After the 11-year wait for the last book, fans of Anne Rice’s Brat Prince have had a much shorter wait for their new Vampire Chronicle. A lot of Prince Lestat was spent catching readers up, which theoretically frees this up to jump straight into the story.
Lestat is now the Prince of the Vampire Court, and the host for ancient dangerous spirit Amel, the being responsible for linking each vampire together. Although he loves Amel, he’s less sure about the responsibilities and constrictions that come with this new position.
Meanwhile, his old foe, Rhoshamandes, has found a mysterious creature named Derek, whose strange biology holds the key to an ancient secret, and the potential for the vampires’ final destruction.
At this point, reading a Lestat story is like meeting up with an old friend, especially when Rice writes the character in first person, and most of all when he’s talking with Louis. However, the lack of forward momentum makes this a difficult book to recommend for those who aren’t devotees. Rice has never been prone to rushing, but this book feels like it could use more urgency, particularly during the middle third. Her obvious love for the characters means that there’s never really any sense of danger, despite the interesting and unusual powers of Derek and his kin.
However, the Atlantis storyline does bring something new to the Chronicles, and it’s nice to see the vampires forced to confront something they’ve never seen before. The genuine weirdness of these creatures is actually quite wonderful.
Fans of the saga should pick this up, as there are lovely character moments and an interesting new threat, while newcomers might need a more accessible entry point.