71 of 89 people found the following review helpful
Anne Rice revamped the vampire-horror genre with the publication of "Interview with the Vampire," a supernational drama from the vampire's own mouth. It became an unexpected hit, and spawned a series of sequels that came to be known as the Vampire Chronicles. The first four books of the series are compiled here, although the fourth is not up to the excellent standards of the first three.
"Interview With the Vampire" is the story of Louis, a grieving young widower and plantation owner, whose life is turned upside down when he meets the charming vampire Lestat. Lestat offers him a way out: become a vampire. Louis accepts, but once it's done, he finds that vampirism is more than he bargained for -- especially for his conscience.
"The Vampire Lestat" takes a totally different tack, showing us the world through the enigmatic, charming Lestat's eyes. After years of dormancy, Lestat wakes up in time for the early MTV years of the 1980s, becoming a rock star in the tradition of Ozzy and Black Sabbath. And like Louis, Lestat relates his long life's story -- how he became a vampire, his wanderings over the earth, and his investigations into the origins of vampirism itself...
"Queen of the Damned" builds on that research. Lestat's metal music has caused quite a bit of mayhem -- but not this much before: Akasha, Egyptian queen and mother of all vampires, has reawoken from her comalike sleep. The lesser vampires are having strange dreams, some are being murdered by the ruthless queen. Apparently she wants to kill all men. What is more, Akasha has taken a shine to the roguish Lestat himself...
"The Tale of the Body Thief" opens with lonely anti-hero Lestat deciding that he wants to be mortal again. At least temporarily. So he engages in some corpus-swapping with a con man (Danger! Danger, Will Lestat!), and rediscovers the joys (romance with a nun) and miseries (excretion) of being a human being again. The problem is, said con man is not eager to return Lestat's attractive and immortal body once he has it...
Vampiric autobiography is a given in Anne Rice's bibliography -- she has plenty of bloodsuckers telling us about their lives. But Lestat and Louis's were not just the first ones, but perhaps the most compelling and rich, especially since the two had such radically different viewpoints -- including of one another. Is Lestat a heartless fiend, or a roguish good-craving bad boy? I'd lean towards the latter, to be honest.
Rice does stumble in "Tales of the Body Thief," which seems like too flimsy a plot for Lestat and Co., has an unnecessary nun romance, and which has some very gross moments. However, it does give a stunning look at how a vampire would see the everyday life of a human -- all the problems, discomforts, annoyances and loneliness that we all ignore because we're used to it. It's a more personal story than the epic "Queen of the Damned," which deals with all of vampirekind all through history. (In one book!)
Despite the more controversial recent novels, Anne Rice's first Vampire Chronicles are often reckoned to be modern horror classics. Rich, intriguing and far deeper than you'd think vampire fiction would be.
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on March 26, 2002
If you've seen the movies "Interview With the Vampire" or "Queen of the Damned," you've only had a taste of what Anne Rice's vampires are about. Whether it's the Brat Prince Lestat, human-like Louis, or wise Ancient Marius, you will come to love each one for their faults and strengths when you have finished these four books, as told by Louis in the first book, and Lestat in the next three. You will crave to read the other novels that come after-"Memnoch the Devil," "The Vampire Armand," "Merrick," "Blood and Gold," "Pandora," and "Vittorio the Vampire"-because you want to know the story behind all these characters that Anne Rice has painted only vague pictures of until given the chance to tell their story in their own words. Indulge and believe, for Lestat and Louis have strange tales to tell.
74 of 95 people found the following review helpful
This is a box set of the first four books of Anne Rice's popular Vampire Chronicles series. Her works are immensely popular and have spawned 1 1/2 movies (calling Queen Of The Damned even half a movie is being extremely generous!) and many many sequels. I picked up this box set after being told by numerous people that the first four were worth reading and I was really pleaseatly surprised. (I've heard that the series really goes downhill fast after the The Tail Of The Body Thief)
The vampires in this universe are elegant beings of the night who are very articulate and this traslates to immense description. This may bother some but once you get used to Rice's style, it could best be described as a dreamy flow of the subconscious and it works well for the series. The books take you all over the USA and much of Europe as well and Rice does a great job of creating these vampires that have very human qualities.
