EVERY time I finishing reading an Anne Rice vampire book, I vow it will be the last one. I will read no more.
No more the interior, existential struggles of Lestat. No more vampire soul-searching. No more loving relationships between vampires. No more descriptions of velvet and lace vampire wardrobes. No more paying for a new book filled with long-winded passages recapping past stories in The Vampire Chronicles.
Almost every time, for more than 30 years, I make the vow. No more Lestat. No more Vampire Chronicles. No more Anne Rice.
Then, every time a new Lestat book is published, that vow is broken. The book is purchased. And the vicious love-hate struggle begins again.
But not this time.
Rice’s latest Vampire Chronicles installment is Blood Communion: A Tale of Prince Lestat (Knopf; 272 pages; 2018). It is the third book since Lestat has become the ruling prince of the vampires.
Here, he faces old enemies. Allies want him to rule more harshly, to kill enemies. They whisper in his ear to remember, remember, vampires don’t want love; they want to kill. It’s in their nature.
Lestat makes compromises, but still rules the court in his own way. In a way that consolidates the vampires of the world in a welcoming fashion. In a way that the once-arrogant Lestat rules as a first among equals.
Blood Communion is only 272 pages. Much shorter than most Vampire Chronicles novels. But the book is better for it. There’s a mix of adventure, of suspense and horror, without shortchanging the personalities of any of the long-running characters.
This is a Lestat I would be happy to see and read about again. Just like my experience reading The Vampire Lestat, the second book in The Vampire Chronicles, more than 30 years ago.
But Blood Communion reads like a final volume. The book has a happily-ever-after vibe. Like it could well be the last chapter of The Vampire Chronicles.
Perhaps, Anne Rice is done. Perhaps, she’s taking a break from Lestat as she did for several years until the publication of Prince Lestat a couple of years ago.
Blood Communion is not the place for new readers to start with Lestat. A new reader should arguably start with the first book, Interview with the Vampire, but a reader could just as well start with The Vampire Lestat.
Then decide book by book if it’s worth continuing. There are some gems in the series. There are plenty of lesser works, too.
But longtime readers should find Blood Communion a reminder why thousands have returned to the series again and again. THE VALDOSTA DAILY TIMES, GA./TNS
Blood Communion costs P1,315 in hard cover and is available in leading bookstores.