Tag Archives: Prince Lestat

Anne Rice’s “Blood Communion” Ties Up Loose Ends and Ultimately Defines Lestat’s Role

Blood Communion is the fifteenth book in Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles series. By this point in the series, Lestat has been proclaimed prince of the vampires and established a court in his father’s chateau in France. Most of the vampires are delighted by this situation and they come to pay him homage and even to live at court, but there are still a few renegade vampires who want nothing to do with the court.

Blood Communion – a fitting end to the Vampire Chronicles, if it is the end.

The book begins with Lestat saying he is writing to the Blood Communion—the communion of blood drinkers. He reminds us that he wrote his previous books to document his and the other vampires’ stories, and also he writes again now because many vampire fledglings were not even born when he wrote his first books. As I read this, I thought how this book might be called The Gospel of Lestat because he is writing down his life story of how he has basically saved the vampires, all the years that he preserved Amel being included in them, Amel being the life source creature that allowed the blood drinkers to exist and which was present in Lestat for a while until it received its own body.

Blood Communion continually repeats what has happened in previous books to remind the reader of past events, but frankly, by this point, so many vampires are in the storyline that many of them I couldn’t remember at all. The number of characters and references to past events has become overwhelming, and I feel like the book needs a character list. Maybe an entire Who’s Who in the Vampire Chronicles volume is needed now.

The book is only 256 pages, and there are even a few pictures that take up some of that space. It is perhaps the shortest of the Vampire Chronicles, and not a lot happens in it, especially if one were to weed out all the flowery descriptive language Rice uses.

The only real plot is that the vampire Roshamandes is threatening the Court and the vampires want Lestat to destroy him. Before Lestat can act, Roshamandes attacks and kidnaps three vampires whom it is believed he kills. To make peace, Lestat agrees to be captured by Roshamandes (Spoiler Alert here). Lestat goes with Roshamandes, but before Roshamandes can hurt him, Lestat manages to fight him, eats his eyes, and destroys him with fire. The book goes on for another hundred pages after this, but that is the only moment of real action in it.

The remainder of the book is about preparing for a great ball that takes place in which the vampires come to pay Lestat homage, kissing his ring which depicts Medusa’s head on it. (Why a Medusa ring I don’t know. The symbolism, if any, was lost on me.)

At the end, the main purpose is summed up in Marius praising Lestat for giving his life for the Court by sacrificing himself in his battle with Roshamandes. The sense here is that Lestat is a type of Christ figure, willing to give his life for his friends. Now that the threats to the Court have been destroyed, Lestat has allowed his tribe to put aside hate and embrace each other. This reads like Lestat has conquered sin and allowed love to come into the world. Consequently, it is not surprising that Lestat is writing this book—it is his gospel about how all vampires can live in harmony—his preaching of love just as Christ preached love.

I admit the book falls a bit flat in its lack of any real storyline, but the depiction of Lestat as a Christ figure (Rice never comes right out and says Lestat is the Christ figure of the vampires, although it’s implied) is in keeping with Rice’s previous books. Its emphasis makes one feel like the story has finally come to a conclusion with peace and harmony among all the vampires. That said, Rice has not officially said this will be the last book, and knowing her, she will come up with more, but Blood Communion would work as a good finale to the series, which has, frankly, gone on long enough.

___________________________________________________

Tyler Tichelaar, PhD, is the author of King Arthur’s Children: A Study in Fiction and Tradition, The Gothic Wanderer: From Transgression to Redemption, The Children of Arthur novel series, and Haunted Marquette: Ghost Stories from the Queen City. Visit Tyler at www.ChildrenofArthur.com and www.GothicWanderer.com.

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Contemporary Gothic Novels

Prince Lestat: A Review of Anne Rice’s Return to Her Vampire Roots

I was absolutely delighted when I heard that Anne Rice would be publishing a new book in her vampire series. I admit I was greatly disappointed by the Christ the Lord and Songs of the Seraphim books, but The Wolf Gift and its sequel gave me new hope, so what could be better than a new vampire novel?

Anne Rice returns to her vampire roots with her newly published novel "Prince Lestat"

Anne Rice returns to her vampire roots with her newly published novel “Prince Lestat”

And when I read the description of Prince Lestat, it sounded even better than all the more recent books in The Vampire Chronicles, because let’s face it, the series went downhill after Queen of the Damned, but Rice decided in this new book to go back to the themes in Queen of the Damned and expand upon them. Anyone who read Queen of the Damned will remember Akasha, who called herself The Queen of Heaven and really was the first vampire. She went on a rampage in that novel to kill all the other vampires until the vampires all had a showdown, resulting in Akasha’s death and the demon inside her, named Amel, being transported into the vampire Mekare. Now in Prince Lestat, it is time for that demon to awaken after years of lying dormant inside Mekare.

