Book Review: The Vampire Lestat by Anne Rice (Series, #2)
Lestat, the maker of Louis and Claudia, takes center stage here to tell his own origin story, as well as explain why he has chosen to come out as a vampire rock star in the 1980s. Starting with his beginnings as a rural member of the ruling class prior to the French Revolution, we discover the origins of the Vampire Theater, as well as the origins of vampires themselves.
The Vampire Lestat is an excellent example of an incredibly well-executed character study. Although we learn things about vampires and their origins, the real crux of the story is who Lestat is. Why he acts the way he acts. How his innate personality affects his life and the lives of those around him. We see how over the course of time he may adapt to new ages and customs, but he is still Lestat. What makes him who he is does not change in spite of all his experiences. This doesn’t mean he doesn’t learn anything, but instead it simply means he is who he is. It is a remarkable example of how people are simply who they are.
Lestat is much more sympathetic a character than Louis. Whereas Louis mostly sits around pouting about what happens to him, Lestat is a fighter.
I never despair! Others do that, not me. I go on fighting no matter what happens. Always. (page 199)
He’s more than a fighter though; he’s also desperate for love. He did not choose to become a vampire. It happened to him, and now he is conflicted as to how to find love when he is essentially a monster.
You sense…my bitterness that I’m evil, that I don’t deserve to be loved and yet I need love hungrily. (page 355)
What truly makes Lestat Lestat though is his impulsivity. Lestat just does things because they feel like something he absolutely must do. He does not concern himself with consequences; he simply acts. This makes those vampires who love him simultaneously frustrated and amazed. They love him for his lack of restraint, but they also worry for him and themselves.
Beyond the great example of studying a character at length, though, Rice’s writing is simply beautiful to read. There as an elegance and a flow to it that pairs up perfectly with the story of a centuries old rock star vampire. I actually read about three pages aloud on skype to a friend simply to revel in how beautiful the language is. For example:
Laughter. That insane music. That din, that dissonance, that never ending shrill articulation of the meaninglessness. (page 358)
This is the type of writing that is a pleasure to read. It feels like treating yourself to a glass of fine wine for your brain. I highly recommend it to all. You do not have to be a fan of vampires to appreciate the language and rich character study it contains.
5 out of 5 stars
Previous Books in Series:
Interview with the Vampire, review