Sunday, July 8, 2007

Interview with the Vampire - Ann Rice

I had avoided reading any of Rice's vampire books, as I was afraid they would be too dark and satanic. Finding a copy of Interview with the Vampire at a yard sale for 10 cents, I figured I could take a chance - if I didn't like it, I was only out a dime! As for my fears, I was partially right - it was dark. But not inherently satanic. Yes, there are vampires. Yes, they kill people to survive. But it was not a "scary" book, nor was it particularly gory. It was more like a tragic Gothic romance - emphasis on tragic.

This is not a book full of sunshine and flowers. It is most definitely dark, but the story is quite well-written and I was engaged after the first few pages. But far from being something from a Bela Lugosi movie, and far from being a Stephen King horror novel, it was really just a very sad tale of a very sad (albeit artifically long) life.

The vampire being interviewed is Louis, and the time of the interview is modern-day. Louis' story begins in the 1700's in Louisiana, and we follow him through his life: becoming a vampire, being mentored by the vampire Lestat, falling in love, finding other vampires and all the strange life he led. He is loath to kill humans, though doing so brings him great ecstasy. He is constantly warring against his nature, and pondering if he is truly evil and damned. He is a tragic character in the full, literary sense of the word. (Did I mention that this wasn't a "happy" book?)

The vampire culture created by Rice is very interesting, and is well thought-out. She breaks somewhat with 'traditional' vampire lore, in that garlic & crucifixes are not vampire deterrents. But, they still sleep in coffins (though I really don't know why - why not any large container that could be sealed?), sunlight is fatal to them, and they have to drink blood to live.

All in all, I enjoyed the book, mostly for the good writing and interesting culture and characters. It's not a book that upon putting it down I say "Wow! I have to read that one again!", but I certainly didn't dislike it. However, having read this one and satisfied my curiosity, I'm not sure I'll read any more in the series. I just don't care to be that depressed all the time! ;-)

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