The series mainly centers around the title character Lestat. Lestat is a fascianting study of the flawed uber-vampire who does what he wants and refuses to conform to the vampire "rules". He knows he is not perfect but realizes the only way to live through immortality is to enjoy oneself whenever one can. The supporting cast has their fair share of interesting characters and the personalities of the vampires are really the heart of the series.
A couple of things Rice does makes her vampire world so fascinating. The vampires act as their own little microsociety with rules and taboos that are well thought out and extremely interesting. For example the longer a vampire makes before creating another vampire determines how powerfull that new vampire will be. There are complications to living forever that you never would of thought of. The vampires have no sexual urges but instead the act of bloodletting serves as their mental and physical urge for copulation. Vampires don't marry each other but instead have extremely strong emotional bonds with each other and thier own fledglings (when you create another vampire they become your fledgiling) They stay together for an indefinite period until an unknown force breaks their emotional connection. This makes for some fascinating relationships that almost seem like "couples" but without the physical relationship. These bonds are often between same gender vampires and sometimes include three or four vampires. All these interesting parameters make for an web of relationships that frequently change.
The biggest con of the series is that sometimes the prose drags on forever and certain parts could be shorter. They were all good, but actually I thought the fourth book was the best and it was also the shortest.
Bottom Line: An entertaining series that will be most enjoyed by experienced readers and fans of romantic self indulgent nuerotic blood suckers.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on May 24, 2004
These stories making up The Vampire Chronicles are not about vampires, really, as one might first perceive. The main characters, and really all of them, are vampires, yes, but there is a much, much deeper essence to the stories. These books are not about vampires, but about understanding of life, love, loss, and survival of mind. If you want to look at it like this, you could say that these stories are about regular human life, human strugle and human passion. The only differences are that the stories are dragged out over hundreds of years, and they contain the understandings of generations and generations, and feelings and understandings are magnified by thousands to attain the grove of vampire characteristics.
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on May 3, 1999
Anne Rice has once again outdone herself with The Vampire Lestat. It is the second installment of The Vampire Chronicles. I have to say I really did enjoy this book. It has a great deal of adventure and romanticism to it although it is a bit confusing at times. If you can get past the long descriptions (which can be helpful at times) and the flipping around from adventure to adventure, you'll love this novel by Rice.
The Vampire Lestat is the autobiography of the vampire, Lestat de Loincourt; the fledgling vampire of the now deceased Magnus. The novel takes place in Lestat's modern home of New Orleans, Louisiana, as many of the vampire chronicle books do, and begins by Lestat introducing himself for all the new vampire readers who haven't read the mortal Daniel's interview with Louis who is by coincidence, Lestat's fledgling. Lestat proceeds by reviewing and describing his childhood before he was a vampire. He talks of his life in the family castle, of his running away to Paris to becoming an actor and of the night Magnus captured him.
He tells of how Magnus turned him into a vampire against his will and gave him a few lessons before jumping into a bonfire to destroy himself. The entire rest of book tells of all Lestat's adventures up to present day New Orleans, 1985 like him turning his mother into a vampire, him destroying Armand's cult of vampires and finding Marius and meeting Those Who Must Be Kept.
The novel concludes by Lestat becoming a vampire rock star in New Orleans with his band of mortals. The book leaves you hanging with the fact that the oldest and first vampire ever created, Akasha, is awakened by Lestat's music and goes on a killing rampage until the next chronicle, The Queen of the Damned.
The novel is good, but confusing for the impatient. You really have to have a love for Anne Rice's works to enjoy this one, but if you love realistic, fantasy fiction than you should definitely have this book on your shelf. I know I will. It's not your average cup of tea.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on October 13, 2000
Good old Anne is a wonderful story teller. Well, not only that, to be fair. The fact that so many people feel enchanted with har characters makes her a good portrayer and critic of society and Christianity. And that is what makes you plough through her books in many ways, you can relate to the different personalities which are introduced and in particular to their dark side.
