It’s been some time since we last saw Lestat, acting strangely unlike himself in Blood Canticle (as if Lestat would ever say cool or dude. Although she wouldn’t say that either, I’m laying the blame for this solely at the door of the infinitely dislikeable Rowan Mayfair, who also unfortunately starred in that outing). It pleases me to say that not only is Lestat back, but this time it really is the Lestat we know and love, in all his lion-maned, arrogant and lace bedecked glory. And Rowan’s not even mentioned.
Catching up with not just my beloved but a host of other vampires besides, Prince Lestat finds the vampire world in an uproar – a mysterious voice is goading vampires into destroying one another and the Sacred Core, which animates all vampires and currently resides in the brain of the ancient and mute Mekare, is under threat. The vampires need a leader to take control – now who might that leader be, I wonder?
After the last few books in the Vampire Chronicles and the lacklustre second outing in the Wolf Gift Chronicles, I must admit I was a little nervous about this one, which is probably why I put off reading it for so long. Happily, I needn’t have worried. Aside from enjoying Lestat as much as I ever have, I also enjoyed the fleshing out of the pasts of some of the unnamed vampires from previous entries which brought to the fore Anne’s skill at embedding a sense of history in her characters – even if I couldn’t help but snigger every time one of them waxed poetic about how wonderfully complex and profound they found the previous Vampire Chronicles (which exist in this world as they were all ‘written’ by our vampires) and if the central mysteries (who is The Voice, and who started the Talamasca) were easily solved, I still found them satisfying.
The only minus for me was the story of Rose and Viktor, which didn’t really add anything new (she’s such a beautiful, delicate, battered flower and he’s….well, he’s really pretty too) other than giving Anne an option for a new series starring Lestat v2. Not that I wouldn’t read the shit out of that too, but for now they simply felt superfluous.
If you’re new to the world of the Vampire Chronicles, I really wouldn’t recommend starting here (although handy previouslies are provided throughout the text, you’d still be missing out on a lot of the backstories to these characters, as well as the two best books in the series) but if you’re a long-time fan, you’ll eat Lestat’s story up with a spoon.