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4.4 out of 5 stars
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on 13 March 2017
Book arrived in good condition, but minus the cover. I am looking forward to reading it though.
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on 12 May 2012
THE WITCHING HOUR is a long book. When you open it, you wonder how you will ever reach the end. However I would definitely not let a little thing like that put you off.
Yes, the book does meander. There is a leisurely, atmospheric introduction before we are introduced to the main characters. A good 200-300 pages in the middle contains a potted history of the Mayfair family. Such abrupt shifts of focus seem jarring at times, as if the author is finding her way. Yet it is precisely in these passages that some of her most brilliant writing occurs.
As a fan of the Vampire Chronicles, I have always thought that Rice is at her best when evoking Gothic historical scenes of high melodrama. However this book showcases some of her other talents. The lengthy passage which introduces Michael Curry is simply incredible. It manages to sum up the entire life of one man - an extraordinary feat of the imagination. The central story of epic history of the Mayfair Witches with its Faulkner-esque intrigues and incestuousness was also spellbinding. These instances of world-building were for me, the highlights of the book.
The sheer quality of Rice's writing shines throughout. The description of the New Orleans Garden Distict is striking in its detail. Her ability to handle so many characters, each one utterly credible, creates a rich world filled with believable people. The gathering of the Mayfair clan was a standout example of realistic writing.
If the book has a weakness, it's that some of the modern-day scenes early on seem a little hard to swallow, especially the dialogue. When a rich neurosurgeon meets a rich propery developer we would be forgiven for wondering if we have strayed into some TV soap opera. Also, sometimes the erotic passages went a little too far for me. But that's just my own personal taste.
However when the plot finally asserts itself in the final third of the book, it comes with a vengeance, and the book becomes a relentless steamroller of horror. We are treated to one shattering revelation after another. The plot twists come thick and fast - keeping this particular reader to the edge of his seat - until the devastating finale.
One of the most impressive things about THE WITCHING HOUR is Rice's refusal to offer any easy answers on the question of good and evil. The way in which the entity (for want of a better word) in the story justifies itself to the heroine is presented in a chilling, utterly believable light. Make no bones about it, this is a horror story of the highest order. Michael's love of Great Expectations was an irony that was not lost upon me.
In all, I would say this is a very entertaining and thoughtful read that passes swiftly. It is one of the best modern horror novels I have read in a long time. Rice has succeeded in creating a new mythology to rival her vampire lore, and I am sure it will continue to attract many new readers.
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I loved the Vampires (at least up to Body Thief) and adored the Mummy, but I think Witching Hour is her best. The HUGE book is absolutely compelling from beginning to end. The Book moves from Modern day story of a young woman, the end product of centuries of witches that are under control of "the Man" called Lasher( because he could make the trees lash when he was angry) into the past of her ancestors. Each generation of the "Mayfair Witches" there was a chosen female that 'inherited' the man, and he brought power, he brought madness.
The book leisurely details the woman's modern day life, returning to New Orleans for the funeral of her mother, the base of the family of witches male and female, and comes to terms with her heritage, Lasher and a destiny plotted for her leading to a horrific coming: bring Lasher into this world. We see a lot of the tale through the eyes of the people around this family, as the agent for the Talamasca (seen in the Vampire Cycle), the watchers and recorders of witches and vampires, collect the tales on the family.
It is a leisurely paced book, that brings one into mind of New Orleans' slower pace, but it's spellbinding, haunting, deceptively mesmerising. When she moves the tale of the Mayfair witches into the past and traces each generation of witch from early Scotland on, she is breathtaking. Rice uses ancient Scots lore and gives it a new life in her evocative, provoking tale that will keep you hypnotised as few works do.
Don't think she was better before or since. It's simply a master piece. Followed up with Lasher, Taltos and Merrick.
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on 13 September 2002
This is a wonderful book. The depth and richness that Anne Rice places into the narrative are amazing. You can almost see, touch and smell New Orleans.
The book within a book concept that is used within the novel to detail the lure of the Mayfair family with the spirit that gives them their witchcraft is wonderful showing with great care the advantages and disasters this brings to each generation of the family.
In my honest opinion this and the follow up books in the trilogy are better then the vampire books that I am also a fan of.
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on 3 July 2006
I have always been a fan of Anne Rice so when I was told that this was a good read I said I would give it a go.
It is about a family of witches, The Mayfair Witches, and I never thought that I would never like it as much as the Vampire Chronicles but I was wrong!! It kept me engrossed from start to finish, the only bad thing I could say about this book is that even though I kept reading and reading I thought that I would never get to the end (its got over a thousand pages!) That being said I really did not want the end to come. I loved it so much that the day after I had finished it I went straight online and ordered the next 2 books in the series - Lasher and Taltos.
If you like Anne Rice then I can safely say that you will really enjoy this book, it is everything I expect from her!
Again it is a brilliant book if I could have given it more then 5 stars I would have!
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on 5 March 2015
This has to be one of the best classics I have every read .... read it 4 times I loved it so much ...
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on 16 March 2000
This book was looooong and it took me an age to read, but it was worth it. I love Anne Rice's books and have read all I can lay my hands on. This one is so detailed, i could play it like a film in my head and see everything so clearly, nothing was left to the imagination to make up. The Mayfair family and Lasher, the witch loving ghost are still haunting me and are insisting I read 'Lasher' as soon as I can.
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on 13 November 2013
When I took this book in my hands, I thought "1207 pages? I will never read it!". But my wish to read it was stronger than number of pages. These pages melted in hours of my reading. I was too fascinated to count pages. I wanted just to know "What's next?".

