Book Review

Interview With The Vampire

Interview with the Vampire

  • Author: Anne Rice
  • Genre: Fantasy
  • Publication Date: May 31, 2011
  • Publisher: Random House Audio
  • Series: The Vampire Chronicles #1

Rating: 2 out of 5.

This is the story of Louis, as told in his own words, of his journey through mortal and immortal life. Louis recounts how he became a vampire at the hands of the radiant and sinister Lestat and how he became indoctrinated, unwillingly, into the vampire way of life. His story ebbs and flows through the streets of New Orleans, defining crucial moments such as his discovery of the exquisite lost young child Claudia, wanting not to hurt but to comfort her with the last breaths of humanity he has inside. Yet, he makes Claudia a vampire, trapping her womanly passion, will, and intelligence inside the body of a small child. Louis and Claudia form a seemingly unbreakable alliance and even “settle down” for a while in the opulent French Quarter. Louis remembers Claudia’s struggle to understand herself and the hatred they both have for Lestat that sends them halfway across the world to seek others of their kind. Louis and Claudia are desperate to find somewhere they belong, to find others who understand, and someone who knows what and why they are.

Louis and Claudia travel Europe, eventually coming to Paris and the ragingly successful Theatre des Vampires–a theatre of vampires pretending to be mortals pretending to be vampires. Here they meet the magnetic and ethereal Armand, who brings them into a whole society of vampires. But Louis and Claudia find that finding others like themselves provides no easy answers and in fact presents dangers they scarcely imagined.

Originally begun as a short story, the book took off as Anne wrote it, spinning the tragic and triumphant life experiences of a soul. As well as the struggles of its characters, Interview captures the political and social changes of two continents. The novel also introduces Lestat, Anne’s most enduring character, a heady mixture of attraction and revulsion. The book, full of lush description, centers on the themes of immortality, change, loss, sexuality, and power.

When I was in high school, this book WAS IT. My generation didn’t have Twilight, we had The Lost Boys, Blade, and Interview with the Vampire. Although this book was originally published in 1976, it experienced a huge resurgence in the 90s thanks to the release of the movie with Brad Pitt, Tom Cruise, and Christian Slater. I remember loving the book and the movie when I read it the first time around, and figured I’d give this one a reread too, to see how it stands up the test of time while I was waiting for the audiobook of Lasher to be available. 

I read this in audio format as well, and it was narrated wonderfully by Simon Vance. He did great with the voices of the characters, and the many foreign French words were pronounced beautifully (as opposed to how I mangle them in my head when I attempt to read them off a page). 

While Rice’s other major series starter, The Witching Hour, was problematic for sure, I still loved the story itself. Much of it lived up to the fond memories I had of it from my teenage years, while this one didn’t come close to the memories that I retainehuman being, d of it. I was honestly disappointed in this one, especially since it was so immensely popular. Am I going to watch the new series based off the books? Absolutely. Am I going to continue on with the series? Most likely yes. Let me tell you why.

Vampires in general tend to be an intriguing lot. They’re sensual, sexy, and mysterious. They live forever, they have some seriously cool powers, and the book makes their blood-drinking sound like the most amazing sexual experience one could ever dream of. But as far as main characters, Louis is the most boring one I could ever think of. He’s constantly missing his humanity, he’s high-key depressed, and he doesn’t enjoy any part of being a vampire. He has little to no information about being a vampire, he’s overly convinced of religious Catholic teachings, and fully believes that he’s a creature of the devil. 

Lestat, as deplorable as he was, and Claudia were much more interesting characters. They both fully embraced being a vampire, and had no issues with being who they were. I loved learning more about them, and how they functioned without having any problems reconciling these sides of themselves. Louis felt like he did a lot of pointless navel-gazing.

As always, Rice’s writing is exceptionally detailed and beautiful, allowing me to create exceptionally vivid images while reading. I could picture everything that the characters were seeing and experiencing, from the rush of New Orleans, to the semi-deserted nighttime countryside of Transylvania, to the debauchery of the theater of Vampires in Paris. 

This book was another problematic one, even though I’m getting the vibe that among books written in the 70s and 80s, anything went and problematic wasn’t even a conversation that was being had. But this was the book that seemed to put vampires back into the mainstream for the first time since Dracula, so I guess it does have some positives? But as for the problematic issues, the biggest one was something that I somehow didn’t pick up on as a teenager. Maybe it’s because I was a teenager, maybe it’s because I was reading for fun and not reading critically or writing reviews, maybe it’s because I was stoned and just didn’t quite catch it? But there’s a dynamic between Louis and Claudia that made me feel like I needed to take a shower. Granted, she’s a vampire trapped in a child’s body forever, and though her mind ages, her body doesn’t catch up. But while Louis may be attracted to her mind, the simple fact is that she is still in the body of a child, which creates some major issues for me, as a reader. And that’s in addition to the glaringly obvious one in how enslaved people are not only treated but spoken about.

I know that the other books in the series are more active and interesting, with less philosophical debate and more action and character growth. There’s some emotional turmoil in this story, but ultimately it didn’t make up for the lack of action and … anything else that I was hoping to find in this book. But I’m going to keep reading because I know it’s coming.

16 replies »

  1. I just read that book this past Halloween, and I had a hard time getting through it. While the writing was beautiful, really highlighting the lives of vampires, it was a little too lengthy and descriptive and boring for me. Some passages held my interest, but most, I just wanted to get through to get it over with. Idk. I think if I’d read it when it first came out, I believe I would have it enjoyed it more, but I’m just not used to that type of style I guess. Hoping the next couple of books, with Lestat, are better. I’ve seen Queen of the Damned, and I loved it. I loved his character. So, I’m curious to see how those compare to the movie and the previous book.

    Liked by 1 person

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