Prince Lestat is Anne Rice’s conclusion to her epic saga The Vampire Chronicles. For those of you unfamiliar with it, Ms. Rice’s Children of the Night were the original blood-sucking monsters that haunted our dreams. And they’re not for the faint of heart.
True Blood‘s human-loving vampires are tame by comparison (never mention Twilight‘s sun-sparkling fairies). This is the original modern vampire, and the first three books of the saga are the stuff of legend. Interview with a Vampire, The Vampire Lestat, and The Queen of the Damned are easily the three best books of the series, and horror has never been more elegant, awful or downright intoxicating.
The combination of evil and beauty is at the heart of Rice’s star character, Lestat. Rebellious, willful, with indomitable emotions and passions of epic proportions; he’s the type that fights a pack of wolves during the middle of winter and lives to tell the tale. A man to contend with, and he gets even worse (better?) as a vampire.
Because Lestat isn’t truly evil, he’s just really selfish. He is also a lover of beauty in all its expressions, and his philosophy of life (what he calls The Savage Garden) contemplates evil as a natural necessity of nature. He views aesthetic values as the only true values of the world. However, this changes, and and slowly, very slowly throughout the saga, he learns how to love.
And Prince Lestat is the conclusion of this character’s arc. From willful and even savage, he becomes the Prince of his people. Through love, through understanding. That’s what this book is all about.
And I applaud Ms. Rice for that. She’s brave to conclude the arc on a positive note. The last time I saw Lestat, he was comatose after going down to hell with the demon Memnoch a la Danté Aligieri (book 5), completely stricken with the truth he found there. It’s nice to know he was destined for far bigger things.
And yet, the book felt tame. There was a-lot of dialogue, a-lot of reflecting, too many secondary and even unimportant characters, and not enough Lestat. He carried the book, of course, but it would’ve been nice to see him more in action. But I guess that this being the last book in a 40 year interim, it makes sense that it ends on a much more reflective, even philosophical note, than its dyonisiac and intoxicating beginnings.
Would I recommend this book to readers unfamiliar with the series?
Absolutely not. It will bore you.
Do I recommend readers start this series at the beginning?
Yes. 100% yes. Do it now, you won’t regret it.