on 3 June 2009
First off, can I just say that I adored the Vampire Chronicles up until Blackwood Farm came out. Even the smaller, minor-character-focused books were good in their own way. I loved Interview with the Vampire, The Vampire Lestat, even Memnoch the Devil... But not this one.
* The plot. While there is some semblance of a plot in this novel, it's not really good enough to warrant a novel being written about it. Lestat is back, he has new vampire minions (who happen to be huge brats, and not in the way that Lestat was once called a brat by Marius), and the Mayfair family have brought their Taltos problems into the Vampire Chronicles. So what?
* The characters. Quinn was bearable. I read Blackwood Farm and didn't hate it completely, even though the Mayfairs were a part of it. And I even thought Mona was okay in the Mayfair series. But in this...Quinn and Mona turn into spoilt children. Mona becomes a shrieking, crying, spoilt brat, and Quinn will do anything she says. Not only that, but Lestat is virtually unrecognisable. He's turned to religion (much like Anne Rice herself) and wants to be a saint. He wants to be good. This is not Lestat. I loved Lestat as a character because of the arrogance, the good at being bad, the underneath-it-all I'm a good guy kind of thing, you know? Lestat wasn't perfect. He was a vampire, but we learnt to love him and sympathise with him. Now he wants to be human again. He wants to be a saint.
* The closure. I ask here: what closure? This is not closure. Not only does it make a mockery of all the previous vampire chronicles, but it makes a mockery of the Mayfair Trilogy as well. Tying two of your beloved series together to make a quick ending for them both is not a good idea. I was willing to give it the benefit of the doubt and bought the book anyway. I was wrong. It's not closure even in the smallest sense of the word. Where are the rest of the vampires we've come to love? Louis, Armand, Marius, Pandora, Maharet, David... What happened to Louis and David after the events of Blackwood Farm? Did Armand and Marius remain friends after the events at the end of The Vampire Armand? Do Marius and Pandora remain together after Blood & Gold? What happened to Thorne and Maharet and Mekare? None of these questions are answered. Not a single one. Not only that, but I personally thought that the Mayfair Trilogy worked well as it was, and didn't need loose ends tying up. We didn't need to know the whole tragic ending of the Taltos that got away. We didn't need to know that Rowan was tired and disillusioned and unhappy with her life (and love). It had a sort of happy ending in Taltos, and now we are left with a tragic one (in every sense of the word).
So, if you were to ask me whether I would recommend the book or not, I would have to say "NO!" Read Blackwood Farm if you really must, but just leave Blood Canticle alone. It doesn't have a plot, the characters are butchered, it DID need some serious editing (despite what Ms Rice says to the contrary, every author should have an editor - constructive cricitism helps even the most genius authors), and it did not offer closure.
End of story.
Anne Rice has written some stinkers in her time -- "Memnoch the Devil," "Servant of the Bones" and "Violin" amongst them. But for sheer disappointment, it would be hard for her to top "Blood Canticle," the not-so-grand finale of her classic Vampire Chronicles series. It wraps up both the Vampire and Witch series not with a bang, but with a slow squeaky whimper.
The book actually starts with Lestat's fantasy about being a saint. Yes, Lestat now fantasizes about being like Saint Juan Diego and chatting with the Pope. This comes out of nowhere, and is merely an opportunity for Rice to tell us that we're all stupid shallow ingrates for not liking "Memnoch the Devil."
Then we switch off to where "Blackwood Farm" ended. The dying Mona Mayfair has come to Blackwood Farm to expire, but Lestat decides to make her into a vampire because.... well, otherwise Quinn will be sad. But while she's transforming, Rowan Mayfair arrives to pick up her young cousin and Lestat has to keep her from finding out what he's done. Also, Rowan and Lestat fall in love. Seriously.
Lestat takes the two younger vampires under his wing, and shows the newly powerful Mona how to maneuver the world as a vampire. But her new life also revives Mona's interest in her old one -- specifically in the Taltos child she bore some years before, which triggered the disease that almost killed her. So the trio sets out to find out if the Taltos are still around.
