[Merrick] is a book where Rice's two worlds of witches and vampires finally collide.
Rice's strengths as a writer [include] her knack for colourful characters, her loving attention to historical detail [and] her imaginative exploration of myth and mysticism.
After the historical wanderings of 2001's Blood and Gold, Rice takes a step into the modern day with this newest installment of the Vampire Chronicles series. Quinn Blackwood is the scion of a wealthy and eccentric Louisiana family. They have a seemingly limitless fortune, their own haunted mansion and even a haunted island in Sugar Devil Swamp. A passionate, bisexual young man, Quinn has been turned into a vampire, and the entire book is his retelling of that violent and tragic event to Lestat, the brat prince of the undead. Making an appearance in the story are Chronicles standbys the Talamasca, an ancient order of scholars who just refuse to allow the undead to drink blood in peace. Quinn's moony musings and the Creole flavorings of the story inevitably recall Louis, Lestat's aristocratic companion from Interview With the Vampire. Quinn can give a rich poetic spin to the most mundane events, but, like Louis, he can also come off as a pretentious dilettante. Rice wisely intertwines Quinn's tale with that of the Mayfair witches, her other favorite night-stalkers, who breathe fresh air into the sexy, if occasionally silly, story.
Just in time for Halloween, Rice's latest gothic epic blends her beloved Vampire Chronicles with her Mayfair Witches series. Near the dank Sugar Devil Swamp, sinister bayou country where critters far more fearsome than gators lurk, overheated Quinn Blackwood suffers a protracted case of adolescent angst driven by his violent love-hate relationship with Goblin, his spirit-world doppelganger. As heir to Blackwood Farm and an enormous fortune, Quinn enjoys every luxury the decadent Deep South of Rice's imagination can provide, from culinary delicacies to Jasmine, his equally satisfying mulatto housekeeper. Seemingly hell-bent on seducing everyone within range, regardless of gender, age or consanguinity, he falls into a passionate but fatal relationship with 15-year-old nymphomaniac Mona Mayfair, offshoot of the Mayfair clan of witches. But he cannot control Goblin's ferocious jealousy or his nefarious double's taste for blood, particularly once Quinn is made into a Blood Hunter by Petronia, a malignant bisexual spirit who stalks the haunted family cemetery at the edge of the swamp. Rice fleshes out her slim plot line with gory set pieces of vampire history in ancient Athens, Pompeii and 19th-century Naples. She excels at vivid descriptions of macabre landscapes, gloomy estate houses and the lust that motivates her Blood Hunters and propels her ghoulish narratives. Her dialogue and characterizations, however-even of the durable Vampire Lestat, called upon by Quinn for deliverance from Goblin and Sugar Devil Swamp's unholy spirits-are flat and predictable here. But it's intrigue, eroticism and obsession that fans want, and they'll find plenty of all three. Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Fledgling vampire Quinn Blackwood makes a desperate appeal to the older, stronger Lestat to save his loved ones from Goblin, a doppelganger out to destroy them. Since Quinn entered the dark world of the undead, the once caring and protective Goblin has amassed tremendous strength and a ruthlessness that cannot be controlled. Lestat is intrigued but refuses to make a decision until Quinn tells his life story. Slowly, the dark, Gothic settings and eccentric characters that make Rice's fiction so fascinating emerge. Quinn, along with his mirror image, Goblin, resides on Blackwood Farm, an immense Louisiana estate. His was an isolated childhood but not an unhappy one. Then, while in his teens, he learns of an ancestor's horrifying crime, one that continues to attract vengeful ghosts. The brightest light in Quinn's life is Mona Mayfair, a delicate, pretty girl who blithely admits to being a witch. With the introduction of Mona, Rice deftly brings together her two popular series, the "Vampire Chronicles" and the "Mayfair Witches." The result is at least as good as Rice's earliest novels because she centers her story on new characters with interesting stories of their own. Using lush, voluptuous prose, Rice tells a complex and mesmerizing story. Recommended. -Patricia Altner, Information Seekers, Columbia, MD Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
“Rice breathes new life into the long-running Vampire Chronicles with the tale of Quinn Blackwood, a young vampire haunted by a menacing doppelganger….Rather than extrapolating from previous Vampire Chronicles, the latest presents a completely fresh story, a gripping gothic yarn that revives the series.” Booklist
”Rice’s books have always had a sexy edge, and she’s not gone stale.” Metro Weekly (Washington D.C.)
“At least as good as Rice’s earliest novels because she centers her story on new characters with interesting stories of their own. Using lush, voluptuous prose, Rice tells a complex and mesmerizing story. Recommended.” Library Journal
“Blood refreshed for Rice: Vampiric intrigue returns in Blackwood. Blackwood Farm is strong and continues the return to form for Rice that began with Merrick.” The Denver Post
“Blackwood Farm is Anne Rice’s best book in years. In fact, it may be necessary to go back to the initial trio of vampire novels to find one that flows with as much grace and continuity. Not only is it beautifully descriptive; it is wonderfully scripted with all sorts of unexpected turns…. Rice fires all the weapons in her storyteller’s quiver including several kinky, sexually explicit scenes. She uses surprisingly short chapters, most ending with a suspenseful note that practically begs the reader to move on for just one more page.” Miami Herald
“Quinn’s story is beautifully haunting. His tale is like a curiosity shop, filled with lovely and unusual things…. There is an intimacy to Blackwood Farm that makes readers feel as though they are an important part of Quinn's world. And it's a world they won’t want to leave.” Detroit Free Press
“Classic Anne Rice…hard to put down… Fans of Rice will enjoy this novel, since it is a return to the form that originally drew so many into her bizarre subworld of blood drinkers and witches in the first place.” United Press International
“Blackwood Farm is a collection of unexpected twists and turns. Rice implements all of her tricks spirits, ghosts, vampires, witches, strong family bonds, platonic and forbidden romantic love. The finale should elicit a squeal of excitement from readers who thought Rice was merely going through the motions. Luckily, that lull has passed. Blackwood Farm closes with enough unearthed family secrets to fill another novel and a cliffhanger that promises a sequel.” The Charlotte Observer
Praise for Anne Rice:
“Rice’s strengths as a writer [include] her knack for colourful characters, her loving attention to historical detail [and] her imaginative exploration of myth and mysticism.” The Globe and Mail
“[Merrick] is a book where Rice’s two worlds of witches and vampires finally collide.” Ottawa Citizen