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on 1 August 2003
The Vampire Lestat is not only one of the most engaging, remarkable, illuminating, and important horror novels ever written, it is a beautiful work of art that stands proudly among the ranks of what I define as great literature. The breadth and scope of this novel is almost staggering, as is the hypnotic language in which every word and phrase is uttered. Interview With the Vampire was provocative and soul-stirring, but its greatest achievement pale in comparison to the least of the many wonders worked into this second volume of Anne Rice's Vampire Chronicles.
It was the story of Claudia the vampire child that touched my heart in the first novel, although the moral and philosophical questions asked by Louis opened the door for a new kind of vampire literature. Still, Lestat hovered and brooded over every page of Interview With the Vampire, leaving nothing but unanswered questions in the wake of his coldness and sometimes pathetic manifestations. One could not help but wonder about his origins and history, the heavy weights of his mysterious life having left him little more than a husk of a vampire at the end of Louis' story. Finding out in the opening pages of The Vampire Lestat that this inscrutable wanderer is not only thriving once again but that he has in fact become a rock star seems pretty strange. Yet all things are made clear in this novel, for this is Lestat's story, and he violates every vampire law by revealing secrets beyond the ken of mortal man. Lestat wants to embrace his true nature, show the world's population that vampires live amongst them, and incite a glorious war between man and the Children of the Night.
This is much more than just Lestat's story, however. What Anne Rice has managed to do in this novel is to create a brand new history and legend of the vampire, taking this most beloved of horror themes and transcending the literature of Stoker, Le Fanu, and the greats of the past. The cold and inscrutable Lestat we saw in Interview With the Vampire is now revealed to be at one time the most human of vampires, an immortal whose love for humans exceeded even that of his creation Louis. We learn of his human childhood, his creation by the immensely old and powerful Magnus in the seventeenth century. The depth of his feelings for his mother and adolescent soul companion Nicholas are quite touching and beautiful, and we see how his first recipients of the Dark Trick come to bring him much pain and tragedy. We see his crazed outbursts and intensity of feeling revealed in the most telling of ways. We learn much more about the vampire Armand, a character I quite honestly despise for his weakness. He hides behind old traditions, betraying the very notions of his own creator Marius by embracing a pseudo-religion of evil, punishing those wretched creatures who dare disturb his antiquated way of existence. Marius, an ancient vampire of great power who links Armand and Lestat together in the most telling of ways, introduces Lestat and ourselves to the Mother and the Father, Those Who Must Be Kept, and it is through these individuals that the history of vampirism is delivered so originally and brilliantly here, drawing and touching upon ancient Egypt, religion, philosophy, and a myriad of other powerful subjects and inspirations. Through Lestat's daring and individualism, we learn much more than any other vampire teacher could tell us; he truly did have stories to tell, and now we learn why he refused to share his wisdom with Louis and Claudia.
The introduction of the Mother and the Father, Akasha and Enkil, leads us directly into the next book in the series, The Queen of the Damned, and The Vampire Lestat actually ends on a note of new beginnings potentially more powerful than anything introduced and revealed in this book's 550 pages. I find Those Who Must Be Kept absolutely fascinating, the most ancient of vampires who live lives of immobility and seeming inactivity, staring open-eyed eternally, leaving open the possibility to Lestat in particular that they can be reawakened. Yet Lestat's active plans, his flagrant announcement to the world that he is a vampire (even though mortals may believe in the image rather than the reality of what he is saying) and his daring publication of the most secret of his kind's secrets leaves one spellbound and in wonder as to how things will play out in the end. His actions are rash and dangerous, yet the exuberance he feels in doing these things brings him to life ever more fully. I could go on and on about the wonder and power of this novel, but even then I could not begin to convey the beauty and force with which Anne Rice weaves her dark wonders. Anne Rice takes us inside the hearts and minds of these vampire characters, and that is a perspective that even Bram Stoker never provided. I thought nothing could possibly surpass the dark brilliance of Dracula, but I have to say that The Vampire Lestat is the greatest vampire novel I have ever read.