I'll be frank: "Blood Canticle" reads like fanfiction. Lestat falling in True Love with Rowan Mayfair? Lestat playing vampire dad to teen vampire lovers? Lestat's obsession with sainthood? Lestat having a midlife crisis (judging from his slang)? A thriller-like expedition to find the Taltos? This whole disaster sounds like a C-grade Vampire Chronicles fanfic!
Sadly, not even Rice's trademark lush, atmospheric writing can save this hokey mess of a plot -- her prose seems limp and colorless, like a stalk of wilting celery. She also seems to be trying to wrap the whole mess up as quickly as possible, since it's basically about Lestat being told where the Taltos are and a quick trip there. It seems like she's utterly tired of the Vampire Chronicles and just wants it over and done with.
She also seems to want the vampires themselves over and done with. Pretty much no beloved character except Lestat appear -- Maharet only communicates via email, Louis and Marius are only mentioned, and Rowan appears just so she can fall in Twilight-like instant love with Lestat. The only vampires who appear other than Lestat are... well, Quinn and Mona. Whee. So happy.
And Lestat does not resemble the wild, brilliant, charming vampire that appeared in the previous books. This guy seems more like a middle-aged rich guy who's having a midlife crisis -- using slang, hanging out with the "kids," getting a crush on a random woman, getting befuddled by technology, and so on.
"Blood Canticle" is a sad, shameful ending for what was once a wonderful (or at least decent) vampire series -- a damp, sputtering creature that drifts away from its own lack of substance. Just finish the series at "Queen of the Damned."
on 20 December 2004
I've always enjoyed reading Anne Rice's books. I've never expected literary genius, but what I have wanted - and usually got - is a good storyline, fun characterisation, and some dark, sexy New Orleans atmosphere. However, in recent years Rice's books have been something of a disappointment, and this is no exception.
The characterisation of Lestat is truly bizarre. I mean, really, really bizarre. At times it was hard to read because I was thinking "this is just not Lestat!" He uses cheesy slang and was quite irritating, whilst the Lestat from earlier novels is cocky and occasionally obnoxious, but not annoying. I really think that Rice has lost touch with this character, and it would have been better for her to have had a different narrator altogether. In addition, I've never really understood why Rice presents Rowan Mayfair to be so interesting. Yes, she's a cold genius... But that's about it. I think we're meant to believe her to have lots of inner turmoil, but it isn't presented convincingly.
However, it gets more than 1 star because it does have some good points. It was nice to see the Taltos back again, as I enjoyed the Lasher novels, and the plot is fairly tight. Michael Mayfair as usual wins my sympathy, and Mona is more likeable now she's a vampire.
on 8 August 2007
I love love the vampire chronicals i wanna get that clear before i start,
but i have to say this is by far the worst thing I've read in a LONG time.
i read the bad reviews and thought i would give it a shot anyway (who cares what other people think eh?)
from start to finish nothing really happens, it follows a very linear plot with characters who have changed so dramatically since the last installments that it feels like we are reading somthing from a new author.
the love affair between Rowan and Lestat is SO forced that i was wincing in pain all the way through reading it.
Also as far as an ending is concerned as this is that "last" chronicle i was expecting somthing final, definative not an abrupt unconclusive ending that leaves more questions than it ever answered.
I'm just so disapointed that an author i respect soooo much and who's work continues to bring me many hours of happiness could write something that is below her own standards of perfection.
All i can say is i hope that Anne is inspired to write a further chronicle to redeem this unsatisfactory effort
(sooooo sorry for not posting a nice review.)
on 12 December 2004
I had read many bad reviews of Blood Canticle, but being a huge Ann Rice fan decided to buy the paperback as I thought it surely couldn't be as bad as that!
How wrong I was! This book is basically unreadable. The returning characters are behaving in un-character like ways, the plot (if there is one) is turgid and the style of writing just annoyed me. For lovers of the Vampire Chronicles, to hear Lestat say phrases like 'Yo!' and 'Cool!' just sends shivers down the spine.
This book has the feel that it has been ghost written as all of Ann Rice's usual magic is missing.
on 23 January 2005
I've read plenty of review for this book and they've all told me that it's awful. But nether the less I decided to read it despite so that I could make up my mind.
Sadly all the reviews were rite.
This story lacks a plot. I read the thing in 2 nights waiting for the plot to kick in and then the book ended.