Let me state here that I am going to give away some of the plot, so you may not want to read further if you haven’t yet read the novel.

The novel begins with Lestat hearing the Voice, a mysterious voice in his head that he soon learns is being heard by many other vampires. At first, no one is sure who or what this voice is, but in time, it becomes apparent it is the voice of Amel, the being trapped inside Mekare and previously inside Akasha, who is responsible for the Dark Gift and creation of the vampires. Amel now says he is miserable and cannot experience the world well from being trapped inside Mekare. He is seeking for a new vampire to live inside.

Before that issue is resolved, a few other surprises occur in the novel. Lestat meets Fareed, a doctor turned vampire, who is doing tests on vampires. Among those tests is trying to determine just what the differences are that make vampires and also whether they can breed—Rice’s vampires are almost all homosexual, but Lestat ends up fathering a child with a mortal woman here. Not until later does he learn, however, that he now has a human son named Viktor. We also learn about the origins of the Talamasca, the secret society that studies supernatural beings and has been featured in several of the novels, both The Vampire Chronicles and The Mayfair Witches series.

The novel moves along well through the first part of roughly seventy-five pages, but the second part, which continues past the three-hundred page mark, quickly starts to bog down the book. We are shown one vampire after another being contacted by the Voice. The Voice tries to play mind games with the vampires, seeking one of them to free him from Mekare. Finally, one vampire, Rhosh, succumbs to his desires and goes to the compound where Mekare and her sister Maharet and their companion Khayman live. Rhosh kills Maharet and Khayman, but he is so horrified by what he has done that Mekare gets away from him.

In the end, the other vampires confront Rhosh. However, even though he is basically defeated, they realize the Voice will rise again and seek to influence someone else. Lestat finally agrees to take the spirit of Amel into him and Mekare agrees to his doing so. Some reviewers at Amazon have said the ending is weird, and it is since Lestat basically has to remove Mekare’s eye and suck out Amel, as if eating her brain. But weird or not, I’m sure Rice knows it goes back to ancient rituals and beliefs that eating someone else’s heart or brain allows you to gain that person’s courage or wisdom. I’m sure it’s intended then to be symbolic in a way.

What also is interesting is that when Lestat consumes Amel, he basically becomes the protector of the life force of all the vampires. For that reason, he is named Prince Lestat. By now, the vampires have all come together, realizing they must work together to protect themselves, and so a sort of vampire government is formed—a type of benevolent elected monarchy with Lestat as the leader. I suspect this move in the novel is a sign that this book will definitely be the last vampire novel because it brings us full circle to answer the very questions Louis first asked in Interview with the Vampire when he became a vampire—not only as to the origins of vampires, but whether there are other vampires—now there are no more questions. All the vampires know one another and are organized. I suspect it’s equally intentional that the novel ends depicting Louis thinking about Lestat as his beloved prince whom he will soon be with—also ending the feud that began between them in Interview with the Vampire—and although they have gotten along better since then, now it’s as if their relationship is complete and resolved.

Is Prince Lestat Rice’s best novel? No, it is a bit too marked by her flowery, lush style that at times enchants but also allows her to go on and on at times with the characters repeating themselves or in this case each other since we are given far more points of view from different vampires than we need—in fact, this novel could easily have been a third if not half as long as its 451 pages. It also is lacking in action, although there are two or three stunning moments of action at key moments, such as when Rhosh kills Maharet and Khayman. I would rank it after the first three novels in the series and maybe also after Blood and Gold, but at least, it feels like a more complete end to the series than Blood Canticle was.

Whatever this book’s faults, I enjoyed visiting with my old vampire “friends” again, and I am glad Rice continues to write. I most appreciate her for how she writes within a Gothic tradition. She always does her homework and her novels are filled with references that make it clear she knows her vampire, werewolf, and supernatural novel history, unlike Stephenie Myers who, I believe falsely, claims she knew nothing about vampires before writing the Twilight series. For that reason, I kind of hope Rice writes more werewolf novels—I think it’s time to let the vampires rest.

_______________________________________________________

Tyler Tichelaar, Ph.D., is the author of King Arthur’s Children: A Study in Fiction and Tradition, The Gothic Wanderer: From Transgression to Redemption, and The Children of Arthur novel series. Visit Tyler at www.ChildrenofArthur.com and www.GothicWanderer.com

Leave a comment

Filed under Contemporary Gothic Novels