Interview with the Vampire

Dandy as a God. Or a Psychopath.

(SPOILERS Through AHS Freakshow S4E9)

 

Dandy thinks he’s a god.  Though his mother may have treated him like a child, he’s nobody’s fool.  He is intelligent, which makes him even more dangerous.

Do you remember the vampire child Claudia from Anne Rice’s Interview with the Vampire?  What made her a terrifying character was that she was a “fierce killer, now capable of the ruthless pursuit of blood with all a child’s demanding.” (quote from Louis, in the film version of the movie)

Dandy believes that he is above the law and he tells Regina as much.  Though he gives her a chance to live, he also carefully manipulates circumstances to lead to her death as well.  He knew that things could go either way with the police officer.  He essentially confessed to the murders outright.  But he also knew that the cop could be bought…and so he paid the price and the cop killed Regina, leaving Dandy’s hands clean.

Compared to Twisty, Dandy is a psychopath.  I’m continually amazed at how many people actually became emotional when they learned about Twisty’s bleak past.  No one has the same sympathy for Dandy, which makes watching him quite entertaining.

Dandy is not a god.  He’s a psychopath who bathes in blood (a la Elizabeth Bathory, though their motivation is much different).  He’s dangerous because he has means; he is incredibly handsome, he has tons of money, his name gives him influence…and he doesn’t give a shit about anything or anyone but himself.

One thing is absolutely certain: Finn Wittrock does a fantastic job bringing depth to Dandy’s character.  He’s likable, even when you want to hate him for the things coming out of his mouth.  (And he’s nice to look at… 🙂 )

What are your thoughts about Dandy’s character?  Is he the god he thinks himself to be?

Prince Lestat: A Review (Spoiler Free)

Prince Lestat: The Vampire Chronicles

By Anne Rice

Release Date: October 28, 2014

Review by Sarabeth Pollock

Review Date:  November 1, 2014

 

The Vampire Lestat is back.

After eleven years, Anne Rice has returned to The Vampire Chronicles in a purely brilliant tour de force that’s sure to delight fans young and old.  Rice is a master at creating vibrant mythologies.  From her vampires to her witches and everything in between, she cultivates worlds that are rich with history and character.  It’s clear that everything in the book has been meticulously researched, and every detail cross referenced for accuracy.  Prince Lestat is no exception; this is an epic story that spans 8,000 years and brings together the familiar faces fans know and love as well as exciting newcomers who make a welcome addition to the mythos.

The story begins with a mysterious Voice that has been causing a stir among the world’s vampire population, speaking to the elders and telling them to exterminate the hordes of fledglings that have amassed over the years.  There’s a bit of an overpopulation problem facing the vampire world since The Burning that took place during Akasha’s reign of terror in Queen of the Damned.  Now, scores of vampires are dying around the world and there’s no telling who will be next.  That leaves the million dollar question: Who is behind this Voice and what does it want?

Lestat returns as our fearless narrator.  Lestat is as puzzled by the Voice as everyone else, and he’s determined (albeit reluctantly) to get to the bottom of it.  He weaves through time like a warm knife cuts through butter.  We move from present day to the time just after the events of The Tale of the Body Thief, and all parts in between.  Along the way we meet up with old friends who are equally concerned about this Voice and its motivations, and this quest for answers unearths many shocking truths that will impact the vampire world for years to come.

It’s not difficult to understand Lestat’s magnetism and how it has continued to grow over the years.  Lestat, as an archetype, is appealing to many people in the same way that Tom Hiddleston’s Loki appealed to so many in Thor and The Avengers.  They’re dark heroes, anti-heroes, and their charismatic personalities make them irresistible, even when they’re at their most exasperating.  Lestat has been on a quest for redemption for a long while, dating back to well-before 2003’s Blood CanticlePrince Lestat takes Lestat full circle on his quest, though he never stops being the Brat Prince his fans know and love.

Anne Rice books are like beautiful symphonies, and Prince Lestat is no different: It starts out slowly, allowing the drama and anticipation to build, until the story reaches a feverish crescendo.  The only issue I had with Prince Lestat is that it wasn’t long enough!  At 460 pages, the story felt a bit rushed toward the end, but this might be due to the numerous characters that show up to move the story along.  The book could have been a thousand pages and still felt rushed.  I wanted to hear more from the other characters to learn about where they have been over the years, but hopefully this will happen with future novels.  The world of Anne Rice’s vampires is ripe with possibility.