Her first book, Interview, was a tremendous shock. It's all heart and little explanation. Your feelings run wild with her passionate descriptions and as you enter her barroque world of Vampires you don't worry about the whys or the hows, because what is in front of you is the only thing you can just about handle. Afterwards you begin to ask the questions, and indeed there are many. Overall a terrific formula to open a series- towards the end... Tarantino must have learn something from this.
Now is Lestat's turn. Is he really that demonic, or does he have a heavier burden than he can carry? Well, this has to be the best book. The biography of Rice's darkest secrets. Her fears, dreams and views on many subjects. Her narrative style is superb and the subtleness of her story is very clever. At points in the book you ask yourself; "what the hell does she mean a Vempire is?" Because, indeed many passages can be interpreted very differently, against many social and cultural topics, which to say the least, do not lack in controversy.
After such an imaginative and critical piece of work, the next two books: The Queen and The Body Thief, simply can not compare. They are very different to the first two. Nevertheless a good read in which you are introduced to many characters, in many different stages of history. Story-building books with a gran finale, in which you are not quite sure with whom your feelings are. Rice is very good at that... lots of adventure, mixed with the decadent romanticism her characters transpire.
Finally, Menmoch is the culmination of a job well done. A good finish to the series. Lestat goes out with a bang. Some of her descriptions of hell and heaven I did not like, but that is personal. What is important is her good attempt at explaining the ultimate question: Creation. Very dangereous grounds because it can only be her interpretation of something unexplainable, and sometimes this can be fatally criticised. But, she remains faithfull to her style and perspective (A Christian God)and it works. The ending is unique, you don't see it coming, even after you've read it a few times. This was to a certain extent a similar approach to Scorcese's film The Last temptation... What if Christ didn't know He was the son of God? Well, how about this: What if The Devil was a genuine good guy? Or is he just another piece of the board?
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on October 13, 2011
I cannot recommend Anne Rice highly enough. Interview with the Vampire remains one of my favorite books, and I very much enjoyed The Vampire Lestat and Queen of the Damned as well. It all comes down to this; no one can create a character like Anne Rice.
INTERVIEW: As I said, this remains one of my favorite books. Her ability to bring places to life is unparalleled; New Orleans remains on my "must visit before I die" list, thanks in large part to her. Louis is one of my favorite literary characters of all time; his internal ethical struggle is so in depth and real that I can almost feel his pain. The characters, the time, and the place are all so well developed and well done that I almost feel as if I am watching the goings on. By the way, the movie does not entirely do this book justice in my opinion; Brad Pitt did extremely well at portraying Louis' internal dilemma and severe depression, but Tom Cruise's Lestat fell flat for me. Ergo, if you weren't crazy about the movie don't let that stop you from giving the book a try.
THE VAMPIRE LESTAT: Excellent, and a must-read follow up to Interview, as you will never truly understand the first book (and certainly not the character of Lestat) without reading it. For anyone that doesn't know, The Vampire Lestat traces Lestat's life; including the time covered by Interview, so you get to see the story from Lestat's point of view. It has several very significant eye-openers that help to explain why Lestat was the way he was with Louis. It will totally change the way you view the character. Kudos to Anne for her ability to so totally change the way you feel about a character just by changing the point of view.
QUEEN OF THE DAMNED: PLEASE don't take the movie as an accurate representation of this book. I HATED the movie, but I love the book. Much the same things I have already stated apply to this book, particularly her ability to bring characters and places to life. I also love anything with a historical tone to it (which is a huge part of why I so enjoy her books - I love some of the later ones that allow us to travel back to different historical times and places). In this novel she does an excellent job of weaving together past and present to create an entire story, one which I find riveting.
TALE OF THE BODY THIEF: While one of my least favorite of the series, it is still very enjoyable. Lestat has the opportunity to return to a human form, and it is fascinating to "see" the human experience through a vampire's eyes. Anne's ability to step back and review human existence from a distance is unparallelled. While the character development that makes many of her other books so captivating is not as ever present here, I think that is primarily because the main character, Lestat, is already so well fleshed out in the first three books. I definitely recommend anyone who likes the series to read this one as well, if for no other reason than completeness. Definitely a good read, if not quite on par with some of the others in the series.
