Title: Interview with the Vampire
Author: Anne Rice
Genre: Fiction, Suspense
What you'll love: Great time period and scenery descriptions.
What will bug you: No chapter breaks.
I picked this up from the library on a whim - I had gone just to poke around and happened to stumble upon "Interview With The Vampire" and remembered that it was on my to-read list. It was a fun read to kick of 2010!
The story is narrated by Louis - a vampire giving an interview and thus pouring out his life story to the reader. He begins at the beginning - telling of his first meeting with Lestat, the vampire who changes him from a mortal to a vampire. Through the years, the two vampires settle in New Orleans where Louis finds a young girl named Claudia. She is also turned into a vampire, trapping her ever maturing mind in the body of a small child. After Louis and Claudia band together against Lestat they travel the globe searching for others like themselves. Eventually they arrive in Paris where they are introduced to the Theatre des Vampires and Armand, who not only shows them another life inhabited by vampires like themselves, but leads them to face the reason they fled New Orleans.
Let's start with the good things first.
The story is very imaginative and well written. A tale which spans a vast period of time, I think you'll be impressed with how the different time periods are captured in the text. I loved the descriptions of early New Orleans. The scenery was painted out to be mysterious and magical. I loved it.
The characters are fabulous. Lestat is a pathetic, distasteful character. I did not like him from the start. He is a user - simply turning Louis lose on his new life as a vampire without being any kind of a teacher. He wants Louis' money and land - nothing more. Claudia was fascinating. I knew a basic outline of the story as I began the book, and I (like many, I'm sure) pictured Claudia as a little girl, because that's what she appears to be. I thought the book did a great job of showing her as a grown woman trapped inside a never ageing body. There is a sensual quality to Claudia, which would seem disturbing in a little girl, but is acceptable in this story. Her mind was actually that of an adult - and her frustration at her diminutive size is apparent. Louis establishes a real connection to the reader. He is very conflicted about the killing that is a part of his life as a vampire, and does not embrace his new life in many ways. He is very human. He shows emotions that other vampires seem to lack - or have forgotten - and it lets the reader understand him more thoroughly than the other characters.
I thought the relationship between Louis and Claudia was well done. They are a cross between Father/Daughter and old lovers. I know this is a strange combination, but in the story it makes sense. Louis feels a protectiveness towards Claudia and has watched her mind mature from that of a five year old through adulthood. He has taught her and helped sculpt the person she has grown to be. At the same time, they are not related. They have a comfort between them that can only exist through years and years of companionship.
The topic of love was throughout this book. From the descriptions, the longings of a vampire are different than that of a human. It does not appear that "love" and "lust" are that of a sexual nature. The longings of a vampire are for blood, not for any physical kind of relationship. The result is a strong love that is possible to occur between two male vampires - but without any sexual context. I found it to be an interesting idea - two people matching together completely based on connections of the mind, not the body. Once sex is removed from the equation would people be drawn to someone surprising? It was an interesting concept.
So. The negative. There was one huge problem with this book. There were no chapters! There were some small page breaks, but they were spread VERY far apart (40 pages or so for the first 200 pages). In the last part of the book, the page breaks were more frequent, which sped the story along. The lack of page breaks was very frustrating. Being a busy lady I found it very hard to find a good stopping place in the story. I know what you're thinking... "Well, it kept the story moving along." I suppose. I found it more frustrating than anything because when I put the story down it was hard to pick up again because it was always mid-scene. Not a deal breaking kind of problem, but certainly a distraction!
Overall, a very well done book. If you're interested check it out on my astore and I will get a very small payment from Amazon! The story ends with an obvious lead into a second book - I will have to try out the next book in the series!
Be on the lookout for an upcoming blog where I compare the book to the movie!