I try to read a good horror novel each October. This year I picked Interview With the Vampire by Anne Rice. I had been looking at its red spine peering at me from my book case for some time. So, I dusted it off and cracked open the cover for a good Halloween read.
Rating: 6 of 10
Story: 2.5 of 5. The story starts strong with the death of Louis’ brother, Louis’ transformation, the abandonment of the plantation and the addition of Claudia to the undead coterie. It’s all quite thrilling and nicely paced. However, soon after Claudia joins Louis and Lestat, the story losses steam and does not really recover for me. So much of the story is about Louis’ relationship with Claudia, but there just is not enough going on there to earn my interest. Also, later on in Europe, so much of the story is propelled by nothing more than the needs of Claudia and Louis to find new victims. What do the characters even want? They don’t seem to have a goal except that they seem to want to find some vampires that are nice people? Also, there is absolutely nothing scary about this book.
Style: 5 of 5. Rice writes very well. Vampire is filled with elegant prose and many nimble turns of phrase. Rice’s skills are of such a high sort that she succeeds in leaving little Easter eggs of lovely prose in nearly every sentence of this almost 300 page novel. The problem for me is that this ability appears to have served as a hindrance to story development. Sometimes, Rice gets so caught up in guiding the reader along using language, that she seems to forget to mind the plot.
Characters: 2.5 of 5. The characters are not badly written, but I did grow tired of their aimlessness. Also, the drama that occurred between the characters did not interest me most of the time. The characters also seem quite homosexual. It’s hard to describe, but something about the way that Louis relates to Claudia in no way resembles how a normal, heterosexual man would behave in that situation. The whole story is one big estrogen fest, and I think that hampered my enjoyment, because the characters were focused on situations that I found unimportant.
Creativity: 4 of 5. Vampires is not wanting for imagination. Lestat using the slaves of Pointe du Lac as a source of easy to harvest blood and the slaves reaction and rebellion was a dark and creative touch that I really enjoyed. The concept of the Claudia character, in which the mind of an intelligent adult woman is condemned to the body of a small girl, because of vampirism is an inventive use of vampire lore. Also, I love the idea of Armand sucking blood from his victims on stage at Théâtre des Vampires while the unknowing audience applauds in ignorance. On a negative note, I regret that Rice didn’t spend time exploring the psychological effects of immortality. What did it feel like for Louis to remain forever young and watch everyone he cared for grow old and die? Did his long life grant him surplus wisdom, making mortals appear comparatively foolish.