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Customer Review

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.
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