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on 26 July 2017
Must be good as my son who doesn't really reads a lot is completely addicted to the series and has asked me to buy them all
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on 6 August 2001
Anyone who has read Interview with the Vampire or who saw the film knew that there was something special. Anne Rice has somehow managed to make Vampires loveable by us mere mortals. They are no longer the blood-thirsty savage killers that we always presumed them to be but elegant, civilised immortals who long for human affection as we long for immortality.
In this book you discover the true Lestat, rather then the abnoxious, uncaring brut portrayed in the first book. Here Lestat answers the questions that we desire to know like How was Lestat made? The history of Armand? Is Armand the eldest Vampire? Where do the Vampires originate from and even How was the Theatre de Vampire's formed? All these questions are tackled and a short glimpse into the after Interview with the Vampire is shown with a shocking ending that leaves you with one thought, "Where can I buy 'Queen of the Damned'?"
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on 3 December 1999
This was the first Anne Rice book I read and seeing as it was enough to drive me through reading atleast 10 more, that says something about its strength. I doubt if I'd made the mistake of reading Interview with the Vampire first, I'd have been this hooked ( the film, in this case, is actually better than the book).
The story takes you through an entire life, one spanning several centuries and numerous cultural revolutions. Such an extravagant backdrop is the only thing worthy of a larger than life and death protagonist like Lestat. He is truly driven, passionate, confounding, melodramatic but surprisingly incisive. He does the unforgivable, yet his contrition is greater than any condemnation you can give him, and so you do forgive him because you can't not. There are very few characters in English literature as charismatic as this one - with his fierce intelligence and concern for everything and nothing. Not only does he bring glamour to Vampirehood, but he makes your revere the mortal condition too. Everything sparkles - the endless cast of characters, the scenery, the concepts. It opens your mind to a whole new way of thinking, has more than enough logic to establish its own cult - if Lestat wasn't so dedicated to being damned. Only 'the Tale of the Body Thief' even comes close to reviving the same marvel with which you regard such an impossible character. Engrossing, compulsive and unforgettable.
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on 27 November 2016
WHY OH WHY is this book not available on Kindle??
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on 11 September 2004
I was lost to the *real* world when I had my head in this book.
For those of you who scoff at "supernatural" ideas, I wouldn't recommend this book to you unless you come to it with an open mind. Although I know the content isn't true, I think you would find it very difficult to lose yourself in such a story with a closed mind. And that's what the story wants, to swallow you whole, at least until you run out of pages...
I have read many books and am currently munching my way through the rest of the chronicals, and though I understand from a critic's pov this wouldn't be named one of the greatest books of all time, I still think it is :)
There are very few authors who I have read that have managed to make me feel so much compassion for a character, however Lestat (though evil) totally inspired me! The way Rice portrays him is very powerful, I challenge you not to find the "damnedest creature" lovable in some way or other.
There are lots of unexpected occurances and plot twists to keep you on your toes, and the questions left unanswered in IWTV are answered throughout.
I believe I enjoyed this slightly more (but only very slightly, I love Louis and his story too) than IWTV and I'm not so sure you need to have read Interview With The Vampire to enjoy this. Though there is a short section at the end dealing with the continuation.
Lastly I hope you will enjoy this book should you choose to read it. I recommend it 100% and am very glad I took the time to read it.
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on 20 May 2017
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on 25 May 2017
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VINE VOICEon 11 August 2010
I have just finished this book and I'll admit I skimmed the last 10 pages or so.

