The Goodreads synopsis: “The novel opens with the vampire world in crisis…vampires have been proliferating out of control; burnings have commenced all over the world, huge massacres similar to those carried out by Akasha in The Queen of the Damned… Old vampires, roused from slumber in the earth are doing the bidding of a Voice commanding that they indiscriminately burn vampire-mavericks in cities from Paris and Mumbai to Hong Kong, Kyoto, and San Francisco. As the novel moves from present-day New York and the West Coast to ancient Egypt, fourth century Carthage, 14th-century Rome, the Venice of the Renaissance, the worlds and beings of all the Vampire Chronicles—Louis de Pointe du Lac; the eternally young Armand, whose face is that of a Boticelli angel; Mekare and Maharet, Pandora and Flavius; David Talbot, vampire and ultimate fixer from the secret Talamasca; and Marius, the true Child of the Millennia; along with all the other new seductive, supernatural creatures—come together in this large, luxuriant, fiercely ambitious novel to ultimately rise up and seek out who—or what—the Voice is, and to discover the secret of what it desires and why…
And, at the book’s center, the seemingly absent, curiously missing hero-wanderer, the dazzling, dangerous rebel-outlaw—the great hope of the Undead, the dazzling Prince Lestat…”
And dazzling, he is. (As always.)
Full disclosure here: Anne Rice is my literary idol. She’s the first “grown-up” novelist I ever read, completely obliterating all of my earlier literary experience. Before a family friend lent me her copy of Interview with the Vampire, the closest I’d come to adult literature was the teenage drama of Sweet Valley High. I mean, don’t get me wrong…yay for Jessica and Elizabeth Wakefield! Team Todd! But Anne Rice introduced me to an entirely new world that I’d never before even dared to dream about. Tweens and teens these days have so many vampire series aimed at them, but they’re all child’s play compared with the canon of Anne Rice.
Prince Lestat fits in perfectly with Ms. Rice’s previous Vampire Chronicles, I’m so happy to say. This most recent novel is as deliciously, richly descriptive as its predecessors, and diving into the world of the Tribe, as the vampires have come to call themselves, felt like putting on an old favorite sweater. I’ve never physically left the North American continent, but Prince Lestat, like Ms. Rice’s earlier books, left me feeling like I should have been carrying a fully-loaded passport for all the countries and eras we traveled to. That being said, I have to admit that I haven’t read all of the Chronicles; several of the characters and backstories were unfamiliar to me, but I was able to keep up without a problem. I think that as long as you’ve read the first three Vampire Chronicles — Interview with the Vampire, The Vampire Lestat, and The Queen of the Damned — you should have a strong enough foundation in Ms. Rice’s mythology to understand what’s happening in Prince Lestat.
As to the story itself, I was initially a bit on the fence regarding whether I liked it. I found the Voice a bit irritating — why couldn’t he just come right out and tell someone what he wanted and why he was issuing these commands? — until I realized whose voice it was, which changed everything. What this has to do with Lestat and how he becomes known as the Prince, I’ll leave for you to find out. Lestat himself frequently disappeared from the early part of the book in favor of telling the stories of minor characters, and I found myself really missing him; he is, after all, the Brat Prince, the character around which the entire series revolves! Thankfully, his presence was much stronger in the back half of the book, and I’m thrilled that he’s the Prince (though I have to admit, I was pretty grossed out by the process through which he gained that power). Aside from Lestat, I mourned the lack of time we got to spend with Maharet, as she’s one of my favorite vampires, and celebrating the introduction of Seth who, as it turns out, has a very close connection to Akasha. I wonder if he’ll get his own book someday?
Overall, Prince Lestat is just what I was hoping for and pretty much everything I needed it to be. The OMG moments (all of which caused my jaw to literally drop open and Hubs to ask me what was wrong), the decadent description, the detailed conversations, the wonderfully-drawn and revisited immortals, and Lestat — oh, Lestat! — fill the pages with a story that, if you’re a fan of Anne Rice and her vampires, you just have to read! All hail Prince Lestat!