- Audible Audio Edition
- Listening Length: 17 hours and 13 minutes
- Program Type: Audiobook
- Version: Unabridged
- Publisher: Random House Audio
- Audible.com Release Date: November 29, 2016
- Whispersync for Voice: Ready
- Language: English
- ASIN: B01M9DAZWS
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank:
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Prince Lestat and the Realms of Atlantis: The Vampire Chronicles, Book 12 Audiobook – Unabridged
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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.
It's hard for me to really rate this book because I am so partial to certain older books of hers, particularly the vampire and witch books. Because her style has changed, there's this part of me that still trying to compare the newer books to the older books when Anne herself is a different person.
So I think instead of rating this book "good" or "bad," I'd like to point out some of the changes in her style that I've noticed, particularly in this book. Her prose is tighter now. Instead of spending pages on descriptions, she sets the scene quickly and gets to the story. Her newer works are also heavier on the dialogue and almost read like scripts. Where her older stories were more violent and erotic (which I'm partial to) and it was pretty clear why she fell under the genre of "horror," Realms of Atlantis could almost be labeled as sci-fi. It's more sci-fi/fantasy, and it's much more cerebral. Also, instead of the moody, depressive feel of some of her older work, this one has a more warm and fuzzy feel with a focus on loving one another.
Undoubtedly some readers will knock this book for the differences I mentioned above, but I think it's important that we let our favorite authors grow and evolve as people and as authors and respect the stories they want to tell today. Even though Realms of Atlantis has a way different vibe than, say, The Vampire Lestat, it's still an interesting, very creative read. I advise long-time fans of Anne'sto go into it expecting something new, something more cerebral and more sci-fi than horror, and to respect it for what it is.