Blood Canticle (Vampire Chronicles)
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112 of 126 people found the following review helpful
on October 3, 2004
You know how sometimes you spend hours and hours on a single work -- an essay, perhaps -- deliberating over each sentence, each word? You do lots of research; you proceed very carefully, making sure each sentence is as great as it could be. You are careful with detail. You take the time to craft that work.

OK, you know how sometimes you type a careless e-mail to your friend about your day? Or maybe you're writing in your diary. You don't really care to take the time to be too careful with the imagery or diction. You just write it down for posterity. You just let things flow out.

Well, Anne seems to have abandoned the first method for the second. At first I thought it was me. It started with "Memnoch the Devil." I just couldn't get into it. With the first four novels of the Vampire Chronicles, I felt as if a whole entire world was popping up around me. A lush and ornate world that was full of grandeur -- details about places in Europe or New Orleans, the texture of the curtains, the ambience of the room, the sound of violins, the ferns. It was all very decadent and, quite frankly, amazing. She created this undescribable feeling that no one else could.

Then something went wrong. After she began releasing more books, I realized that it wasn't just me. Maybe Anne was getting sloppy? Maybe she just couldn't sustain her interest in this genre after so many years? Her latest works seem to be written in the same manner that many write in their journals or e-mails. The sense of carefulness, of passion, is gone; it's no longer about the nuances. The subtley is gone. Now it's more like: "This happened . . . then this . . . and oh, don't forget about this." There's a stream-of-consciousness quality going on that comes from a lack of precision. Either she didn't outline this current novel, "Blood Canticle," at all or it was outlined poorly. I understand Lestat's language will change as time goes on. But "yo"? "Baby"? Does he have to sound like a sleazy Hollywood agent? Anne has failed to help readers make that transition; you can't have Lestat speak eloquently and formally in one novel and change his speech so abruptly without having some readers raise objections. His language clearly demonstrates Anne's lack of understanding of how people talk today; instead, she uses language that she thinks people still use today. This is comparable to Kate Beckinsale's "Romanian" accent in "Van Helsing"; she used an accent she thinks Romanians use.

Let me say that I am a huge Anne Rice fan. I think "Interview with the Vampire," "The Vampire Lestat," "The Queen of the Damned," "Tale of the Body Thief," "The Witching Hour," "Lasher," "The Mummy," and "Cry to Heaven," were brilliant. And even though I did not love "Feast of All Saints," I still thought the details were mesmerizing. Anne had that "it" factor going on; she cast magic with her books. She had the ability to transport the reader to any place she wanted, to bring people and worlds alive.

She's been rather prolific in recent years. Personally, I think Anne should take a break. Stop writing a book or more per year. Find that passion again. Take the time to write something really amazing. I truly believe that she spent more time writing her older works than her newer ones. In spite of the negative reviews of her recent work, she should take pride in the fact that she has other books to be proud of; that many of her previous works have changed people's lives; and that she has left a legacy that many will appreciate in the future. If she doesn't have the passion, she should know it is OK to stop writing for a while and bask in the success she's had with previous novels. After all, even the best writers have written books or stories that have fallen into obscurity because they didn't measure up to their most famous works.
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48 of 54 people found the following review helpful
on December 26, 2003
As an end to the Vampire Chronicles and the Mayfair Witches, this book does both of those series an immense disservice, as it is not a fitting end for either.
Ash and Morrigan, the Taltos, should have been left alone if their fate was the best Rice could come up with. While the message Rice is sending there is obvious, it's muddled by the presence of the drug lords, and would have been much clearer and direct if left to the Taltos alone. As for the Mayfairs... Rowan's every action seems forced against her previously established character, and Michael is reduced to her accessory.
Over on the Vampire side, Rice mercifully does ignore most of the pantheon of characters she has developed there. Louis, Pandora, Gabrielle, Marius, and almost all the others are allowed to drift away without acknowledgement, a blessing based on the way everyone else is handled. Maharet and Kayman make cameos without really appearing, which is probably also a blessing. As for the rest, Quin, like Michael, is Mona's accessory. Mona is spoiled and insolent, and if you hated reading what had become of her in "Blackwood Farm", you'll really hate what she becomes here.
Lestat, well, he's Anne Rice, not himself. He fully ceases to be his own character and instead becomes his author's mouthpiece, prone to rants and tantrums based on whether or not people like him.
As the conclusion to both series, this could have been an epic, but instead it's more of a travesty.
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99 of 121 people found the following review helpful
on May 7, 2005
I remember when I was first introduced to the wonderful, deeply lyrical and darkly enchanting world of the vampire chronicles for the first time by reading 'Interview with the Vampire'. How I was moved by 'The vampire Lestat', drawn into 'Queen of the Damned' and 'Tale of the Body Thief'. Then I remember how I gradually started to lose interest in these once so colorful, wickedly beautiful characters in 'Memnoch' which took me ages to finish, because it was just, so, very, boring. After that, reading the vampire chronicles became nearly painful, the stories grew more and more colourless, and Rice just kept repeating herself. Blood and Gold was slightly more interesting than the rest, but my hopes were crushed by the lousy 'Blackwood Farm'.

