Prince Lestat and the Realms of Atlantis: The Vampire Chronicles 12
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"The Fifth Doll" by Charlie N. Holmberg
The Wall Street Journal bestselling author of The Paper Magician Series transports readers to a darkly whimsical world where strange magic threatens a quiet village. | Learn more
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- Item Weight : 1.68 pounds
- Hardcover : 480 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0701189444
- ISBN-13 : 978-0701189440
- Product Dimensions : 6.38 x 1.61 x 9.45 inches
- Publisher : Chatto & Windus (November 29, 2016)
- Language: : English
- Best Sellers Rank: #4,004,077 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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I wasn't entirely sold on including Atlantis in the vampire mythos when I first heard the title, but I decided to give it a chance. A long time follower ot Ms. Rice's Facebook page, I knew how passionate she was about Atlantis and the many theories surrounding it. That passion, however, seems to be the problem.
Don't get me wrong, I understand writers have worldviews and opinions. And while I enjoyed Interview with the Vampire's bleak nihilism more than I did Lestat's Catholicism in Blood Canticle, I understood that, as Ms. Rice herself recovered her faith, so did her characters. However, one thing is having a shift in perspective and another is forcing a new passion where it doesn't fit.
The premise of the novel is that, surprise surprise, Amel isn't *really* a spirit, but instead the ghost of the dead ruler of the long-lost Atlantis. That already stretched my suspension of disbelief, but I was willing to let it slide. That is, until the second big reveal in the novel: the existence of... essentially... evil Ancient Aliens.
I won't get too much into the details of the book, but suffice it to say that this new addition simply does not work. From Gothic novel we turn to sci-fi and, with all due respect to Ms. Rice, it's not particularly well-researched sci-fi. It honestly feels like Ms. Rice decided to use her latest novel as a soap box through which to share her latest interest. As someone who cherishes and loves the characters she created, it's extremely disappointing to see them treated in this way. But, I suppose, that is the author's prerogative. Just as it is mine not to look too closely for the next installment of the series.
Ultimately, if you decide to read it, keep an open mind. It's not what long-time fans of the series are used to, but there is some beautiful writing in there, and that's always worth something.
This book seeks to retroactively alter the established mythology of the vampires--it would have been well and good to write about a new immortal species, aliens, Atlantis, etc. without having to change, or mention, or even touch any other Immortal race. The concepts and ideas Rice is putting forward are the ideas of 2016 progressivism, and they often feel tacked on to characters and themes already well established by earlier works but poorly fleshed out in this novel; often her characters are more sketched than described. Whatever her vision of her older characters at this stage of her life, they are, in some cases, radically different for the reader than what they have been before.
I respect Anne Rice as a person and a writer, and I hope for more offerings in the future, but this novel is something like Blood Canticle or the Christ the Lord books in that it speaks more of the author's preoccupations than about timeless beings rooted in the eras from whence they came. In terms of technical merit, the writing is good in places, but there are issues of pacing and character development that really hurt the story. In some cases, characters are more listed than narrated, in some cases barely described, and even Lestat's motivations seem forced. I don't quite buy it so much of the time in this one.
In terms of the descriptions of Atlantis, they are, to my mind, somewhat unimaginative in the sense that it feels like she's describing Manhattan. There is nothing particularly innovative or that does not function as an analogue for current technology, except for "clean energy" tropes every so often. The power source for Atlantis (and more), "luracastria" seems like a ludicrously simple plot device, and lazy science fiction. Moreover, to finally explain vampirism on the planet as a great accident due to alien interference is one of the most unsatisfying explanations I have ever read, and totally unnecessary. The new Immortal race of "Replimoids" is perhaps the most unfortunate aspect of the whole book, for the name alone. The destruction of Atlantis was out of left field, and felt random, unclear, and without much tragedy because it happened so quickly and so definitively, and so utterly without reason. The characters needn't even have been there for all the difference they made to the plot, and this was characteristic of most of the characters in the novel for most of the novel.
I respect that Rice is trying new things, and I know she has been ill and that has taken a toll. Sometimes what she does really works. This one, I think, did not.