Books I Read: Prince Lestat
I didn’t read a lot of books last year, even if I acquired a lot. The word ‘tsundoku‘ comes to mind. So for this year I resolve to read more books–real ones and ebooks. I will try to read 2-3 books a month, in order to shrink the stack of unread books populating my book shelves. The first book I finished this year is Prince Lestat by Anne Rice. I actually got the book last November but I only got around to reading it during the holidays. I rarely buy new books these days but I can bend this self-imposed rule for Anne Rice and her vampires. I stopped reading Anne Rice after the last Vampire Chronicle book came out in 2003. I didn’t like the merging of the vampire and witches story lines and the last book felt like a dying man’s final gasp for air. I wasn’t interested in her fictional take on Jesus Christ. The same for her foray into angels and werewolves. But when Prince Lestat was announced, my attention and interest were piqued immediately. I have just finished reading it last night so my feelings about the book are still acute. This could change in the next few days, it’s possible, but here it is. Am I delighted? Yes. Am I impressed? Not really. Here’s why. The book feels like a reboot of the Vampire Chronicles. Although it doesn’t erase the things that happened in the past, the feeling I got was that the whole book was setting up a new series of books featuring vampires. The appendices alone seem to speak to a new group of (younger) readers who might be unfamiliar with the Vampire Chronicles. The plot is quite thin and predictable, moving so slowly as old and new characters enter the narrative, which makes the proceedings seem like a reunion episode of a loved but long gone TV show. Much of the action is not shown, but told from secondary sources. The embrace of the familiar dulled much of the tension caused by the antagonist. Even the deaths of beloved characters do not have the same emotional pull as the death of other characters (like Claudia) in past books. Even Lestat feels like a shadow of the vampire he used to be. He seemed to have mellowed like an ageing firebrand. It could be an intentional move by the writer and I’m uncertain where this change in character will lead to, story-wise. Also, the language is less florid, which I think fits well with the ruminations on identity, community, and responsibility–new themes which were pondered upon by the characters. There are no earth-shattering revelations here, which is probably why I wasn’t impressed with the book. The embrace of the familiar, which didn’t benefit the plot, is my source of delight. Prince Lestat is filled with characters that I’ve followed through books and years; their histories are part of my memory and this nourishes my curiosity on what their next adventures will be. Will I read the next book/s? Just the other day, I read an announcement that the next book will be called ‘Blood Paradise’. You bet I will.