Now, I'm the type of person that can't start a series without finishing it, unfortunately, because the characters I once loved have turned into something grotesquely boring and idiotic.

My reading the rest of the chronicles made anything better, it feels as if Anne is just writing new books, losing inspiration, forgetting past stories, and how thoose characters FELT in the first place, just to make more money out of her name.

So, let me put it in a way that no one can misinterpret. Blood Canticle sucks. I hated it. It's amateurish, bleak and even though all it's overdramatics never delves deeper into any of the people or incidents. And what's with the way Lestat is speaking? I cringed when I read his ghettotalk. And his ramblings about being a saint, his extreme LOVE for christianity. This change from how he was is poorly done, and hardly believable. I didn't think it could get worse than 'Blackwood Farm' really, which annoyed me beyond reason, with all it's sad oh-so-beautifully-tragic people, the overdramatic yet pointless rants etc. But Blood Canticle somehow manages to be worse.

Anyone, who like me, fell in love with the first Vampire Chronicles, spare yourself from this! As a matter of fact, don't read the latter Vampire Chronicles, they're basically just boring, and repetetive crap. I won't force anyone, it's hardly possible, and everyone's free to read it and see or themselves what a piece of junk it is. But if you want to keep the image you have of the characters and Rice's style, don't even go near 'Blackwood Farm'.

So, now, I will go and sit down with my copy of Interview with the Vampire, and enjoy the Vampire Chronicles when they were worth reading,(because they certainly arent after the 4th book), and try to push this horrid piece of literature in the darkest corners of my mind, where it will hopefully lie until being forgotten.
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86 of 105 people found the following review helpful
on May 30, 2004
What can I say about this book that hasn't already been said by other reviewers? This has to be the worst book Rice has written, and it took an act of will for me to finish it. Rice has said that this is the last of her Vampire Chronicles. I only hope she keeps her word.

So why is this book so bad? First of all, the story is thin. Newly made vamp Mona Mayfair (who spends most of the book acting out) wants to find out what happened to her Taltos child. Ok, interestng premise. Could have made for a good story. Mayfair family dynamics come into play--Mona's daughter was fathered by Rowan's husband Michael and Mona's mad at Rowan. Could have been interesting. Oncle Julien haunts Lestat because he's mad that Mona has been vamped. Interesting idea. There are other glimmers of a plot that could work, but mostly they get a superficial, breakneck treatment that reads more like the outline of a longer, more developed novel.