In an age where authors are granted movie rights before their novels hit bookstores, it’s refreshing that in spite of the eleven year gap since the last installment of The Vampire Chronicles, Lestat and his companions are back in even finer form, sporting their “flashing” silk ties, fine lace and velvet frock coats.  These details make Anne Rice novels what they are: modern literature at its finest.  I’m keenly aware that I’m reading an author whose writing will be considered a classic for generations to come.  Prince Lestat is a delightful read and will satisfy die-hard fans of The Vampire Chronicles and entice new blood to the fold.

 

Throwback Book Review: Anne Rice’s “The Wolf Gift”

I originally wrote this review for http://www.DarkMedia.com a few years ago.  I thought it would be fun to share it here on my blog as well. 🙂

The Wolf Gift

Genre: Adult, Fiction

Publisher: Alfred A. Knoph

Publication Date: February 14, 2012

Author: Anne Rice

Overall Review: 5/5-Excellent

Review by: Sarabeth Pollock

 

A Return….

In 1994 I stumbled across a mass market copy of Interview with the Vampire in a country store during a family vacation.  Though I was fourteen, I immediately fell in love with the lush prose and the vivid characters that came to life in the novel.  After the first few pages I was transported into a world where vampires came to life; the story was as consuming as the humidity of a hot New Orleans evening—which is to say inescapable.  I have been an Anne Rice fan ever since, becoming enmeshed with the stories of vampires, witches, ghosts, and even mummies.

2005 saw Rice’s departure from the supernatural with the publication of Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt.  Year later, through the miracle of Twitter (ironically, given the prevalence of social media in The Wolf Gift), I discovered that Anne Rice was returning to the world of the supernatural with a new book about werewolves, called The Wolf Gift.

I am pleased to tell you that Anne Rice has returned to the world of the supernatural with a thrilling tour de force!

 

The Story….

Reuben Golding is a youthful reporter for the San Francisco Observer, on assignment to write about an enchanting mansion situated on a cliff in Mendocino.  We meet the alluring owner of the house, Marchent Nideck, who looks to sell the house after the estate of her great uncle Felix Nideck has been settled.  Felix Nideck has at last been declared dead after his mysterious disappearance years earlier, and Marchent is eager to sell the house and return to her life abroad.  She hopes that Reuben’s article in the Observer can spark interest in the house and quickly attract a buyer.

Reuben is the youngest son born to a surgeon mother and college professor father.  His older brother is a priest and his girlfriend is a high-power, high-energy district attorney.  They all have nicknames for him that continually remind him of his youth: he is “Sunshine Boy” to his girlfriend and “Little Boy” to his brother Jim.  Reuben is an aspiring writer, and a dreamer, who would be content to buy the house, which he refers to as Nideck Point, even though he knows that his family (with exception of his father) would never approve of such a frivolous purchase.   

It isn’t long before Reuben convinces himself that he must buy Nideck Point, for he has fallen hopelessly in love with the house, and, unexpectedly, he has fallen in love with Marchent.   He follows Marchent like the proverbial kid in a candy store as she takes him from room to room, sharing her late great-uncle’s treasures with Reuben.  In the library they come across a massive portrait of six men hanging above the mantel.  They are dressed in safari khaki and they are in a jungle and they have interesting names like Margon and Sergei and Frank Vandover.  Margon, also known and Margon the Godless, was Felix Nideck’s closest friend as well as his mentor, and though these men were all incredibly close, Marchent has been unable to reach them after her great-uncle’s disappearance.

It isn’t long before the tranquility of Nideck Point is shattered in the middle of the night by an attack, at first at the hands of mortal men with jealousy and revenge on their minds, and then by…something else.  It is at that point that Reuben receives the Wolf Gift.

 

My Thoughts….

The most compelling aspect of this novel is that the story is oddly plausible.  Whereas Interview with the Vampire vacillated between past and present, The Wolf Gift is firmly rooted in the present, with all of the technology and media and ethical dilemmas that come with life in 2012.  Reuben, like most twenty-three year olds in the twenty-first century, is in love with his iPhone.  He uses it to chronicle his transformation from man to wolf.  Once reports of the mysterious “Man Wolf” start to circulate, people all over the world flock to social media sites to create fan pages and dedicate songs on You Tube to him.  Reuben uses his newfound powers and abilities to help people in need, and though one can raise scores of ethical issues about his methods, Reuben clearly acts with good intentions.  The Man Wolf, rather than be feared by the media-hungry public, becomes something of a hero to scores of people who believe that he is trying to do good in a world where it is easy to lose hope.

