92 of 96 people found the following review helpful
on February 13, 2002
If Anne Rice had never written another book after "The Vampire Lestat," her reputation as a rare genius would have been created and sealed with this one novel.
Unlike most Rice fans, I read this book first, and it has always been my favorite of all the Vampire Chronicls, much more so than "Interview with a Vampire."
I cannot count how many times I have reread this book, and with each reading, I find a new richness, a new insight, a new awe-inspiring peak into the mind of a woman whose genius may be madness, but with whom I will gladly cross the line. (Case in point: This is the only book ever for which I stood in line for hours to have the author inscribe her name.)
I won't belabor the plot here; it is simply too baroque to try to put into simple words. Suffice to say that, in the first person, we meet Lestat, the teenaged son of an impoverished 18th-century nobleman, whose life is at best cold and harsh, at worst, a constant battle with cruelty of every sort for one's mere survival. One particularly dark and fiercely cold night, Lestat, a beautiful young man despite all his hardships, is out with his beloved dogs, hunting wolves. Into the strange fog he rides...and when he first hears the deep, surreal, and otherworldly voice calling him..."Wolf killer, wolf killer," we are there with him. And we are by his side as he becomes, in a strangely but riveting erotic passage, one of the undead. A vampire unto eternity.
All of Anne Rice's intensity, her eroticism, her love of history, her incredible sense of detail, and her dark view of the world is present in this book, much more so than "Interview with a Vampire."
It is my suggestion that, if you want to sample Anne Rice, and have never read any of her works, this may be the book you want to read. And if you know Rice's works but not this particular novel, I urge you not to deny yourself another minute. This is truly one of the must-reads of one's life.
32 of 32 people found the following review helpful
This is only my third Anne Rice novel though I have been a long time supporter of hers and a fan of her work. Having only recently read Interview with the Vampire, the first book in the Chronicles, I immediately wanted to read the next book, The Vampire Lestat. I'm so glad I did because it gave me a better understanding and a stronger admiration for Interview, of which I had somewhat mixed emotions about upon finishing it.
In The Vampire Lestat, we learn more about Louis's maker and get to enjoy a nice long tale of his life story. We open in the 1980s with Lestat in New Orleans taking an interest in rock music and becoming a vocal celebrity. He has even sought out the book, Interview with the Vampire, to read and has determined much of it to be lies so he needs to set the record straight by writing his own book.
From here, we spend a lot of time with Lestat as a human and get to study the close loving relationship he had with his mother. We meet his vampire maker, Magnus. We learn that Lestat loved the stage and we see the early development of what would become the Theatre of the Vampires which played such a crucial part in Interview. We witness Lestat's bond with Armand, the vampire who became the head of the theatre and learn a lot about his story and his creator Marius, who Lestat begins to obsess over. And Marius introduces Lestat to "those who must be kept," who are the king and the queen of all vampires. This sets the reader up for the next book in the series, Queen of the Damned.
Rice excels at classic story telling, but treats her readers to a historical saga of fine vampire literature. Unlike the vampires today's generation obsess over, who are either blood thirsty monsters or sparkling romantics, Rice suffers her protagonist with questions of existence, being, and soul. Hers truly are vampires that will live forever, both on the page and in the minds of her readers.
25 of 25 people found the following review helpful
on September 1, 2001
I first became involved with the Vampire Chronicles when I saw Interview with the Vampire six years ago. I loved the film and I really liked Louis, Claudia, and Armand. I HATED Lestat. I thought he was a evil monster with a black heart. I read Interview with the Vampire eight months ago and I still hated Lestat. I hated him so much that I skipped The Vampire Lestat and started reading Queen of the Damned. I saw the graphic novel of The Vampire Lestat in a used bookstore a month or two after I read IWTV and I looked through it. I was amazed at the beautiful artwork and I realized that there was more to Lestat than I thought. (He was not as evil as I thought he was before. He is good and evil. A living contradiction.) After I saw the Graphic Novel I saved my money and I bought it a few weeks later from the same store. I read the novel and I was completely blown away. It is PERFECT. It is dark and beautiful and it becomes very real as you read it. As you read the book Lestat almost makes you wish that you could be immortal. He also shows you that he is a complex character that cannot be labeled. (Most characters in movies and books are two-dimensional. They are either "Good" or evil" and that is what makes them dull. Lestat is everything and nothing and that is why he is fascinating.) Lestat is great because he is a perfect contradiction. (He is strong but he is weak. He is independent but he is dreadfully lonely.) I read TVL novel after I read the graphic novel and I now love the Lestat character. This graphic novel is impossible to find! It is out-of-print and it is VERY hard to find! You HAVE to buy this graphic novel if you have the chance. It will quickly become one of your most treasured items and you will be really glad you bought it if you are a Vampire Chronicles fan. If you don't buy it when you have the chance it will most likely become like the infamously insanely hard to find THE CROW graphic novel by James O'Barr. (A great book I would kill to have.)