However, my major complaint about "Blood Canticle" (and much of Rice's recent work) is her treatment of her characters. In her earlier works, they were better fleshed out and more complex. In other words, they were believable, and from book to book Rice maintained their integrity. In recent books, however, she's turned them into one dimensional cartoon characters that bear only a superficial resemblance to what they used to be. She manipulates them like puppets to suit her whims--disposing of them off-handedly when it suits her fancy (poor Ash, poor Morrigan, poor Merrick--oops, wrong book). Her characters have lost any psychological reality they originally had. For instance, Mona's just an spoiled, immature brat; Rowan's a controlling Mad Scientist who wants to leave her husband for Lestat; and Quinn (Rice's best developed recent character) is so bland he fades into the woodwork. Even Oncle Julien becomes a incompetent ghostly meddler who can't get anything right. As for Lestat, now he's a do-gooder who wants to become a saint. You know the book is in trouble when it begins with Rice using Lestat's voice to whine about how "Memnoch the Devil" was misunderstood. Much of the Vampire Chronicles has been about Lestat's moral evolution, but please, give the vamp his fangs back!

Part of the problem here is that Rice has written some very good books that conveyed a real sense of the uneartly. "Blackwood Farm," Rice's most recent book before this one, was downright creepy and spooky in spots. Even "Merrick" had an eerie atmosphere to it. "Blood Canticle" suffers in comparison and does justice to neither of her major series. Both deserved a better sendoff.

Vampires & Mayfairs alike, may you rest in peace and be subjected to no further indignities.
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47 of 56 people found the following review helpful
on November 12, 2003
The vampires were a metaphor for human struggle, emotion and questioning. It wasn't literally about vampirism. And now we have to deal with a religious tangent from a undead rock star who is certain that the catholic church is absolutely right and infallible and the world is full of sin?
Where's all the talk of goodness from The Vampire Lestat? Where's the questioning? Where's the searching and angst? Tell me the angst is still there and I'll be forced to ask you to define angst because then I'd think you
wouldn't know the meaning of the word.
Don't you see, you make Lestat absolutely sure, and you make sexism okay, he says religion and state should not be separated (can we say Taliban?) yet in the old books Lestat had repeatedly said that it would be great if no one has to die
in the name of God and then tell people that maturing means you stop questioning the world around them, now THAT is a bad example. That is not maturing, it's giving up. It takes away some of the humanness of the character that now
he's certain what the fabric of the universe is made of. It makes the books superficial if there's nothing left to doubt or question. Because being human is to struggle and question, it's no certainty, it's not blind faith. It's life, it's questions, it's facing contradictions and corruption.
But now Lestat has lost faith in the goodness of humanity, that secular innocence that he went on about in The Vampire Lestat novel that drew me in. To stop rebelling isn't maturing, it's surrendering. To be mature
does not mean to give up. You can be very mature and still question the world around you and not denounce others for being provocative when you're A WALKING CORPSE THAT FEED'S ON BLOOD!!!!!
This book makes me sick to my stomach when pitted against ANY other vampire chronicle because it's simply not Lestat. If you recall that Blackwood Farm takes place a night before it, he's literally changed this drastically
over night.
You can call this change but Anne Rice should be ashamed of herself in calling it maturing. Don't spit in my face and call it rain.

I didn't love the blond hair or the fangs. I loved the personality and now it's not there. There's no trace of him. Yes, people change over time but fundamentally who you are deep down inside, the person you're meant to be, that never goes way. To quote Lestat himself, "We never change, we just become more of who we're meant to be." And this creature in Blood Canticle is not apparent in any novel before it. Lestat was a part of Anne Rice, a reflection of Stan Rice. And if that part wasn't there anymore she simply should not have used the name. If that part of herself has been changed or replaced she should have used a new character to express these views instead of going 180 on a James Dean type of character and turn him into George W. Bush.