It's an appalling mockery of the former glory reached with Interview with a Vampire, The Vampire Lestat and Queen of the Damned.
Like one of the other reviewers says - AVOID! Avoid like the plague.
on 24 January 2011
I am a fan of the original 'Interview' and 'The Vampire Lestat', which followed it. But - oh dear - Anne Rice has spent the subsequent decades since her moment of invention slowly dragging these iconic creations ever-deeper into the mire of creaky mediocrity. I'm afraid Blood Canticle is a very, very pale shadow of the greatness that was 'Interview'. Gone is the verve, the wit, the shock and the style of her writing, to be replaced with a plodding, dull, unimaginably plotless story and a protagonist who goes by the name of Lestat but who bears no relation whatsoever to the wicked, sexually ambivalent Brat Prince of 'Interview'.
It really is a dire, dire book. I could hardly bring myself to finish it. There is one enlivening set-piece in the entire dreary text - an attack by Lestat and his two vampire acolytes on a drug cartel on a small Caribbean island off the coast of Haiti - which manages to spark some interest, otherwise this is an embarrassingly trite read - as if Ms Rice has tired of her own creations and feels only contractually obliged to keep putting words to paper. There is certainly no spark of enthusiasm in the text - even Lestat narrates in a listless, barely attentive way - when he isn't - jarringly - street jiving his way through painful paragraphs of utterly pointless slang.
Lestat - that beautiful, dark-hearted blood thief, that serial breaker of mortal hearts, that fatal, ruthlessly efficient killer - deserved so much better than this sloppy end.
on 30 August 2009
I can't belive this trash was actually printed under Anne Rice's name... there is no way this was actually written by her. I wonder if she even bothered to read it before it was published..
There is no plot its just a clumsy way of getting rid of all the lose ends after Taltos and Blackwood Farm.
It brushes the Taltos firmly back under the carpet.. Lestat is a joke in this book. Someone actually modeled this Lestat after the actor in the Queen of the Damned. Rubbish version of a great book. sigh... but this book is awful.
There is none of the sense of history normal in an Anne Rice novel.. And she or the ghost writter even complain about the reception of Memnoch the Devil in the first useless chapter of this book.. I actually skipped to the next chapter rather than waste time reading through the rubbish in the first few pages.. Yeah great start.
To the publisher ... were you so desperate to print another book you didn't care what was in it... this is infantile compared to the real deal we all love..
What a con and a disappointment.
on 4 November 2003
Of course I will always love Interview with The Vampire, The Vampire Lestat and The Queen of the damned. But many Anne Rice fans agree they go down hill from there. There are certain circles that refer to the previously mentioned first three vampire chronicles as the ONLY vampire Chronicles. All the rest come off like fan fictions from some other person.
Nothing done now can change what had been. The Interview with the vampire is still the interview with the vampire. The Vampire Lestat is still The Vampire Lestat, The Queen of the damned is still The Queen of the damned. I just pretend it's 1989 and the others were not published yet. They did not happen.
Lestat, in my mind, is still a rebel, still a brat, still mischievous, still questions things, still fearless, still angst driven, still a fighter, and still perseverent. He's still riding around on his Harley, hunting down his killers and falling in love with the world. He's still an optimist (He has a pessimistic view of humanity in Blood Canticle.) He still views society today as an age of innocence and he's still my Lestat. All the rest... to me.. They're just fan fictions.
I wish Anne Rice had done a book that she once hinted about wanting to do years ago- the idea of the vampires being found out by some mortals and possibly captured and studies and then the escape... Lestat talks about this idea in The Vampire Lestat. That could have been a great novel, especially with our proud and defiant Lestat. This conformist, prude, depthless, two-dimensional Lestat would fold under that pressure but the Lestat I know would not. The first three vampire chronicles- that's my Lestat. That will always be my Lestat and no one can take that away from me.