I loved Interview with the Vampire and couldn't wait to discover about Lestat's past and, in fairness, there are certain scenes in `The Vampire Lestat' that are utterly thrilling. However, some much happens in the book it feels almost epic, so many events and so many other vampires introduced that it's kind of hard to take in every event and every character. I loved the fact that we learn more about Armand but I must admit I really struggled to understand him. In the first book he goes to lengths to help Louis, seemingly interested in him. In the second it seems he's only ever wanted Lestat.
The writing style is very different from the first book (afterall it is written by Lestat rather than Louis) its not as poetic but it is faster paced and more exciting. I particularly loved the introduction of Akasha, she's fantastically described and I loved the whole back-story.
My biggest problem with the book would be Lestat's motivation for writing it in the first place. Also, exactly why did he decide to become a rock star? The reasons seemed abit weak and contrived to me. I've half a mind to read the next book as I want to know exactly why Akasha was still for all that time when it seemed as though she actually wanted to `live' again but I'm abit put off as I'd hate vampire novels set in contemporary time which is probably why I skimmed the end of this book.

Overall i'd say this book is a good read and its really interesting to hear Lestat's side of the story (turns out Lestat's not as 'evil' as he appeared to Louis) but its too long and certain scenes seem redundant.
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on 28 May 2012
So, I thought I'd write a little review (not sure it'll really be that?!) for The Vampire Lestat, and I'd like to subtitle it "on why we love Lestat" because while I love Anne Rice's vampiric worlds: with their history and grandeur, their philosophical questioning in the sense that we all question our existence and ponder it's ultimate meaning or meaninglessness, the sensual descriptions, the kaleidoscope of multifaceted characters and always the perpetual adventure... the thing that burns so bright that it feels as though he simply can't be contained within the pages of a novel: he is almost willing himself into existence by the power of his personality and charisma; and even in this, my favourite book, when he leaves it for Marius (who at this point seems so interesting and sympathetic a character) to tell his story: which you do want to hear and is mighty interesting, still the pages dim a little since "he" is not present. Yes, it is the fiend fatale himself: Lestat.

Perhaps, when a character affects us, it is a reflection on us too. His character aside, what Lestat wants to achieve in his existence seem to me to be two things: to be free and to be good. Who of us don't wish for these? We can surely see ourselves and our own ponderings in his existential questioning. I could have a conversation about many pages or even simple paragraphs in this book - tell you how I felt, how I related to it; talk and discuss it. In fact, I rather wish I were able to do such: but that someone was so likeminded and we'd discuss the ideas in The Vampire Lestat like Lestat and Nicki themselves as the hours flew to eternity.

I digress: I shall start by letting darling Nicki describe him (edited):

"You have a radiance in you, Lestat, and it draws everyone to you. It's there even when you're angry, or discouraged. You have a light in you that's almost blinding."

Lestat seems to me pretty much the dictionary definition of ebullience. There is a childlike joyousness to him, that no matter the despair he reaches and the depths he sinks to, seldom flees for too long. He is like a child in that he has a child's sense of wonder and fun; a child's impulsiveness and freedom and a child's tendency to seek their own happiness, yet also, at times to worry about others', and to be overwhelmed by an emotion when it happens upon them. As a child, he can be childish at times, and he can be evil too. In fact, while he tries to be good, there are times when he revels in evil things as a libertine. Obviously, he is also all too aware of the issues arising in his attempt at "goodness". He will try to feed on the evil doer, but then, thinking more deeply: what right has he to even take that life, so why not might he just as well strike down anyone? And as he does so like to remind us, Lestat can be very good at being bad. "He knows no limit and so he has no limit." Lestat can be over the top, and yet when he is such, he is so effusively so that you go there with him.

In any case, unlike a child, Lestat has the capacity to articulate himself and reason his thoughts like a man. What does anyone wish for but to be a little more free? He himself may not always feel it, but perhaps Lestat, for us is what freedom might be. He'd probably like me to point out that he's a rather handsome devil, to boot, but ultimately I think Lestat is so compelling not because we desire him, but because we wish we could be a little more like him: to shine with his light, and to possess just a smidgeon of his spirit.

