Sunday, December 4, 2016

Review – ‘Interview with the Vampire’ by Anne Rice


Here are the confessions of a vampire. Hypnotic, shocking, and chillingly erotic, this is a novel of mesmerizing beauty and astonishing force—a story of danger and flight, of love and loss, of suspense and resolution, and of the extraordinary power of the senses. It is a novel only Anne Rice could write.


I usually don’t read pure horror stories but I’ve always enjoyed vampire romance books and vampire movies of any genre. The Vampire Chronicles Vol. 1 has sat on the shelf for years at home and I finally decided to read it. The volume contains the first three books in the series: Interview with the Vampire, The Vampire Lestat and Queen of the Damned (I’ll review the latter two in other posts). I grew up with the movie, Interview with the Vampire, with Brad Pitt and Tom Cruise, and I think that’s where my fascination with vampires began. Later, when the movie, Queen of the Damned, came out, my craziness for hot goth guys and wild musicians grew. This second movie, I believe, takes elements from the second and third books so I’m anxious to read those books to see how they differ from the movie.
Anyway, on to this book…
I was a little disappointed to realize the character of the interviewer was simply referred to as ‘the boy’ throughout the whole book and, although the book is titled ‘Interview,’ I’d hoped the author showed the story instead of telling it to us. Unfortunately, we are told everything that happens from Louis’s POV. After a while, I grew comfortable with this format and just focused on the story.
Though I’m not surprised that thousands of humans died—this is a vampire novel after all, and no love or happiness is needed or required—the cruelty and lack of conscience was difficult to read at times. Louis and Claudia’s relationship bothered me. She was his daughter, his best friend, his lover of sorts, his pain, his abuser, and his reason for staying trapped with Lestat and with her for so many decades. She’s a grown woman trapped in a five-year-old child’s body. I didn’t like her to say the least. The way Louis and Claudia treated each other, as though they were married and in romantic love, not parental-and-child love, disgusted me. The sexual innuendoes to child molestation was surprising, though I don’t think every reader will pick up on that or agree with me.
I hate to say this but I thought of Louis as rather a weak character. He knew what he did was wrong, what others did was wrong, but he just didn’t care. He states in the latter half of the novel that true evil is passiveness, that doing nothing to prevent something bad from happening is just as bad as doing it yourself. He’s full of pain and regret; he lacks courage and a backbone to stand up to those who control him (Lestat and Claudia). He wants love, kindness, light and answers, but he lives in blood, deceit and darkness. He never receives his true desire and I feel sorry for him, but I felt he brought this bad existence on himself.
Lestat is cruel, manipulative, ignorant, and plain vicious but, unlike Louis, he doesn’t hide his true nature or deny it which almost makes him more likable than Louis. Claudia is just like Lestat but she physically appears innocent and plays with Louis’s guilt better than Lestat ever could. The hero of this book, if you can even call Louis that, is trapped under their spell for close to a century and he finally escapes with the help of another vampire, Armand. Louis has so many questions but doesn’t ask them when he finally has the opportunity. It’s frustrating. Even with his new friend he’s not truly free because he loses himself to blandness and misery that can’t be vanquished. Louis changes so much throughout the course of the book, from a gentle, naïve man to a man full of shame who still wants to be human, to a monster who ignores his shame and regret, to a monster with questions and who tries to be human again, to a monster who finally accepts the evilness inside him, to a shell of a man who lives his life in a bubble of nothingness. It’s a sad legacy to leave behind but his story is very compelling from cover to cover.
Overall, I enjoyed this book but from now on I’ll probably just stick with the movie. Though quite a bit is lost during the translation from page to screen, I think the movie is easier to understand and it doesn’t drag in description as the book does. Hardcore Anne Rice fans may not agree with that assessment, but it’s just my humble opinion.
3 Stars   

Disclaimer – I received this book as a gift from my grandmother-in-law. I am not paid or compensated in any way, shape or form for this honest review. I will not change or alter this review for any reason unless at my discretion.

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