Novel by Anne Rice
(The Vampire Chronicles #7)
“I hear the birds singing. Listen. I hear them in their cage. The others-all our kind who know of her-they think of her as heartless, but she wasn't heartless. She was only aware of things which I didn't learn till so many decades had passed. She knew secrets that only suffering can teach...” p408, Louis
Anne Rice's books have been some of the most influential in my life. I have always loved reading, but reading The Vampire Lestat in year 8 (along with Lives of the Monster Dogs, and Poe's stories in year 6) have had an indelible influence on my own writing.
Anne Rice has a rich, evocative style of storytelling, with lush descriptions that can span pages, but are never boring. Her characters have hours long in depth conversations about their lives, spirits and the soul that are truly fascinating.
Anne Rice was the one who humanised vampires, showed them having the ability to feel guilt and love. However these are still dark creatures, that hunger for blood, for death, unlike some of the candy coated storylines we see today. Anne Rice's vampires are predators, who know the truth of their own dark nature, much as a few of them might try to fight it. Louis, is the weakest of them, the most human, who longs not to kill, but also refuses to drink vampire blood to make him stronger and less human. Lestat, always my favourite, has always been more flamboyant, and less held back by conscience than Louis, embracing his darkness. I have always loved Lestat's description of the Savage Garden of life.
Claudia was a particularly dark creation. While at first glance, she may seem to be one of the 'scary child' cliches we now see so often in supernatural shows and books, Claudia is an elegant exception to the rule. She is the original of which the others are imperfect copies. She is a perfect china doll of a child with the urges of a killer and the tortured mind of a woman. There is a terrifying sensuality in Claudia. As a child, she was made into a vampire, and, while her body did not age, her mind did. She suffered the pain of having the mind of a woman trapped in the body of a child, a body that could never experience womanhood, or physical love.
I enjoyed being introduced to the character of Merrick. I wish there were more stories about her and her magic. I have been fascinated by voodoo even more since I read The Serpent and The Rainbow. I am fascinated by New Orleans, the magic that seems an inextricable part of the life there. I dream of going there to see if it is as I imagine it from reading Anne Rice's stories.
I loved the dark elements of the story, for instance, the hand of glory, the engraved bone. Anne Rice pulls off the dark and occult in an elegant way, never falling into that desensitising gore fest style that brings out the emotion of disgust, blanking out all of the beauty in the darkness.
The only thing that disappointed me with this novel was that there was not enough about Claudia, I would have loved it if there was a whole story about her.
Do I need to tell you that this book gets my wholehearted approval and recommendation?