It is has been while since we heard from the Vampire Lestat, and for the longest while we had to contend with the offerings of those brave enough to grace the vampirescape. There was a group in Louisiana and someone called Sookie Stackhouse and it often involved a spectrum of mythical creatures along with myriad of nude bodies (some we could have done without but which forever scars our mind). And yes, the deliciously, dominating Kristin Bauer van Straten can sink her stilettos … er, fangs on my neck … anytime. Yes, that’s what I meant … fangs. And then somewhere there something about a Team Edward and a Team Jacob. Slowly reformatting my brainwaves on that bit of memory. And then last summer, Guillermo Del Toro came out with the Strain on FX (which BTW will be reviewed on this dear, humble blog … and yes, it is based on book). So when it was announced by Ms. Rice that a new addition to the Vampire Chronicles was about to grace the world with its presence, I was giddy with excitement. And all of sudden all the echoes of Team Edward and Team Jacob that ricocheted in my head seem to suddenly drift away … almost like it never bloody happened … and I could feel myself running on mountainsides covered with edel weiss as a cool Austrian wind whipped through my blonde plaited hair and I burst into a jubilant singing …er, whoops, I think I’ve got the Sound of Music randomly accessed in my head. Dreadfully sorry about that. (And I hope my nieces never read this). Onwards to the review, shall we?
Reading the first chapter of Prince Lestat felt like meeting a long lost friend. In this case, our lovable scoundrel of a vampire, Lestat. It was one of those it’s-been-awhile-what-have-you-been-up-to moments. And at one point there is the temptation to even invite him out for a pint or two, you know a bunch of old chaps catching up. Sure, there would be the invitation to a few pints … until I realize that whilst my thoughts of pints may be of the Guinness kind, Lestat’s might be of the red kind that flows inside me. So yes, no invitation to pints. And needless, to say, I have detoured a wee bit.
This new addition to the Vampire Chronicles introduces us to a rich, extended, genealogical tapestry of vampires, with all their equally mesmerizing stories to add. And yes there are several favourites (David Talbot, Armand, Louis and the twins Mekare and Maharet) and host of others, some with the usual intergenerational rivalries that show up since it is apparent that some folks can hold a grudge for a very LOOONG time. Seriously, if you don’t know who these characters are but you know the Cullens … we have to seriously talk, mate. Even more is the fascination, by Lestat, at the propagation of computer technology and Internet technologies such as social media that rivals vampire telepathic abilities. Yes, vampires carry iPhones and tweet, possibly do selfies (hopefully nothing like that bollocks involving a paper bag and nude attention whores … and yes, it seems that I did go there).Even more interesting, is that science has found its way into the vampire clans as a select group of scientific minded vampires set out to study and improve the lives of their fellow vampires. And yes, these efforts did the unthinkable: in producing an actual child with Lestat’s DNA. Yes, Lestat has a modern day son. Gasp, you say. How did this happen, you wonder? Tsk, tsk, tsk … I’d be a complete tosser to spell this out for you now, won’t I mates? But while this seems, thus far, as a nice gathering of vampires and such … there is a bit of drama and suspense afoot as many vampires are being massacred (think crispy critter) around the world and in the eye of this chaos emerges a sinister entity known as the Voice. As the whole entire vampire world face a dire future, alliances are formed, hearts are broken (mostly the readers’) and an ancient name rises from the ashes.
This is premium Rice in a sea of rich compelling stories that accompany the many vampire lives that we encounter intertwined with suspense that leads up to a warm endearing conclusion that only Rice can deliver … ever so eloquently. And yes, though we’ve been used to a very bratty, impulsive Lestat of old, Rice has shown a more wiser and restrained Lestat that truly makes him … yes, Prince Lestat. The Prince of Vampires. The Vampire Chronicles live on (I hope … pretty please, Ms. Rice). But I’m still not going to ask him out for pints.