20 of 25 people found the following review helpful
on October 30, 2005
I first heard of Anne Rice 11 years ago when her famous book was being released as a motion picture, Interview with the Vampire, of course. I was only 9 years old at the time, but I was already enthralled in the world of vampires, and I had to see the movie. My brother and I saw it 4 or 5 times in theatre alone, and ever since then I have been an Anne Rice fan.
Slowly through the past 11 years I've been reading the Vampire Chronicles. I own all 10 books of the Vampire Chronicles and the two New Tales of the Vampires books in both hardback and paperback. Currently I am almost half way through Blood and Gold and I'm just loving it, but let me get to these four books.
Interview with the Vampire - This book is narrated by the beautiful and self-piteous Louis who has lost all hope of life after the death of his brother whom he blames himself for (Apparently E. A Solinas was basing his Interview review off of the movie where indeed Louis was a widower, however in the book Louis had never been married and was suffering from the loss of his brother, as I said). This book is infinitely more intricately written and more detailed than the movie was, but the movie still had the Interview vibe, considering Anne Rice wrote the screen play (something she failed to do with The Queen of the Damned and it showed). I do not believe that my seeing the movie before reading the book hindered my ability to understand or accept the book any less than if I had read it first. While reading, I saw things that were not clearly explained in the movie, or not even mentioned or included at all. I received a better understanding of how much Claudia really hated both Lestat and Louis and how infinitely ignorant Louis found Lestat to be. And after reading the book, I can say that I enjoyed it more than the movie. This book introduces readers into the world of Anne Rice's vampires through Louis' eyes, and how distorted a world it is.
The Vampire Lestat - This book is the beginning of the saga of Lestat. While reading this book, readers will actually get to know Lestat for who he was as a man and an immortal through his eyes. It will open the world of Lestat that readers who read Interview with the Vampire first, did not even get a glimpse of with Louis' narrative. This was probably my favorite book of the series so far, because I love Lestat's character, and this book is what made me so familiar with him. Anne Rice's writing is also very detailed and stunning, as it always is. Through Lestat's words readers see his change from a man to an immortal and the world he enters into after having to destroy his master. He was not taught the ways of the vampires so he continues doing as he sees fit. Readers will follow him in his journey where he saves his mother, Gabrielle, makes a lunatic of his best friend, Nicolas, first encounters Armand, meets the mentor, Marius, and briefly describes his experience with Louis and Claudia, this is when you truly meet Lestat.
The Queen of the Damned - I'm not even going to mention the movie because I will spend two hours describing how TERRIBLY wrong the movie was. All I will say is that it does not follow the book whatsoever besides the character names and the OVERALL plot. The book, however, was just wonderful. This is the second story of Lestat, in which it is narrated rather strangely. The book begins with Lestat, of course, describing himself once again, and explaining to the reader that they will be taken into the stories of multiple blood drinkers and other people. After that, Anne Rice writes in many narratives to tell the numerous stories, including that of the red haired twins, Maharet and Mekare, a brief story of Pandora, Armand and Daniel, Khayman, Jesse and the Talamasca. She then continues with Lestat's narrative of the rest of the events that occurred with the Divine Mother, Akasha. This was a new style that Anne Rice used for the book, and I think it was very cunning. Readers get to see glimpses of other immortals and their history without an entire book being written. This book is where readers really get to know the most important of the blood drinkers.
