"So where is this all going?" I asked. I tried not to sound exasperated.
Answer: nowhere fast.
Every time I thought things were going to pick up and actually GO somewhere, we ended up right back in the same place. I feel like every chapter repeated the same thing, from the view of a different vampire:
1. Where are the elders? Why is everybody hiding from each other?
2. (Lestat) What is that Voice that's in my head?
3. Are we going to suddenly catch on fire?!
4. Boy, you know what was great? Those other Vampire Chronicles. They were so poetic and philosophical. They changed everything! (Yes, all the vampires talk about how awesome and beautiful the books are... which is true but also weird. It's basically like she's reminding you "HEY, remember what a great writer I was? Ignore that you're bored to death by this and remember The Vampire Lestat.")
5. Lestat is the best, Lestat is amazing, where is he?
6. I have an iPhone!
7. What is this science you speak of, for some reason I just can't understand it!
Those last two annoyed me a lot. Half the time I felt like I was in an ad for the new Apple products. The science thing was the biggest bullshit though. I mentioned this in my first post when I first started reading- for some reason, a lot of the older vampires just can not wrap their brains around modern science, and Lestat says that he would constantly "forget how to use the computer". The explanation is given early on that vampires can't retain knowledge that wasn't available for comprehension when they were made. Which is RIDICULOUS. In chapter 9, the vampire Gregory talks about being taught by another vampire, Flavius, after he was made. He teaches him about "whole histories of peoples of the Earth he'd never known or seen"... I would argue that a totally unfamiliar culture, for example Japan, would count as "knowledge that wasn't available for comprehension" for someone from Ancient Egypt. No one else in Ancient Egypt knew about the peoples of other lands, so technically he, as a vampire, shouldn't be able to retain that information. And say that counts, because it's not "new" knowledge, it's just unfamiliar. Fine. What about all the scientific advancements that have occurred since the times of Ancient Egypt? Gregory can't comprehend what gravity is, or how electric light is made? Come on.
What I will say is that there were some points in Gregory's story that gave me a little bit of hope for the rest of the novel. I liked the way he talked about anything past Ancient Egypt being so ridiculously advanced- it was a good way to remind us not to take for granted the miracles of modern life, and to Gregory "modern life" started in Ancient Rome. But I didn't want to wade through another chapter of some unfamiliar vampire's story (probably ending with 'where are the elders, I love Lestat' like all the other ones) to get to more of "What's that Voice!?" (yeah I flipped ahead a little bit).
I could get more detailed about the tiny bits here and there I liked, but they'll be countered immediately by the bits that ruined it, so screw it.
As an Anne Rice fan I'm going to say don't bother with this one. Maybe it's just bad timing and if I had more patience I would like it a little better... but I think maybe in her old age, Anne Rice has fallen victim to mediocrity. Be happy with the Vampire Chronicles you have and go pick up The Witching Hour if you haven't already.
-Sorry about spilling that truth tea,
Alright Anne Rice, I've given you almost 200 pages to hook me and I can't believe I'm saying this, but you've failed. Maybe this book will become enjoyable at some point but I don't have time to wait around and find out.
My thoughts on Prince Lestat are summed up quite well at 1:53 in this episode of Home Movies (it should link right to 1:53).
I don't know if anyone else watches Home Movies but it's one of my very favorite shows, it used to come on adult swim. I swear, this quote is the very first thing that popped into my head when thinking about this book. I'll probably do a more detailed post tomorrow, but maybe not. I already feel like I've wasted so much reading time on this thing.
It's pretty decent so far...
but I don't expect "pretty decent" from Anne Rice.
I expect to hang on every word, to soak in the decadence of her language, to lose myself in the supernatural world she reveals, to weep at the beauty of that world as Lestat himself would and I'm not weeping!
It's hard to tell how I'm going to feel about this in the end...
the first few chapters were a little bit chaotic and at times could feel a bit slow, which was in some ways perfectly understandable. There's a lot to catch up on in the world of the Vampire Chronicles. I suppose what they meant by saying it "picks up where Queen of the Damned left off" on the dust jacket is that Rice sort of just glazes over the events which occurred afterward. There are characters that I haven't read about that are briefly introduced, their long lives summarized in a few lines. Overall she did a good job with that. It's kind of a challenge to pick up the story of Lestat again after so long. Chapter 4 is where connections start being made and things start to pick up a little.
(Read the summary of the book here.)
It's decent so far, but there are a few minor things that made me go 'meh':
So we're introduced to this vampire scientist, Fareed. I guess he was a character in a later book in the Vampire Chronicles that I missed (I only read 1-5), and his story is summed up fairly well. However, completely new to this book is some very groundbreaking vampire science- for example, Fareed tells Lestat he can enable him to have sex as a vampire. That's a pretty big deal! I fully expected there to be this great moment of awe and ecstasy and it was just like
He has sex with this human female scientist as a vampire in a damn miracle of science and then is just kind of like 'yeah that was okay I guess...' I don't know, it was very out of nowhere and very... lame. Vampire sex should be like total craziness right? And in this universe it's NEVER happened before, this is the first time Lestat is hearing about this. I mean, I can see that it was just used as an example to show what Fareed is capable of, and I know Lestat had sex as a human when he did the body switching thing but still, this should have been a bigger deal. I don't know, maybe I've been watching too much True Blood.
Another note is that Lestat, David, and Jesse all state that they have trouble understanding scientific terminology and can't really wrap their minds around science. They're in awe of it. Now for Lestat, the champion of the Savage Garden, this makes sense. His entire being has always been romantic and spiritual and has revolved around an obsession with beauty. But I don't see why it should be such an alien concept for all of them. They're vampires- if they want to learn something, they can read an entire textbook about it in minutes. Why would science be any different? It's almost like Anne Rice has a hard time with science so she made them have a hard time with it too... I don't know, it just seems a little forced at times.
Also, Lestat is the Brat Prince. He's known to be charismatic and verbose and obsessed with beauty. Now, I know he changed a lot after Memnoch the Devil, but a character can be depressed and irrevocably altered without being lackluster, and so far that's exactly the word I'd use for him, which I can't believe I'm even typing. He can remember his former self but his personality is like... almost gone. When he meets up with David and Jesse to discuss the fate of vampire-kind and the ancient twins Maharet and Makare, David still chides him for being "the Brat Prince" but Lestat's "brattyness" seems watered down and almost non-existent to me. I tried to type examples but out of context their disappointing effect isn't as obvious.
Anywho, it's far too early in the book to tell if any of this is even going to matter. But posting like this is good for me- it gets me reading and writing more often.
What are you guys reading this weekend?