For her 25th fan-pleasing outing, Rice reunites some of her most popular creations and, for the first time since Memnoch the Devil (1995), lets the Vampire Lestat "write" the book. Taking up where last year's Blackwood Farm ended, the now-doppelganger-free Quinn Blackwood and Lestat save Quinn's true love, the witch Mona Mayfair, from certain death by making her an immortal. In his effort to attain sainthood, Lestat must deal with a lot of metaphysical angst. The opulent Blackwood estate and its spooky swamps, as well as New Orleans and a Caribbean isle, provide the settings for many elegant costume changes as the exquisite vampiric triumvirate gleefully suck several deserving victims dry and lay waste to dozens of a drug lord's minions. The vampirisation of young Mona, a true child of our times, gives Rice a dynamic new vampire personality with whom to play. Writing as if her blood-inked quill were afire, Rice seems truly possessed by her Brat Prince of darkness as she races through the story. She sometimes slights members of the vast supporting cast, both dead and alive, but neatly ties up all their loose ends. The complete unification of the Mayfair witch saga with that of the Vampire Chronicles provides either a befitting end or a new beginning for the Queen of the Vampires. (Oct. 31) Forecast: As with many well-established bestselling authors, Rice's first printing numbers aren't what they used to be (400,000 vs. one million for Memnoch), but an author tour and the debut next year of a TV miniseries based on her Witching Hour trilogy should keep her numbers steady. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
This latest installment of Rice's "Vampire Chronicles" begins with a ranting soliloquy from the infamous vampire Lestat as he addresses readers of the previous books. He excoriates those who read his chronicles but did not understand what he was trying to say. He fantasizes about being good, about becoming a saint, about speaking to the Pope. The entire first chapter is taken up with nonsense that has nothing to do with the story, and then the novel's basic plot begins where Blackwood Farm ended. In that novel, Quinn Blackwood's unique voice narrated; unfortunately, in this sequel it is a boorish Lestat who tells the tale. In order to save the dying Mona Mayfair, whom Quinn loves, Lestat bestows the dark kiss, making her one of the undead. In this way Lestat becomes involved in the complex world of the Mayfair witches, even helping them to discover the secret of the mysterious Taltos who have haunted the Mayfairs throughout their history. This is not one of Rice's better efforts, but her loyal fans will no doubt request copies. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 7/03.]-Patricia Altner, Information Seekers, Columbia, MD Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Rice in short form after the lengthy Blackwood Farm (2002), this time featuring characters shuffled together from the Vampire Lestat series and the Mayfair Witches series. Rice allows Lestat to narrate for the first time since 1995's Memnoch the Devil-which, according to Lestat, was the largest-selling entry in the entire series (probably because Tom Cruise's Interview with the Vampire had come out the year before, reinvigorating the series and filling new readers in on the first novel). It's not fair to expect Rice to write as impressively as she did 28 years ago (although there are long, beautiful, well-researched passages in her historicals), but the fact remains that Louis, the brooding, reluctant vampire of Interview, is Rice's best narrator, far superior to Lestat, who runs off at the mouth and whose prose has none of the sweet grip of Louis's. Canticle picks up where Blackwood left off, with beautiful nymphet Mona near death in young Quinn Blackwood's arms. Lestat is on hand, still reeling from seeing Satan and God in person in Memnoch, and now set on being a saint. Despite his unflagging vanity, Lestat has also absorbed the main quality of Louis: revulsion toward the Curse. Though having met God and now seeking redemption, Lestat goes on sucking blood-but only of bad guys! He's helping God sweep mankind free of misbegotten hellspawn. For Quinn, Lestat gives Mona the Dark Trick, and then the three of them go to New Orleans to induct Mona into her first thirst-quenching. Meanwhile, Lestat has fallen headlong for Rowan Mayfair, the witch and neurosurgeon who finds Lestat attractive-attractions forced on both of them by Rice. And where is Morrigan, Mona's monstrous full-grownWoman-Child, fathered by Rowan's manly husband Michael? Though one wishes to give the recently widowed author a free ride, Blood Canticle is as gaily slipshod, gushy, and first-draftish as Merrick. First printing of 400,000
Praise for Anne Rice:
“Rice’s strengths as a writer [include] her knack for colourful characters, her loving attention to historical detail, her imaginative explorations of myth and mysticism.” The Globe and Mail
“Blackwood Farm is Anne Rice’s best book in years. . . . Rice fires all the weapons in her storyteller’s quiver. . .with a suspenseful note that practically begs the reader to move on for just one more page.” Miami Herald