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Posts Tagged ‘anne rice’

realms_atlantis_cvr
I finally got around to reading Ms. Rice’s latest (after wading through the tons of other books that I wanted to read, some … I’m afraid weren’t so good). It has eluded me for a month or so, so when I saw it sitting, unmolested, in the stacks, I simply could not resist. But enough with the niceties and get on with it … yeah?

The Realms of Atlantis is another addition to Ms. Rice’s Vampire Chronicles and quite possibly a chartered path into newer mythologies (time will tell … oh pretty please). The last time we saw Prince Lestat, he had become possessed with the Amel, the spirit that was responsible for the birth of vampires. We also saw some newer faces that were being added to the roster as the world of vampires set out to embrace and come to grips with the twenty-first century: medical research, and (horrors of horrors) social media. Just as the winds seem to settle, something starts stirring … sending waves through the vampire world (no, it is not our past election). They are being stalked and possibly infiltrated by creatures that are seemingly immortal but not quite human nor vampires: Garekyn, Kapetria and Derek. Derek had the misfortune of being captured by Rhoshamandes and was brutally tortured. Kapetria had infiltrated Collingsworth Pharmaceuticals (a vampire medical research company) posing as a research doctor but was exposed by a wary Fareed (a fledgling vampire that is also a medical research scientist). Now what does these strange individuals and the vampires have in common: Amel. And so we find out that Amel has had a history prior to being spirit where once ruled the mythical city of Atalantaya (or what we know, today, as Atlantis). It also turns out that Derek Kapetria and Garekyn are survivors of Atlantis. Pupils dilating? Heart racing?
Yes, it should as Ms. Rice takes us on a mesmerizing journey through an expanding universe that has expanded itself into the lost city of Atlantis. And quite a trip it is down this rabbit hole as the city of Atlantis (Atalantaya) comes alive in the most vivid details as only Rice can accomplish so splendidly. Now if you’re expecting a lot of action … say half-naked teens running around the woods of the Pacific Northwest as they battle vegan vampires and other such bollocks , then I’m afraid that you’re reading the wrong book. Sure I can appreciate the occasional latex-clad, gun-toting Kate Beckinsale sporting fangs and dispatching preternatural creatures … but none such in this book.

It is another fascinating trip through Rice’s expanding universe as the supernatural world intersects with science and new myths are borne with the vampire Lestat in the middle of it all.

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beautyskingdom_cvr

It is February, the month of romance. The coldest and shortest month of the year. The most dreaded month (by many singles) in the year. A chance for many corporations to make a killing as they pedal romance in the form of card and chocolates and jewelry to the chagrin of long-suffering single folks out there. But nothing says “in your face corporate romance” like being single, and chowing down chocolate nougats as you watch The Crow with Brandon Lee (or so I’ve been told) on Valentine’s Day. Dear, oh dear. It seems that I’ve detoured a wee bit … and I haven’t even started the blooming review as yet. Very well, on with it. Shall we?
So as we welcome Cupid and his bleedy misguided arrows, the Evil Parrot decided to do the unthinkable. Yes, it was something I claimed I would never ever, ever attempt … to read erotica. Gasp. Yes, the Evil Parrot decided to take one for the team, well for some decent reasons: a way to finally use the erotica category on my blog; it was written by Anne Rice, need I say more; and had to satisfy my curiosity as to why it appeals so much to the ladies (naughty, naughty, naughty … very naughty …tsk, tsk). I guess next I’ll be singing It’s Raining Men at our next after-work karaoke meet. Like bloody hell on that one.
Back in the early 80s, a time when there was no Web, Twitter, Facebook, Kardashians, and music that were eclectic though very listenable and delightful, Anne Rice (under the pseudonym, A.N. Roquelaure) had written a trilogy based on the Sleeping Beauty … with a slight BDSM twist. Let’s just say it made 50 Shades seemed like Sunday school required reading (though I would worry about such a “Sunday” school). Needless to say, I’ve read bits and pieces of this trilogy, and at the time I had yet the courage to completely read much less borrow such a book from the library. What can I say, I was a teen during the 80s, might have been a bit randy … and faced the possibility of embarrassing myself by standing/walking and looking like Robert Plant as he did “Piece of my love” back in the days, after daring to read those books from cover to cover. And yes, my wonderful memory has a tendency to loop things, many times at inappropriate moments. Not much has changed. Too much information? Aye, I think so too, probably destroyed more potential dates.
Beauty’s Kingdom continues from where the trilogy left off. Enter the kingdom of Bellavalten. A kingdom that thrives on what is called pleasure servitude. And yes, feel free to read as much as possible into that phrase, and you’ll probably be right. Imagine a world where carriages are drawn “ponies”: naked, toned human males or females bound with reins, bits and yes, saddles. Gardens filled with “slaves” willfully submitting to all desires. Where punishment is pleasure, and sometimes pleasure can be its own punishment. When the current queen, Queen Eleanor, is lost at sea, there is worry about what will happen with the kingdom of Bellavalten and its …ahem …way of life. Queen Beauty is sought, along with her king, Laurent, and brought to Bellavalten. Upon hearing about the arrival of Beauty to Bellavalten, many lords and ladies arrive from other lands to willingly enter into the wonderful world of pleasure servitude and most of the book is devoted to this titillating, tantalizing process that is written ever so sensually yet yielding the potential of literary weapons-grade Viagra. Along the way there is mention of the mysterious Prince Lexius, whom upon appearance near the end of the book basically turned the erotic world upside down (and might force a few blokes to question their sexuality … be warned, chaps). Anne Rice’s writing of all things sensual and erotic is very natural and doesn’t seem forced. Like many of writings about preternatural beings there is a subtle sensuality and an erotic undercurrent that does not go unnoticed. Her descriptions of feasts, and celebrations, are so vibrant that you long to be in this strange world taking part of the festivities, spankings and all (um .. or so some might think). In her writing of Beauty, the leash (pun possibly intended) is off where there is no subtlety and undercurrents and like all her books, aside from the whips, paddles, slap, tickles, and what’s not, the characters pull you in and for some reason you keep reading. Despite the fact you get weird stares by folks that read over your shoulder on the public transit. Or your sexuality questioned at some points. And the occasional winks from certain scary women. Note to self: if I must read erotica … again …(which may be never … again) … go e-reader.

