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It had been a while since I had dove in with the Anne Rice vampire series which was one of my favorite series over the past few decades since I first read Interview with the Vampire and The Vampire Lestat as a teenager in the late 80’s and early 90’s.
I have been an avid admirer of her works and more importantly her incredibly creative set of structure and rules on vampires, their creation and definition on their abilities and how they were acquired both by age, gaining power by sharing the blood of elder vampires or simply being brought into the blood by an elder Vampire which could give a fledgling powers far beyond those they should have for their years.
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I am an avid audiobook lover and most of my books I listen to lately on long car rides or plane flights when I am flying, so Prince Lestat which is Anne Rice’s most recent novel about the famous Brat Prince was one I listened to and my review will be not just about the material but how it was presented audibly to me. I did purchase the book on Audible which is a service that I tried for the first time with the purchase of this book and I have to say I am quite happy with the service, particularly in that you can download the books and listen to them offline without having to maintain an Internet connection just to listen to your audiobooks, but also the pause, rewind and continue features are excellent and adapt well to picking up where you left off, or just going back a little bit to catch up and remember where you left off.
In Prince Lestat you find yourself divided between the points of view of multiple different vampires throughout the book as each one has their own take and perception on a new and growing threat that is facing them all. The threat comes in the form of “The Voice” which is heard by the most powerful vampires first and eventually starts driving those who were brought into the blood to slay each other, particularly reducing the vampires who are younger. This threat is far greater than Akasha was to the vampires of the modern world and we learn a lot on the origins of vampires, who the voice is and where the vampires are heading as a “tribe” throughout the course of the book. The book is simply brilliant, from Lestat doing his while dreary moping in the shadows trying to find a reason to exist and continue to him taunting, mocking the voice and other vampires all looking for him to become their leader which is a title he never wanted from the start.
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You are introduced to the more powerful vampires and the originals created in the first years and the conflict between vampires is palpable, you feel their misery over the centuries, feel the struggle and conflict within each one drawn into this tale and the weaving of spirits and the Talamasca into the works is done very well. I cared about each and every one of them, their world and the struggles and the whole concept of how the undead seek purpose, love, art, beauty, redemption each one with their own struggle as an immortal is so compelling to me that I had trouble stopping the audiobook when I had arrived at my destinations.
Simon Vance is the narrator and does a great job voicing Lestat and the other vampires from their perspectives, I found his voice full of proper inflection with compelling under and overtones with the content and again I was really enthralled from start to finish. If you are a fan of the Anne Rice Vampire Chronicles this book will not disappoint, whether you want glimpses of Armand, Marius, Pandora, Louie or many of the other vampires introduced over the various volumes you pretty much have moments in which you are with your favorite characters from time to time. The final scenes and showdown was among the most tense and exciting as any book I have ever read or listened to and Lestat himself who was always one of the most compelling anti-hero characters rises to the top as one of my all time favorites once again in this book. Though on a personal note, for me when I visualize Lestat I forever picture him looking like Tom Cruise in the movie Interview with the Vampire even though I know his appearance was inspired by Rutger Hauer and Bon Jovi when Anne Rice wrote the character.
For me the Vampire Chronicles and Prince Lestat especially gives true depth to vampires not as undead monsters that just prey and feed on human beings but what challenges, thoughts and implications there would be for a creature to have true immortality and the affliction that they must drink blood to continue their existence and keep up their strength as well as rest when sunlight rises on the world. For those who don’t know me that well, in my Dungeons and Dragons world I had based an entire character class to the principles and foundation of the Anne Rice vampire ethos and powers chart, and even Lestat in my gaming worlds was the god of mischief much like a Loki god equivalent in my worlds.
I follow Anne Rice on Facebook and see how Prince Lestat ends with it being a setup for another novel coming and so look forward to continuing the adventure and the journey. Seriously I could go into 5000 words worth of spoilers, I cannot express to you enough how much of a fan I am of the series and the Prince Lestat book. For those who thought previous Anne Rice vampire novels were a little to graphic I will say this one tones down the intimacy between vampires much more than previous novels and is a much easier and more fluid read if you had any particular issues or dislike about those elements of previous books. While it still maintains the core passion and affection that vampires have when embraced sharing in the blood, it is just graphically tone down to be a bit less explicit than some of her former works.
For me Prince Lestat is 5 out of 5 stars and is a highly recommended read or “listen” if you enjoy audiobooks as much as I do.
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