The Tale of the Body Thief - I really enjoyed this book, although it was probably my least favorite of the series, again out of what I've read so far. I still loved how it was written, another marvel of Anne Rice. In this book, readers will be taken into the third of Lestat's strange journeys. Here he meets a mysterious man who claims to be able to swap bodies. He teaches Lestat how to do such a thing, and gives him an offer he cannot refuse; the chance to be mortal again. There is no way that Lestat would pass this up, so of course, he does it. This time he gets himself into a serious predicament when the body swapper does not want to return Lestat's immortal self, and he is forced to turn to a member of the Talamasca, David, who Lestat had bonded with. Readers should know who David is by now if they have read Queen of the Damned before reading this. David cannot refuse to aid Lestat, but in the end he finds himself in an even stranger situation all in itself. While trying to retrieve Lestat's body, he was forced out of his own by the thief and had to take retreat into the body that had housed Lestat while he was a mortal man. Due to unfortunate circumstances, he is not able to return to his own body, and Lestat finds himself even more attracted to David now that he has the body of a much much younger man (when reading Queen of the Damned, readers find out that David is in his 70's), thus, forces David into the preternatural life against his will. As I said above, I thought this book was very well written, I just believe that I did not care about the story nearly as much as the others. I believe anyone who truly loves Anne Rice's Vampire Chronicles will still enjoy reading this book, even if they don't find it as fascinating as the previous.
Of course, after this comes Memnoch the Devil, which I loved but was saddened that it was the last of Lestat's mystical and heroic stories because he goes into hibernation after the acts which take place in this book, until he returns for the finale, Blood Canticle. Following is The Vampire Armand which is a fast read. I also loved this book and it was definitely different because it was the first after four other books, to be narrated by someone other than Lestat. In this book, the reader really gets to know Armand, and a little bit of Marius. Merrick comes next. This book is all in itself, different. I thought that I would hate it and be bored by it when I first started reading. It is narrated by the above mentioned, David, who is now a vampire, telling the story of a witch, Merrick, whom he's asked to perform a spell for him and Louis. In this book, Lestat wakes from his hibernation and is finally his old self again... and it was about time! Now I am reading Blood and Gold, the story of Marius, and of course, I am just loving it. I have already read over 200 pages and I just started it, but I still have much more to go (it's 564 pages, one of the longest of the Vampire Chronicles), but I know I will enjoy it. Overall, these four books will definitely introduce a reader into the world of Anne Rice's preternatural brood, and if you don't like these first four, you won't like the rest. I'll keep reading until I'm done with the last of the New Tales of the Vampires, which is the story of a newly mentioned vampire, Vittorio. Until then, I'll enjoy every bit of the rest.
15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on October 4, 1999
My husband received the Vampire Chronicles for his birthday this year. Unfortunately, he has yet to read them for himself (he read them before we got married). I've devoured the first three books, and now am working on Tale of The Body Thief. I can honestly say that Anne Rice now ranks up there with my other two favorite authors. If I would have known that she was truly THIS good, I would have picked up her books a long time ago!
11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on December 20, 2001
Why are Anne Rice's vampires the best? Because she has created characters and stories that almost convince you that her vampires do indeed live amongst us mortals. She has breathed life into characters that have become bigger than the books she has written and are likely to become part of folk art and tale just like that other famous vampire. But when you read about Lestat and his many adventures, you'll be thinking "Count Who?" If you are into tales of vampires then this is a must read and of course I recommend getting the Complete Chronicles because once you read one, you'll want to read them all.
The reader should note however that this is not the completed chronicles, since Ms. Rice has written many other books that chronicle the lives of her beloved vampires. Among these books there is "Memnoch the Devil", which continues to chronicle the life of our favorite vampire Lestat and his adventure that takes him to heaven, hell and back to earth again. Anne Rice went on to write a series of books that chronicle the individual lives of some of her more notable vampire characters, such as the vampire Pandora in the book by the same name, Armand in "The Vampire Armand" and most recently the vampire Marius in "Blood and Gold". There is also the book "Merrick" which introduces a new character to the chronicles and sees the beginning of new adventures for our favorite vampires. She also wrote "Vittorio the Vampire" which although not officially part of the vampire chronicles, it is still a must for lovers of Ms. Rice's vampire stories. I recommend getting them all but then again, like I said before, when you read one, you'll want to read them all.
I look forward to the continuing expansion of The Vampire Chronicles and to the wonderful writing of Anne Rice.