Why else the novel works for me is the way it touches on our own contemplations: not directly - when this happens in a book and it's too close to an experience we've had ourselves in fact in my experience such a thing can sometimes grate in an irritating way. But this, in it's abstraction enables you to relate indirectly. As an example personal to me, which may not ring true to others, but heightens the impact of this fantasy creation to touch on personal feelings and experiences (to me anyway); a scene comes to mind here where Lestat is at a ball, following the loss in a way of his friend Nicholas. Amidst the spectacle, Lestat suddenly sees everyone in the room as skulls and bones and death in their mortality. While (sadly? ;)... Or not?!) I am not immortal, it reminded me when I'd just lost my Father, and for the longest time, when I'd sit on a train or amongst a crowd of people, where in the past I might have wondered about their lives: now I saw in them only weariness: only their fragility and how quickly their lives could potentially be snuffed out. It used to unnerve me. But maybe such feelings are not uncommon. Perhaps, we just mostly choose not to see or think about these things? After all, you only have to look back at photographs of those closest to you. As you see them all the time, you don't think of how they change or age. It's only in retrospect. But to be truly immortal amidst this mortality and thus outside of it, how could it not be a thing you'd be confronted with all the time? And how also could it not be a terrifying thing. After all we are all sentient beings. The human may be transient in years, but in thought and feeling; in knowledge and intellect they can be the vampire's equal. And yet not only will they die, but the immortal may cause it and in fact must, to survive.

Back to the novel itself. I love all of the characters: Gabrielle, Armand, Marius, Magnus and of course Nicki: all of whom are fleshed out, psychologically interesting and have their combination of damning flaws and heartrending vulnerability to draw us to them. In fact, it is saying something that Lestat still shines like a beacon amongst these numerous interesting creations. Personally I have a special place in my heart for Nicki: one who has a more complex relationship with Lestat than even Lestat would have imagined, and whom Lestat loved, yet never would understand. Perhaps for me it is this relationship that spans the time from Lestat's mortal life, throughout the novel that creates the emotional core for the book and is one of the reasons this is my favourite? And if I have spoken of Lestat's light then it is this that counters the darkness in the novel.

In terms of it's place in vampire fiction, there is much that could be said which is all surely better to discover for yourself. I love how Anne Rice's vampires are both human in soul, yet also utterly monstrous. There is no vampire in these books anyone in their right mind should really want to encounter on a dark street... although at the same time the allure of each and every one is such that you equally wish it could happen. And therein lies these creatures' romance. Alluring in their sensuality and in their position outside of our world: on the fringes, yet skimming it. Each creature has strengths and flaws and these are defined by their personality, their experiences in life (and beyond!) and by the time in which they were born: which is another thing to note. When we think of immortality (if we ever do!) obviously, we think of the sadness to outlive everyone we ever loved. In fact, I suppose to some degree we experience this in life, and so it is easy to imagine in hypothetical immortality. The Vampire Lestat really makes you think, not just about personal losses though, but about how it would be to exist in a world which is ever changing. Even in our own short lives things change rapidly, and to think of a world in which you are essentially outside of time to the extent that it would be easy to fall away from any knowledge of current culture or society is but another example of the way he novel makes you reflect on the world in general. The novel makes it easy to imagine why only very few creatures could bear immortality. But I shan't dwell here, for I wished really to attend to that "murdering monster who is filled with light" and I suppose I have said enough on him!!

Perhaps I'll end with a quote from Marius which I feel relates to possibly why this novel touches us:

"..Human imagination is a secret place of primitive memories and unconfessed desires. The mind of each man is a Savage Garden, to use your phrase, in which all manner of creatures rise and fall, and anthems are sung and things imagined that must finally be condemned and disavowed.

"Yet men love us when they come to know us. They love us even now. The Paris crowds love what they see on the stage of the Theater of the Vampires. And those who have seen your like walking through the ballrooms of the world, the pale and deadly lord in the velvet cloak, have worshiped in their own way at your feet.

"They thrill at the possibility of immortality, at the possibility that a grand and beautiful being could be utterly evil, that he could feel and know all things yet choose willfully to feed his dark appetite. Maybe they wish they could be that lusciously evil creature. How simple it all seems. And it is the simplicity of it that they want."
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