I miss Lestat. Lestat in Blood Canticle is whining. And he's become a conformist. He's now a hard-core Catholic who questions nothing, a cold hypocrite, a misogynist, a prude, and pessimist. This is not our Lestat! Our Lestat was a brat. Our Lestat questioned things. Our Lestat was always a rebel. Changing his personality this abruptly is like saying he now has blue hair and orange eyes. The angst is gone. The fearless soul that could never be oppressed is gone. I did not love the fangs or the blonde hair. I loved his personality. I related to Lestat, not the vampire! She's forgotten who Lestat was. Lestat used to see this world as an age of secular innocence where evil doers were scarce. And now he says there are many in the cities who deserve the vampire's kiss. He's become depthless (if he had much depth to begin with.) He's become two-dimensional. He's hunting down rogues and rule breaker vampires! He is a rogue and rule breaker! I want Lestat, I don't want Angel from Buffy The Vampire Slayer!
I want Lestat the way he was meant to be. If Anne Rice needed a new character to express her obsession and new-found conformist mentality she should have used ANYONE but The Brat Prince to express it! I think this book disappointed every Anne Rice fan, everywhere, one way or another.
What happened to our man of action? Where's The James Bond of the Vampires? My God! In these later novels the character himself can't even get his own age right. He keeps saying he was twenty, he was twenty-one as a mortal when he killed the wolves so how could he appear twenty now?
I know I'm being harsh but Anne calls this maturing for Lestat. Being mature does not mean clinging desperately to something without question. Being mature does not mean becoming sexist with fashion, and seeing evil everywhere where he once was in love with the goodness in society. Lestat was a brat but he had faith in goodness. Now he doesn't seem to have that faith. His real and pure faith has been replaced by something superficial, something dark. And the restless spirit, the angst driven rebel, the one who could not be dominated... Our beloved antagonist, he's gone.... I don't know who this creature is who is narrating the story but it's not our Lestat.
I'll always love the first three vampire chronicles, Interview with The Vampire, The Vampire Lestat and The queen of the damned. By my advice to anyone just starting, don't go any further than that. Tale of the body thief is good for comic relief if you have a dark sense of humour but that's about it.
I take comfort now in the novel that I fell in love with. The Vampire Lestat.
on 3 April 2016
Ah, well......I did not lose much. I picked this up only recently because it was going for just a quid, and that was not going to break me. So why not?
I hadn't been planning to buy or read this last of the Anne Rice's Vampire Chronicle series, partly because there was an element of indulgence in one or two of her later novels that was starting to really irritate me. When you get to be as bankable as someone like Anne Rice and you know that you can be published no matter what, it seems that the leanness of plot and style may go.
Those first three novels especially.....were magnificent. They were sublime in that the prose could transport the reader to another world of heightened reality and where beauty does indeed co-exist alongside terror. Those novels introduced me to a whole new set of aesthetics and sensibilities.
But the rant at the beginning of the novel sounded a lot more like the ire of a writer who felt unappreciated than being the words of a legendary vampire character. Did Lestat always sound like this? Had I simply outgrown all this, or did he always sound this cheesy? I know the character had always been self-absorbed and vain, but this came across as a writer who has an act to grind and who is using the character as a mouthpiece for more personal agendas.
Perhaps he's having some kind of midlife crisis, I then mused. The fact that he is back at his old dark tricks and creating a new vampire even after consorting with the biggest players in the Good Book should come as no surprise to readers who had already come to love or loathe Lestat. And yet now he is paying lip service to the doings of the Pope. Then in his interactions with his new female fledgling, he comes across a whole lot more like a certain new Byronic anti-hero out of something like Fifty Shades of Grey than the disappointing mentor first so bitterly complained about in our very first introduction to him, in Interview with the Vampire.
This is a crossover novel, where Rice has her vampire characters interact with other supernatural entities. Here, there are witches and strange immortal human hybrids, when in ost of her novels, the action almost totally takes place between other vampires and mortals are almost background furniture - unless one is about to be made a vampire.
I am not sure about the wisdom of bridging these two ideas, though there was promise of this becoming something quite interesting again. Only in her first novel does Anne Rice write about how vampires might be perceived by humans and in this novel, now her vampires are set almost on a level playing field with a clan of powerful witches. Mona's quest to find out what had happened to her child does create something of a reasonable plot giving the novel some cohesion. How Lestat deals with his feelings for a mortal woman however, perhaps could be mst generously interpreted as his beginning to grow up - or ridiculously inconsistent with his character on the other.
Skip this one. A lot of her later ones are for the fans really, but readers new to Anne Rice might be a whole lot better off sticking to her earlier vampire novels.