38 of 41 people found the following review helpful
on December 14, 2000
Published 9 years after "Interview with the Vampire", this sequel tells us the story of Lestat, the villain of the first book. Opening in 1985, we read that Lestat is now a "rock and roll" star. (Note to Anne Rice: people have not said "rock and roll" for quite some time...) This seems a strange change for the brooding vampire of the first book, and it's not entirely successful to me as a reader. It may have worked better in 1985, but by now, it seems a bit unnecessary and kind of silly. Thankfully, this plot is only a framing device for the life story of Lestat de Lioncourt (and that's why I insist on giving this book 5 stars.) "Lestat" is quite a different novel from the first in the series, but we are dealing with an entirely different vampire here than the depressed and vulnerable Louis (who remains my favorite vampire). Lestat's story goes throughout the centuries, and he meets other vampire's who tell their tales. This book is a fantastic pageant that goes back to Ancient Egyptian times, to classical Rome, to pagan Europe, to the times of the French Revolution, to an old, decaying Parisian cemetery and even up to the present time. "The Vampire Lestat" is a much denser novel than the first (which has now become a sort of prelude or teaser to the entire Vampire Chronicles) but it's just as enjoyable. This book seems to be the hands down favorite of most readers of the Vampire Chronicles, but this is not an incentive to read these books out of order. "Interview with the Vampire" contains some very important passages and character development that are important to your understand of the second (especially in one of the final sections of "Lestat"). Amazingly, Rice maintains the continuity between the two novels, and doesn't make any of the "revisionist history" in the second seem false or forced. (Of note is the explanation as to why Lestat's father but not mother was in the first book... that revelation is a shocking one.) Another fun aspect is Lestat's reaction to reading Stoker's "Dracula". And fear not, some of our favorite characters from the first book do appear again... in unexpected ways. One of my favorite characters to be introduced into this book was Akasha, who is the Queen of the Damned of the third novel.
With The Vampire Lestat, Rice again does a wonderful job with her prose; it's a beautifully written, exciting and captivating book. I had no idea where the book was going from one moment to the next, and it never disappointed. Rice even successfully depicts twentieth century America as a fascinating place to be. I never thought a drugstore would seem so interesting. Read this book, but don't read it too fast... savor it, it's worth the time.
22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
The Vampire Lestat is not only one of the most engaging, remarkable, illuminating, and important horror novels ever written, it is a beautiful work of art that stands proudly among the ranks of what I define as great literature. The breadth and scope of this novel is almost staggering, as is the hypnotic language in which every word and phrase is uttered. Interview With the Vampire was provocative and soul-stirring, but its greatest achievement pale in comparison to the least of the many wonders worked into this second volume of Anne Rice's Vampire Chronicles.
It was the story of Claudia the vampire child that touched my heart in the first novel, although the moral and philosophical questions asked by Louis opened the door for a new kind of vampire literature. Still, Lestat hovered and brooded over every page of Interview With the Vampire, leaving nothing but unanswered questions in the wake of his coldness and sometimes pathetic manifestations. One could not help but wonder about his origins and history, the heavy weights of his mysterious life having left him little more than a husk of a vampire at the end of Louis' story. Finding out in the opening pages of The Vampire Lestat that this inscrutable wanderer is not only thriving once again but that he has in fact become a rock star seems pretty strange. Yet all things are made clear in this novel, for this is Lestat's story, and he violates every vampire law by revealing secrets beyond the ken of mortal man. Lestat wants to embrace his true nature, show the world's population that vampires live amongst them, and incite a glorious war between man and the Children of the Night.
