t yet jumped on the bandwagon but still want to read the new novel, don’t panic. You don’t necessarily have to read 10 others first (though as an avid book reader and vampire lover, I say go for it). Having read them all myself, I highly recommend that you at least read the first three: Interview With the Vampire, The Vampire Lestat, and Queen of the Damned, as they all contain important backstory for Lestat and the present crisis at hand.
Rice does a good job of bringing readers up to speed with crucial information in the first few sections of the novel. She summarizes the history of her vampires and main events in Queen of the Damned, refreshing some details in case it’s been awhile since you’ve read it, and the second section recaps important terms that have been used throughout the series.
Much like Queen of the Damned, different chapters are narrated by different vampires, some old, but with a lot of new faces making an appearance. I was somewhat weary of all the new additions at first, but they all seem to love Lestat as much as we do. While I’ll admit seeing a name other than Lestat’s at the beginning of a chapter is somewhat discouraging at first, each character adds a new element or layer to the story that makes it more intriguing. New names to keep an eye out for are Fareed, Seth and Viktor, but I’ll say no more on that subject. And obviously we get some more Louis, Marius and Armand, though the latter doesn’t get his own chapter.
We have some unexpected character resurfacing going on here as well. Two previously nameless vampires finally receive recognition: the musician from Interview with the Vampire and the return of a brief mention from Marius’ novel Blood and Gold. Some of these resurfaces are not in the way you would probably expect. Past books in the Vampire Chronicles began combining the world of the Mayfair witches, and the new novel incorporates even more of the fantastical beings in this universe. It’s fitting given that the new adversary of this novel is the mysterious “Voice” all vampires can hear.
I don’t want to give too much away where plot is concerned, but I absolutely loved this book. For me, I feel every new book concerning Lestat gives us a new perspective of this extraordinary character Rice first created in 1976. The initial impression we get from Louis in book one is not the same one we get from Lestat himself and other vampires in later novels. Lestat may not age, but he can certainly grow.
We have seen Lestat battle good and evil along with his own moral conflictions. In this novel, Rice begins with a wandering Lestat who is resigned to his fate, and we get to watch him grow through both his own experiences and the eyes of others. The “brat prince,” as Marius has coined him, is the embodiment of struggles we all face. This novel manages to be entirely relatable and wonderfully fantastical at the same time.
Prince Lestat is the culmination of everything that has happened in the series so far. The various experiences of Lestat, Louis and the assortment of other characters all lead up to this moment. All of their feelings, their searching, their questions lead to these new revelations. Rice manages to create a novel that can be the end, but leaves us begging for more (Wikipedia says there will be!). This is the start of something completely new from the vampire world.
On the downside, it looks like Rice’s departure from New Orleans may be a permanent one, as Lestat seems to decide on a fixed location by the book’s end. Regardless of location, I personally will always love Lestat and his fellow vampires. This novel was a long time coming, but Anne Rice has delivered once again.
“Deep in my mind a thought did flash for a moment that one who commands must of necessity be wildly imperfect, boldly pragmatic, capable of compromises impossible for the truly wise and the truly good.” — Lestat.
Update: Prince Lestat has been announced as the winner of Goodreads’ Readers Choice Awards in the Best Horror of 2014 category.