Another interesting aspect of the story is that Reuben shares his lupine dilemma with other people.  He confesses his secret to his brother Jim, and he confides in Laura, the woman who accepts both his human and wolfish selves with love and compassion.  This is a departure from other Anne Rice novels, where characters went to great lengths to conceal their true nature from the mortals around them.  (ASIDE:  Lestat’s quest to become a rock star in the 1980s could be interpreted as an attempt to reveal his true vampiric nature to ultimately allow him to live in the open, but even he conceded that mortals didn’t really believe he was a vampire.)   

One of the most refreshing aspects of Reuben Golding’s character is that he doesn’t hate himself or the creature he has become.  Once he understands the Wolf Gift, he cherishes it.  He embraces it and comes to see the wolf as part of his identity.  As an intellectual young man raised in a family that taught him to seek knowledge and ask questions, Reuben wants to understand what he has become so that he can use the gift to its full potential.  Of course he makes some mistakes along the way, but these mistakes make Reuben’s character all the more real, for he is a man stumbling through this transformation alone.

I enjoyed how Rice allows the reader to experience Reuben’s transformation with him.  Her imagery makes it easy to imagine what it must feel like to shed one’s human form and become a Man Wolf.  The novel moves quickly through his discoveries and his adventures as a werewolf, but it does get bogged down with mythology toward the end as the story races to its conclusion.  I’m not sure that this is detrimental to the story, however, as the mythology is essential in establishing and understanding the new world of werewolves, or Morphenkinder, that has been created.  Avid Anne Rice fans are well-versed in the history of her vampires and witches after eighteen books, so it is fair to say that this novel serves as an origin story and couldn’t be told without the mythology.

Anne Rice fans new and old will enjoy The Wolf Gift, and given the increasingly energized interest in werewolves thanks to shows like SyFy’s Being Human and films in The Twilight Saga, new readers will appreciate a fresh and modern take on werewolves.

First Encounters With Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles

Now that Universal has acquired the film rights to The Vampire Chronicles (see my earlier post for a link to more information), my excitement is growing with each new announcement.

A few days ago, Anne Rice asked fans on Facebook and Twitter when they first encountered Lestat.  It started me thinking.

I’ve talked about my history with The Vampire Chronicles. I saw Interview with the Vampire in the theater 20 years ago when I was 14, then a few weeks later I stumbled across a copy of the book.  I was hooked.  The film and the book are nothing alike.  While there are subtle similarities, there really is no comparison. 

But I certainly didn’t understand the complexities of the books or her writing until later on.  As every new book came out, I went back and read the earlier books to recall fine details, and with every reading came new observations.  And I also noticed that themes struck me in different ways at different points in my life.

I have read comments from other fans and I know I’m not alone in this.  But it is interesting to note.

The next step is to start imagining how Bob Orci (of the Star Trek reboot fame) will handle the books.  He is a fan (perhaps more so than Neil Jordan) and so his treatment promises to yield a very sympathetic take on the books that are beloved by so many.

So how did you first meet the Vampire Lestat and the world of Anne Rice? Feel free to share your experience in the comments below!

Anne Rice’s The Vampire Chronicles Acquired by Universal

This is very exciting news indeed. In this Aug. 16th article from The Examiner, Christopher Rice talks about the screenplay he wrote for Anne Rice’s The Tale of the Body Thief.  Universal has acquired the film rights and Bob Orci (Star Trek) has been linked to the projects.

This news is manna from Heaven for Anne Rice fans who have waited for something to happen with the books after several stalled attempts after the 1994 film Interview with the Vampire, directed by Neil Jordan and starring Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt.  It also helps to create more buzz in advance of Ms. Rice’s newest book, Prince Lestat, featuring the Brat Prince himself.

Here is a link to the article:
http://www.examiner.com/article/christopher-rice-on-the-vines-the-vampire-chronicles-and-universal

Jumping Around the Vampire Chronicles

I bought The Vampire Chronicles Volume I for my Nook.  I already have the books, and in some cases I have more than one copy.  But I knew that if I had the books on my Nook I’d read them even more.  And it’s true.  This also means that I’ve been skipping around the Vampire Chronicles gleefully, revisiting passages that I haven’t seen in a while.  Jumping ahead to the Queen of the Damned has been a lot of fun.  Reading about Armand and Daniel has been the most enjoyable.  I’ve always enjoyed those two.

I’ve been insanely busy the past few weeks, but being able to catch up to my old friends has been great.  It’s always wonderful to be able to pick up a much-loved book and fall back into it as if reading it for the first time.  I feel like I’m falling in love with Anne Rice’s vampires all over again, and now that I’ve been to New Orleans, I’m finding a whole new connection to the books.