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princelestat_cvr

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.

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annericewolves

It’s that time of the year. The Christmas cards were out for sale since October. There are rampant cries of “Black Fridays” afoot. And retailers indulged in materialistic lust, whilst the Nativity story (birth of Christ) stood in the backdrop. Yes, it was the sounds of Christmas in the air. Twenty-first century style. But enough about me being snarky and cynical about the season.

When we last left our hero, Reuben Golding (in the Wolf Gift), he had just inherited a sizably mansion on Nideck Point and he was with his new love Laura … both having received the Chrism that would make them full-blown werewolves. Though Reuben has grown into it, Laura is still merely fledging getting to know her new-found abilities. Under the watchful eyes of Thibault, Margon, Sergei and Felix (also known as the Distinguished Gentlemen), they are slowly guided into this new life as Morphenkinders. But in the supernatural world the dust never quite stays settled. Soon, Reuben is being troubled by the sudden emergence and visitings by Marchent’s ghost. To add to this poor sod’s misery, his ex-girlfriend has announced that she is pregnant with his child – a child that was conceived prior to his turning. What’s werewolf to do? I’m afraid a stint on the Maury Show is not in the cards on this one. Sorry, couldn’t help that. The main focal point, however, was the Yuletide celebrations that was orchestrated by Margon, for the entire Nideck Point. This was something that was so exquisitely described by Ms. Rice with such extravagance that it made most red carpet parties sound mere bollocks and surprisingly put me in the spirit for Christmas. I know what you’re probably saying: “how in bloody hell does a book on werewolves, put you in the spirit of Christmas?” Trust me, a considerable amount of pages (mostly in the central part of the book) was devoted to what could possibly the most decadent Yuletide celebration ever described that it is enough to solicit nostalgic drooling or the longing Christmas celebrations like it. We also introduced to the Forest Gentry; forest spirits that haunt the forest that are close Reuben’s mansion in Nideck Point. Though seemingly malevolent, they are actually quite gentle … that is until someone tries bollocks up around them, as was demonstrated in one of most chaotic and cataclysmic moments involving a bunch of foreign Morphenkinder (or werewolves). Apparently, holiday grinches extend beyond humankind, though most grinches don’t feel the need to rip you to shreds (or at least the few that I’ve ever encountered). Not your typical werewolf reading, but Rice’s world of werewolves are ever so richly woven and alluring enough to trap you into its intertwining. There are some touching, surprising twists that will delight rather than shock the readers and even shed a few tears.

A pure delight and another book that adds to the rich interwoven tapestry of the world of werewolves according to Rice; one of many more, I suspect, to come. And yes, I shall await them … patiently (just don’t take to long, luv). And yes, I forgot how mesmerizing Mary Fahl’s voice is in October Project’s “Return To Me” … 1996 and studying in college library with a certain Greek girl. I miss those giggles.

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Reuben Golding is an aspiring journalist for the San Francisco Observer who meets with an elegant, older Marchent Nideck to write a story about her house. He’s seduced by her charm and after a night of passion, Reuben soon awakens into a living nightmare and a life-altering fate … along with a murdered Marchent. Enter the world of werewolves.
The Vampire Chronicles (in my humble opinion) pretty much altered many of our perspectives of the world of Vampires. Which pretty much accounts for my occasional chuckling and mockingly pointing at the likes of the Twilight … umm, epic. Aye, that’s the word I was “really” looking for … epic. Don’t get me wrong, it is admirable what Ms. Meyers has done for the vampire genre, but the truth be told reading the Chronicles and then looking at the Twilight Epic is sort of like learning about flat screen colour television and then looking back at those cute bubbly black and white cathode-ray tubes. Did I just start a war of sorts … maybe I did. Sadly, that’s how the Evil Parrot rolls. And yes, I’d pit Lestat against the Cullens, and the Voltaris any day … oh schnapps … me and my big mouth. I guess I did go there and has henceforth issued an invitation to “bring it”. Along with that, it seems that I have detoured.
Now when this book was first released, several gothic poseur messageboards basically proclaimed that Anne Rice has returned to the “dark side” (or goth poseurspeak: she was “readable” again). The truth is most of her books written prior to the Wolf Gift were great reads, though they may have seemingly offended “certain folks” as too Christian-y. Seriously ??? Whatever happened to just good writing … period? Can’t please everyone, it seems.
As Reuben Golding comes to grips with his new preternatural abilities and a budding romance born out of an encounter in the woods during his lycanthropic adventures, he finds himself pitted against sinister enemies (not of his choosing) and soon finds that there exists under this sun secrets and creatures that are dark and enigmatic. He’s slowly indoctrinated into the inner sanctum of werewolves and is taught the rules of the community. Now throughout most of the lore’s history, becoming a werewolf was deemed a curse, but in Wolf Gift the perspective is delightfully changed from curse to gift. In a sense, Wolf Gift pretty much rearranges everything that we know of the lycanthropic world and lets us view this world with new eyes.

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