This is much more than just Lestat's story, however. What Anne Rice has managed to do in this novel is to create a brand new history and legend of the vampire, taking this most beloved of horror themes and transcending the literature of Stoker, Le Fanu, and the greats of the past. The cold and inscrutable Lestat we saw in Interview With the Vampire is now revealed to be at one time the most human of vampires, an immortal whose love for humans exceeded even that of his creation Louis. We learn of his human childhood, his creation by the immensely old and powerful Magnus in the seventeenth century. The depth of his feelings for his mother and adolescent soul companion Nicholas are quite touching and beautiful, and we see how his first recipients of the Dark Trick come to bring him much pain and tragedy. We see his crazed outbursts and intensity of feeling revealed in the most telling of ways. We learn much more about the vampire Armand, a character I quite honestly despise for his weakness. He hides behind old traditions, betraying the very notions of his own creator Marius by embracing a pseudo-religion of evil, punishing those wretched creatures who dare disturb his antiquated way of existence. Marius, an ancient vampire of great power who links Armand and Lestat together in the most telling of ways, introduces Lestat and ourselves to the Mother and the Father, Those Who Must Be Kept, and it is through these individuals that the history of vampirism is delivered so originally and brilliantly here, drawing and touching upon ancient Egypt, religion, philosophy, and a myriad of other powerful subjects and inspirations. Through Lestat's daring and individualism, we learn much more than any other vampire teacher could tell us; he truly did have stories to tell, and now we learn why he refused to share his wisdom with Louis and Claudia.
The introduction of the Mother and the Father, Akasha and Enkil, leads us directly into the next book in the series, The Queen of the Damned, and The Vampire Lestat actually ends on a note of new beginnings potentially more powerful than anything introduced and revealed in this book's 550 pages. I find Those Who Must Be Kept absolutely fascinating, the most ancient of vampires who live lives of immobility and seeming inactivity, staring open-eyed eternally, leaving open the possibility to Lestat in particular that they can be reawakened. Yet Lestat's active plans, his flagrant announcement to the world that he is a vampire (even though mortals may believe in the image rather than the reality of what he is saying) and his daring publication of the most secret of his kind's secrets leaves one spellbound and in wonder as to how things will play out in the end. His actions are rash and dangerous, yet the exuberance he feels in doing these things brings him to life ever more fully. I could go on and on about the wonder and power of this novel, but even then I could not begin to convey the beauty and force with which Anne Rice weaves her dark wonders. Anne Rice takes us inside the hearts and minds of these vampire characters, and that is a perspective that even Bram Stoker never provided. I thought nothing could possibly surpass the dark brilliance of Dracula, but I have to say that The Vampire Lestat is the greatest vampire novel I have ever read.
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on June 17, 2014
I'd say that this novel truly reveals Lestat in all his despicable and beautiful detail. It helps if you lived through the 1980's to get an authentic feel for what kind of an era Lestat is stalking through, but it is not essential. In the age of excess, glamour, drugs, wild sex, and hair metal, our anti-hero fits right in and basically takes over.
Yet the novel sweeps us through history, through Lestat's memories, through Lestat's twisted and unpredictable and appealing mind! Rice does this beautifully, thoughtfully. Though flashbacks abound, they never feel like flashbacks. Her writing is evocative and enthralling.
You will get to know the vampire Lestat really well. The question is, can you survive doing so? You may be horrified by what you learn. You may be more horrified by how much you . . . LIKE what you learn.
19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on August 28, 2000
I read this book in English. I am Italiam, and it was not that simple for me. But _The Vampire Lestat_ is something you cannot restist. _Interview_ is a beautiful book, indeeed, but I think it's a substantial mistake. Why does Louis obstinately hate Lestat? Why does he not understand that Lestat loves him? Why does he prefer the treacherous Armand? Lestat's end in _Interview_ is terrible, unbeareble. You cannot let a creature die of depression. Even if he were much and much worse than he is descripted. So, thanks to _The Vampire Lestat_! Miss Rice understood what depression really is. Maybe she knows this terrible disease. She gives a chance to her bad boy, to her villain, to her horrible, enchanting and intriguing character. And besides, she writes so well!
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on June 5, 2015
When we first met the Vampire Lestat, in "Interview with the Vampire", I must say, I didn't really care that much for him. Louis made him sound so evil and horrid. However, in this novel, we really see the other side of this remarkable creature. He's cunning, attractive, stylish, and down right rebellious. And this, of course, is what makes him Lestat.
One of the things that I found most intriguing about this novel is how Lestat speaks as if he's really talking to us. Most novels don'ts start off by saying "I am......" And at first, I must admit, I didn't thought that was odd. But as the story went on, the style really grew on me and now I think it's absolutely marvelous and really ingenious on Mrs. Rice's part.
Really, I must say that the way that this novel was written is infallible. The prose, as always is in Anne Rice's novels, is utterly beautiful and passionate. Her descriptions of things and places and especially other characters, even thoughts that Lestst has, really make you feel as if you're right inside the story, as if you're being transported into the story.
