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Merrick (Vampire/Witches Chronicles) Mass Market Paperback – October 2, 2001
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Just when you thought it was safe for a bloodsucker to go out in the dark in New Orleans, along comes Merrick Mayfair, a sultry, hard-drinking octoroon beauty whose voodoo can turn the toughest vampire into a marionette dancing to her merry, scary tune. In Merrick, Anne Rice brings back three of her most wildly popular characters--the vampires Lestat and Louis and the dead vampire child Claudia--and introduces them to the world of her Mayfair Witches book series.
It is Louis who brings about the collision of the fang and voodoo universes. Louis made Claudia a vampire in Rice's classic Interview with the Vampire, in which she was destroyed, and now he's obsessed with raising her ghost to make amends and seek guidance from the beyond. (Claudia physically resembles Rice's young daughter who died of a blood-related illness. Rice nearly died of a diabetic coma in 1998, and writing Merrick turned her excruciating recovery into an exhilarating burst of creativity).
Vampire David Talbot lobbies Merrick to call Claudia's spirit and slake Louis's guilt, but Talbot winds up in the grip of an obsession with the witch. You see, Talbot, unlike most vampires, lived 70 years as a human, so his sexual response to humans is still as strong as his blood thirst. Merrick can cast spells to make men crave her, and Talbot is tormented. After she reads his palm, he muses, "I wanted to take her in my arms, not to feed from her, no, not harm her, only kiss her, only sink my fangs a very little, only taste her blood and her secrets, but this was dreadful and I wouldn't let it go on."
The secrets of Merrick are dark and sensuous, but the book is a romp animated by Rice's feeling of coming back to life through the magic of a literary outpouring. The narrative flashes back to the past, to an Indiana Jones-ish adventure in a Guatemalan cave, and to scenes from many other Rice novels. It may be helpful to read Merrick with the Rice-approved guidebooks The Vampire Companion and The Witches' Companion at hand.
After many books, Rice's grand Vampire Chronicles tale was in peril of getting long in the tooth. Merrick Mayfair's magic represents an infusion of fresh blood. --Tim Appelo --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
From Publishers Weekly
Talbot, a vampire familiar to Rice readers, though now inhabiting a different body, relates this eerie tale about an "octoroon of exceptional beauty" named Merrick, a Mayfair witch with whom he has been obsessed for an eternity. The narrative weaves through timeAfrom present-day New Orleans, to Talbot's first meeting with Merrick, to an adventure they shared years ago in the jungles of Guatemala. Flashbacks aside, this story focuses on Talbot's attempt to convince Merrick to use her voodoo magic to conjure up the vampire daughter of his friend and fellow vampire Louis. Fans will recognize characters from past books, including Louis and Lestat. Rice offers a haunting look at the separate but equally intriguing worlds of witches and vampires united here through Merrick's witchcraft on Talbot's behalf. Jacobi's reading of the tale is spellbinding. His refined British toneAwith the slightest trace of a classic Transylvanian accentAfits Talbot's character perfectly, and he flavors the narrative with verve and mystery accordingly. Simultaneous release with the Knopf hardcover (Forecasts, Aug. 14). (Oct.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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For those who have read the vampire chronicles and the Mayfair witch books, this could have been a fun and interesting off-shoot. And it is not terrible as a book, it just kind of falls flat. Nothing new or very interesting happens. Merrick is kept too mysterious to really flesh out as a character. There is a lot of flowery description of New Orleans and seductive hips and bosoms and skirts and long tapering fingers and stuff. Which is a given with any Anne Rice novel whether you like it or not, but this one has too much description and not enough plot. Even the climax is kind of disappointing in that we are never sure if the ghost of Claudia is really her or not. Things speed up and get a bit interesting in the final chapters, with Louis reacting to the visitation of Claudia, Lestat waking up, and other spoilery stuff. At the very end of this novel, the Talamasca basically declares war on the vampires, but that goes nowhere in future novels (though that could have been interesting in and of itself).
Basically a middle-of-the-road Anne Rice Novel
Finally after David finished the story Louis get to meet Merrick. Louis and Merrick are taken with each other. Merrick agrees to do the spell to bring forth the spirit of Claudia. What will happen when Claudia comes forth? Will she confirm Louis' fear that she is not at peace or will she be at peace? What will be the consequences of the magic? Will anyone of our beloved characters be killed or hurt? What will happen to Merrick?
I love, love, love this book. It is one of my all time favorites and it is the book that got be started on my love of vampires. If you love books about witches, spirits, and vampires I would recommend you read this series. To fully understand Claudia you need to read Interview With A Vampire.
One last note. Anne Rice's vampires are different from any other vampire books I have ever read.(and I have read tons of vampire books) I love them!! They are the standard that I measure all other vampire books by. These books are romantic in a different level. The vampires are passionate but not in the sense of paranormal romance (and I love a good paranormal romance). They don't mate but they do stick together.
But action is not what makes up this book's pleasures. I got the sense that Anne Rice wanted to share the smells and textures and that special rich atmosphere that had enchanted her about parts of New Orleans that possibly no longer exist, and she wanted the pleasure of sharing her observation of some real life people she loved to watch in life. So she came up with an excuse, some side plot lines, to allow her to indulge herself. I, for one, am grateful she did. I just wish she didn't have to tie it with the story of Lestat, and instead spent more time observing Merrick and her close family through the centuries.