I never felt this passionately about disliking a book in my life. And I THOUGHT I disliked Memnoch the Devil. I could not hate this book so much if I did not love The Vampire Lestat with all of my heart and still do. If I had nothing to pit it against I would say it's just a Catholic right wing
propaganda book and think nothing of it because there are dozens upon dozens of books like that. But if you stand it against The Vampire Lestat and then say this is the same character but he's 'maturing' that concept of maturity scares the Hell out of me. And I'm an adult. If I ever mature like that I want someone to put a gun to my head and pull the trigger, please...
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104 of 128 people found the following review helpful
on October 11, 2004
If Anne Rice herself is glad that the series is finished, it only goes to prove how tired the whole lot of books has become.

She claims she doesn't need editing. Even Hemingway had an editor. If she weren't such an egomaniac, which is obvious from her rant, Rice would have established an ongoing relationship with an editor that she trusted.

She says that she doesn't want to hear someone else's voice blended in with Pavarotti's or Horne's. But if she were at all educated about the opera world, she would know that even the greatest opera singers continue to have teachers help them to hone their craft. Rice believes that she is such a genius that she doesn't need instruction or editing. Well, the continued decline in the literary quality of her books speaks otherwise.

This book is truly awful. If she hadn't already had so many books published, no reputable publishing house would have touched it.

And no, I have nothing personal against Ms. Rice. I wish her the best. (And I wish she would get an editor rather than rail against the people who actually read her books and see the desperate need for one.)
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80 of 98 people found the following review helpful
on March 7, 2005
If I want to read "literature" where the protagonist uses words like "cool," "babycakes" and "pah-leeeze," I'll get into an online argument with a teenaged troll.

Anne Rice, you were an amazing writer-- your works were full of beautiful, inspiring prose and muted meditation. Some called it turgid, though others like myself loved it. I bet even those critics are eating their words now. It's like you went from one extreme to another.

Doubtless I'll get the trolls coming out of the woodwork with their cries of "OH Noes!11! You didn't just diss Teh Greatest Writer Evah!!!1!" and the rather mundane and predictable "OMG let's see u rite 25 bezt sellaz!!1"

I don't need to be a farmer to know that pig swill is rubbish; likewise I don't need to be James Joyce to know that five exclamation marks and an undead 18th century French libertine trying to get down with da kidz through L337-speak is never going to be "Ulysses."

I'll keep hold of the books from "Interview With the Vampire" to "Tale of the Body Thief." They're classics; they're sharp, well-written with great characterisation. If you're looking for quality writing by Anne Rice, try those books. If you've come here to tell people that they're wrong for daring not to like a book, or to roll out the "write 25 books" line, nothing will persuade you otherwise.

Adieu, Lestat. It was fun while it lasted.

Also, "Lestat" didn't write it. Apart from Lestat being a (hugely enjoyable) fictional character, he has been used as a sock puppet by Rice to berate people who recognised Memnoch the Devil to be an insulting rip-off of finer theological works.
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72 of 88 people found the following review helpful
on April 23, 2006
This was the most bizarre book I've ever read and I grew up reading R. L. Stine and Stephen King.

Anne Rice always liked to depict her vampire characters as gods. They had powers beyond tradition and a physical comeliness that would melt any human heart. I wonder if Anne Rice was writing these stories to entertain the public or herself? I always sensed a bit of selfishness on part of Anne when it came to her characters. Perhaps that is why she doesn't allow fanfiction of her characters?
Anyway, as the series progressed, the characters seemed to get more and more beautiful and superstrong. Before long, they had more in common with Dragon Ball Z characters than vampire folklore! A major turn-off for me. The only superpowers the vampires lacked were the abilities to shoot laser beams out of their eyes and say "Kamehameha!"

I think the worst part of Blood Canticle was the point of view and the language chosen to illustrate the novel. It made me cringe and whimper for Emile Zola and, in general, GOOD writers with wondrous stories to tell.

As I am an athiest, I also didn't like getting bashed in the head with the persistent god chitchat and Pope worship. If I wanted to be converted to Catholicism, I would turn on the TV and listen to the rambling of some televangelist. But of course, this reason for disliking the novel is purely personal.