As always, we meet a colorful array of characters in this novel. For the first time we meet: the golden haired Gabrielle-Lestat's wandering mother, the fascinating and extremely lovable and unquestionably remarkable Marius de Romonus-a two thousand year old vampire, Akasha and Enkil, the Mother and Father of all vampires. And lastly we meet Lestat's best friend, the tortured Nicholas (who really reminds me a lot of Louis).
Anne also brings back some of the characters from "Interview" as well, such as: Louis, Armand, and Claudia.
Lestat's story is, all at once, fascinating, beautiful, beguiling, enthralling, thrilling and extremely seductive. In this novel we race through time. From the '80s back in time to the seventeen hundreds when Lestat be come a vampire and the on through the 19th and 20th centuries.
He tells us of his tragic childhood and home life before running off to Paris with Nicholas and being captured by the horrid vampire Magnus, whom obviously turns him into the greatest vampire the world has ever known.
His tale I tragic yet enthralling, dark yet colorful, bloody yet beautiful.
In all of Anne Rice's books there are two things that I never see in any other novels and that is, the historically evocative flair that she adds to her writing and her attention to detail, utterly flawless.This is what makes her novels so beautiful and compelling. How she moves back and fourth through time to deliver, time and time again, a tale of horror, magic, romance and bloodshed all wrapped in one.
Utterly beautiful, shamelessly erotic, lusciously sensual, blood drenchingly horrid and captivatingly thrilling, is Lestat's tale.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on September 26, 1999
I'm actually in the middle of reading this book, but Anne Rice has captured me. With her exciting and terrifying tales of what's beyond our comprehension. The Vampire Lestat is the sequel of Interview with the Vampire and tells the story of the vampire who created Louis, the main character in the previous book. I think This sequel is better than the first one. Because I can see the landscapes and situations described so clearly in my head. My mom can't understand what's so great about vampires. I think the freak her out. Well, there's not really anything great about them. They're disgusting. But at the same fascinating. I just think man will always be fascinated by the supernatural. I sure find these vampires intrigueing. They're not like Buffy's vampires, brainless bloodsuckers. They are intelligent and special. Wondering what they are and why they exist. These books also deals with questions about life and death, Heaven and Hell. I can recommend them very much. I'm gonna have to read the rest of her books too. ***** out of ***** stars. Definitely.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
The year is 1984, and Lestat is the famous lead singer of the group, The Vampire Lestat. He stumbles upon a simple little book, "Interview with the Vampire", starring Louis, his ersatz lover of sorts (because vampires don't exactly have lovers the same way humans do). So Lestat sets the record straight and tells the tale of his life as a vampire.
When people say this is better than Interview with the Vampire, they are not kidding. This book is light years better than "Interview". I almost wish this book never ended, it was so good. I already have book 3 lined up to read - and normally, I would give myself a break, just so I didn't burn out.
What makes "The Vampire Lestat" so good? Just about everything - from characters, to setting, to writing, to mythos. About the only thing I can critique is that at one point, not long after Gabrielle is turned and we meet Armand, the story kinda stalls and gets a bit dull. Oh, and when Marius is telling his story, I kinda got confused and thought we went back to Lestat's POV. But honestly, those are nitpicks - I enjoyed myself thoroughly with this book.
Lestat is a WAY better protagonist than Louis. He's not so whiny, so pathetic, so useless. He's a master of his own life - sure, he contemplates whether he is evil and tends to choose victims who are evil (those women Louis says Lestat seduces? They are prostitutes that cheat sailors and probably kill them). He is a passionate being - he cares enormously for Nikola and Louis (some of the sweetest interactions in the book) and his mother (though his love for her gets a bit creepy in the "I don't think we should be kissing our MOM this way"). He is a curious being - he searches all over the Mediterranean for Marius and the source of answers. He is a powerful being - his powers attract the attention of Armand and Marius and when others can't stand being a vampire, he is able to press on.
The rest of the cast is beautifully done as well. Gabrielle, Nikola, Marius, Armand, and even Louis all get dimension. They are real people, with real desires - Gabrielle to be set loose to live alone. Nikola to balance his "wicked" pursuit of the theater with his religious beliefs. And so on. And so forth.
The story was engaging and exciting. I was enthralled with the depths of the mythos, a perfect balance of complex and yet simple - not a list of rules sloppily tacked together when the author needs to add a new challenge to her characters, but actual rules that make sense in the world and seem to originate naturally from the circumstances. And the addition of Akasha and her brother - I can't tell you how deliciously creeped out I was! I loved it!
At this point, I'm just gushing. Honestly, I really loved this book and am SO GLAD I didn't give up on this series. If you like your vampires wicked and blood-thirsty, you definitely need to check out this series!!
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