Digression From My Re-Read of Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles: The Myriad Comments on Barnes and Noble

I’ve talked about my well-worn copy of Interview with the Vampire purchased when I was 14 at Don’s Market in the middle of nowhere during a family trip in 1994.  I’m not using that copy during my re-read of The Vampire Chronicles because it’s too fragile.  Right now I’m using the 20th anniversary commemorative edition I bought in 1996.  It’s a trade paperback, so it’s larger and it has a fancy embossed cover.  I love it.

Recently I thought about purchasing The Vampire Chronicles for my Nook, which would make them much more portable.  (I haven’t yet made the purchase…I’m still on the fence because nothing beats the feeling and smell of a book)  While I was shopping on bn.com, I started perusing the comments and was shocked to see how many people gave the books 1-2 stars simply because it was too full of “history.”  What the hell do these people think “vampire lore” means?  Many of the commenters were teens; having read TVC when I was 14, this didn’t surprise me.  What surprised me was how many people were upset that they had to get through so much history to get to the story.  People: The story is about the history!  Louis himself tells the Reporter that he wants to share his life’s story.  That is a history of someone’s life! 

It dawned on me that in the wake of the Twilight Saga, vampire literature has taken a sharp nosedive.  Gone is the history and the lore.  Now the backstory is nothing more than an aside in a conversation.  No one seems to have the patience for it. (I read Twilight only because I was at Comic Con and someone at the publisher’s table gave me a free copy and I read it while sitting in a line.  Yeah.  I read it in a matter of hours.  It didn’t require deep thought, which isn’t an insult, by the way.  It’s just a statement.  You don’t need to ponder the book.  You read it and move on to the next one.)  Now, it was amusing to see that one comment compared some passages from IWTV to Jacob’s point of view in Breaking Dawn (i.e. repetitive and not exciting).   I won’t touch that one because I know that Team Jacob fans are rabid (no pun intended), but it’s funny to me that these comments all basically say the same thing: these readers do not want history and lore and lush imagery and prosaic passages about the majesty and mystery of New Orleans and what it’s like to be a vampire.  No.  They want the action.  They want the drama.  They want the romance.  And they want it now.

Not everyone is like this, mind you, but it does suggest that the tide is changing in literature.  I will be interested to see how Anne Rice’s newest book, Prince Lestat, is received by the crop of new vampire fans who think every vampire is like Edward Cullen. 

Remember when Lestat was at the height of his Rock Star days, and he comments that his legions of fans don’t truly believe that he’s a vampire?  They’re just caught up in the spell of it all, and they probably wouldn’t be so enthused if they knew the truth and the evil he was capable of.  Lestat debated this point later on with David Talbot in Tale of the Body Thief.  In Anne Rice’s world, vampires must feed on blood to survive, and while some try to walk the fine line between good and evil, some find it much more pleasant to give up the charade and be evil, unapologetically, because they like it (Theater of the Vampires, anyone?).  I think the generation of vampire fans who joined the ranks amid the whirlwind of The Twilight Saga are like the fans that Lestat speaks of.  If Edward Cullen didn’t feed on animals and instead tore a few throats out (especially a few throats attached to innocent people)…would he still be a heartthrob?  Maybe.  Maybe not. 

Why are people still drawn to the Vampire Lestat and religiously flock to the annual Vampire Ball in New Orleans?  Personally, I think it has to do with the fact that Lestat is as human as we are.  He’s imperfect and he tries to do the right thing; sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn’t.  Isn’t that the human experience?  (Yes, yes, I know, he has killed people.  Lots of them.  I know.  But people…he’s a work of fiction.  That means we can embrace him all we want.  If you’re wondering, I think he’s one of the most complex characters ever written.)

It makes me sad to think that the vivid imagery of Anne Rice’s Interview With the Vampire is being criticized for having too much history.  Ironically, I read IWTV when I was 14 and eventually majored in history, and don’t think that discovering the magical worlds of Pre-Revolutionary France, Venice during the Renaissance, New Orleans (at any point in history), and ancient Rome through The Vampire Chronicles didn’t have something to do with that.  Anne Rice has a knack for bringing the past to life with her meticulously researched settings.

I’m not sure a digression needs to have a distinct conclusion…but I will say this: I enjoyed reading The Twilight Saga but those books are in a category unto themselves.  Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles cannot (and should not) be compared to the work of Stephanie Meyer.  It’s totally fine to be a fan of one set and not the other. Tearing apart the Vampire Chronicles for having too much “history” and “vampire lore” is silly, though.  As Lestat would say: “Mon Dieu.”