My third complaint is Anne Rice's ugly usage of the breaking the fourth wall literary technique. Terrible and irritating in its bluntness.
When I read, I want to fall into another world, a magical world of words that I can only be pried from once the book is at its end. I don't want to be harrassed or addressed by Lestat(Anne) as incompetant because I don't believe what she does. How foolish, how juvenile.

Last, but not least on my list of complaints, is the destruction of the character Lestat. Not for one moment did I feel as if I was seeing through Lestat's eyes. Rather, I felt like I was witnessing Anne Rice's deepest twisted religious dream. Lestat became Anne Rice's ultimate author surrogate.
The silliest part of the book was Lestat(Anne)'s visit to Pope John Paul II:

"I lay my hands upon him(the Pope), and I banish his suffering. A quiet penetrates his limbs. He looks at me with one eye, the other squinched closed as is often his manner, and between us there is suddenly an understanding..."

Yes, it is sad that the Chronicles are over but only because we will never find out what happened to the other characters, as the majority were not mentioned in this book. Overlooking a few cringe-worthy passages, I found Blackwood Farm to be a decent novel. I read many of Anne's books in English and in Hungarian. I liked Anne Rice. I don't any more. I'm sorry I have to write this but I am compelled to get this out of my system once and for all.

We must move on. Let's take out a different book and open ourselves to a new world, another adventure, and leave this sinking ship to be swallowed by the waves.
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45 of 54 people found the following review helpful
on November 24, 2003
Blood Canticle delivers a startling double-shot of literary unprofessionalism.
First, Anne Rice uses her most beloved character to berate and insult her fanbase for not appreciating her 1995 release, Memnoch the Devil. In his half-coherent rant, Lestat points out that Memnoch sold more copies than any other book in the series. Were those numbers really a surprise to anyone? After all, the film version of Interview with the Vampire had become a huge hit only months before. But apparently (at least in Anne's mind), most of those books went to idiots who didn't bother to understand its importance. So yes, Anne, insult us. Insult the readers who have kept up with your work for a decade or more, because we obviously just don't appreciate you. Never mind that literature is, by nature, always open to interpretation. We didn't read Memnoch the way you wanted. We deserve to be berated by the Brat Prince.
Please.
Oh, and the second unprofessional element in Blood Canticle? Rice follows up that rant with a novel that's practically unreadable. Characters act entirely differently than in past books (and that's not character development -- that's simple inconsistency). A few of the luckier characters have disappeared completely, thus escaping this soapy car wreck of a narrative. And what in the world happened to Lestat's written voice? He used to turn a charming phrase; now he speaks and writes like a half-literate teenager.
I hope Anne keeps her promise and makes Blood Canticle the last book in the series. Her once-great characters deserve to rest in peace, if this sort of book is the best she can manage for them otherwise.
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30 of 35 people found the following review helpful
on November 20, 2003
"Blood Canticle" is a novel that Anne Rice was well over 3/4 of the way writing when her husband was diagnosed with brain cancer. She took time off from writing and then went back to the novel in order to make her dead line. When reading the novel, the shift in her tone is evident. (Besides the fact that the novel was finished on October 5, Stan was diagnosed in August. No way the novel was done that quickly, no matter how sloppy and poorly written it is.)
Still, that means she had written over half the book before he was sick. So you know what that means... no excuse. "Blood Canticle" is repellent. And it would be forgivable if Blood and Gold & Blackwood Farm had been even half-way decent novels, but they weren't. And so the all the excuses and half-hearted defenses with continue for Ms. Rice. It still does not make up for an once brilliant author who had decided to churn out novels more processed than Velvetta.
The language is terrible, the "plot" is a joke, and all the while you can't hope but think, she knows it as well. But she doesn't. And I don't think this will be the last chronicle. Let's face it... writing a vampire chronicle pays, and it's obivious that is what Anne Rice is concerned with. Art and intergrity have been stomped on and there isn't even a glimmer of the once great author she was. That's the greatest tragity. Yo, I think it's time for us all to boogie on over to a better writer, baby.
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