Book Review

The Queen Of The Damned By Anne Rice

The Queen of the Damned

  • Author: Anne Rice
  • Genre: Fantasy
  • Publication Date: May 31, 2011
  • Publisher: Books on Tape
  • Series: The Vampire Chronicles #3

Rating: 4 out of 5.

In 1976, a uniquely seductive world of vampires was unveiled in the now-classic Interview with the Vampire . . . in 1985, a wild and voluptuous voice spoke to us, telling the story of The Vampire Lestat.  In The Queen of the Damned, Anne Rice continues her extraordinary “Vampire Chronicles” in a feat of mesmeric storytelling, a chillingly hypnotic entertainment in which the oldest and most powerful forces of the night are unleashed on an unsuspecting world.

Three brilliantly colored narrative threads intertwine as the story unfolds:

– The rock star known as Vampire Lestat, worshipped by millions of spellbound fans, prepares for a concert in San Francisco.  Among the audience–pilgrims in a blind swoon of adoration–are hundreds of vampires, creatures who see Lestat as a “greedy fiend risking the secret prosperity of all his kind just to be loved and seen by mortals,” fiends themselves who hate Lestat’s power and who are determined to destroy him . . .

– The sleep of certain men and women–vampires and mortals scattered around the world–is haunted by a vivid, mysterious dream: of twins with fiery red hair and piercing green eyes who suffer an unspeakable tragedy.  It is a dream that slowly, tauntingly reveals its meaning to the dreamers as they make their way toward each other–some to be destroyed on the journey, some to face an even more terrifying fate at journey’s end . . .

– Akasha–Queen of the Damned, mother of all vampires, rises after a 6,000 year sleep and puts into motion a heinous plan to “save” mankind from itself and make “all myths of the world real” by elevating herself and her chosen son/lover to the level of the gods: “I am the fulfillment and I shall from this moment be the cause” . . .

These narrative threads wind sinuously across a vast, richly detailed tapestry of the violent, sensual world of vampirism, taking us back 6,000 years to its beginnings.  As the stories of the “first brood” of blood drinkers are revealed, we are swept across the ages, from Egypt to South America to the Himalayas to all the shrouded corners of the globe where vampires have left their mark. Vampires are created–mortals succumbing to the sensation of “being emptied, of being devoured, of being nothing.” Vampires are destroyed.  Dark rituals are performed–the rituals of ancient creatures prowling the modern world.  And, finally, we are brought to a moment in the twentieth century when, in an astonishing climax, the fate of the living dead–and perhaps of the living, all the living–will be decided.

I’ve gotten myself hooked on this series, and can’t stop reading. It doesn’t hurt that the audiobooks are done really well, and Simon Vance is an incredible narrator. This book was even more intriguing than the last, and it’s the last book in the series that I actually have any recollection of reading, so going forward, it’s all new material for me.

Much like all of her other books (that I’ve read, at least), Rice’s writing style is flamboyant, excessive, and gorgeous. She makes use of purple prose, but in the setting of the novels, it’s almost expected. She provides enough information so that I can vividly picture every single setting and character, making everything feel so real that I can almost expect to see a vampire pop up anywhere. 

While the story mainly focuses on Akasha and Lestat, we also meet some new characters and get deep into depth on all of them. I love the format, where we jump back and forth between the history of these characters and the present day goings on. The story moves from ancient Egypt to the modern day, and everywhere in between. Old favorites pop up as well, and we finally learn how vampires were first created.

But in addition, there’s another plot—Akasha’s plan to save mankind and fix the vampires. She’s gone through a spate of getting rid of vampires that she doesn’t deem to be suitable while raising Lestat for some reason above all of them, although we learn her reasoning behind that. And while I could understand where she was coming from, I couldn’t necessarily agree with her methods. 

This story is full of action and planning, while also revealing so much of this well-created vampire world. I loved learning so much about them and seeing how they existed in the past, while also seeing how they are going to move forward after the events of this novel. There’s plot twists galore, and character development throughout the story, and this book is what made me enjoy Rice’s writing, and want to read more of it.

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