First of all, The character Deirdre shocked me. Really. My name is Deira, so these few letters in her name made me read even faster to know her life story. As this amazing story went on, I stopped at scene with Antha and read it twice, no, maybe 10 times till I memorized her words that fit 100% to myself: "You, know, the only thing I can be is a writer. I'm absolutely unprepared for anything else. When you've lived the kind of life I have, you are good for nothing. Only writing can save you." These words that made my heart race fast. It seems like Anne Rice took them from my head. From now on if somebody will tell I'm good for nothing, I will quote this, because I can only write, the only thing I do really good.

Next character that stuck in my head was Stella. I don't know why, but I named my second cat Stella. I simply liked the way Stella saw life. Pleasure and parties. That girl lived interesting life at least...

And my most favorite character of this book of course is.... JULIEN. Can I say he remind me of Lestat? Yes, he did. So, I think I don't need to explain why I like this character so much.

As for Rowan and Michael.... After "Blood Canticle" I didn't like Rowan at all. Now in this book, I changed my opinion, because I understood her life.

And for conclusion, I must say this book was really good. It inspired me from first pages. I don't know how this feeling is called when you read a story about old ages and you feel...something...something like..nostalgia. When I read Anne Rice books I have this feeling, it makes me so calm, warm, sad and happy at once. I completely drown in her books and forget how much time it is, or if I'm hungry or need to go to sleep. In every of her books I ever read is this THING that makes me hypnotized. No other books I ever read had any of such magic as Anne Rice writes. Every book of hers I take, I know it will drown me for hours in this weird feeling. I loved this book as I loved all her books and I will start "Lasher" to get this feeling back, it's like a drug.
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on 5 June 2010
We watch and we are always here'' is the motto of the Talamasca, a saintly group with extrasensory powers which has for centuries chronicled the lives of the Mayfairs--a dynasty of witches that brought down a shower of flames in 17th-century Scotland, fled to the plantations of Haiti and on to the New World, where they settled in the haunted city of New Orleans. Rice ( The Queen of the Damned ) plumbs a rich vein of witchcraft lore, conjuring in her overheated, florid prose the decayed antebellum mansion where incest rules, dolls are made of human bone and hair, and violent storms sweep the skies each time a witch dies and the power passes on. Newly annointed is Rowan Mayfair, a brilliant California neurosurgeon kept in ignorance of her heritage by her adoptive parents. She returns to the fold after bringing back Michael Curry from the dead; he, too, has unwanted extrasensory gifts and, like Rowan and the 12 Mayfairs before her, has beheld Lasher: devil, seducer, spirit. Now Lasher wants to come through to this world forever and Rowan is the Mayfair who can open the door. This massive tome repeatedly slows, then speeds when Rice casts off the Talamasca's pretentious, scholarly tones and goes for the jugular with morbid delights, sexually charged passages and wicked, wild tragedy.
*****Rate this 5/5 and would score higher! I loved this book! Even though it was almost a thousand pages, it captures you at the first page and doesn't let go
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I found it a little slow to get into at first but after that I was hooked! Having read the book, I now have the desire to visit New Orleans and I could almost believe that the characters were real. I've ordered the next book in the series- "Lasher" and can't wait to dive in!You'd be mad not to read this book!
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