Ever since Anne Rice created the character of the vampire Lestat for the gothic horror novel, Interview with the Vampire, readers have craved more from the mesmerising monster. Unlike Lestat’s lust for blood and pleasure however, this desire is not un-ending. Subsequent books have gotten more complicated and strange. Which brings us to book 12; Prince Lestat and the Realms of Atlantis.
The plot is about as far from Interview with the Vampire as you can get; for a start it isn’t gothic horror, instead being rather more surrealist fantasy. An ancient, unearthly and mysterious power, one from the depths of Vampiric lore possesses Lestat’s mind and body and takes everyone’s favourite sociopath on a spiritual journey into the lost kingdom of Atalantaya. Of course, this spirit is threat to the status quo that vampires thrive on, and potentially a world-ending problem.
If this sounds a little like the plot of Queen of the Damned meets Tale of the Body Thief (previous Anne Rice novels), then you’re right. One of the significant problems with the novel is that it only contains one new idea, and it’s a really silly one. In fact, it’s so jarring and daft that the book’s entire genre jumps a track and enters the world of science fiction. This is clearly unfamiliar territory for Anne Rice, as the result is a dry story with absolutely no credibility.
Most of the book is more of the same, aimed at pleasing the many fans that Rice has gained over the years. Alas, in an attempt to do something new, what the author really does is tread over old ground, adding a rather unsatisfying and pointless twist.
The other problem is that by novel twelve, Lestat is rather boring. We know that the vampires in this world are inhuman monsters that can appear charming and erudite. We know that Lestat is a honourable bastard who is both despicable and entertaining. We’ve seen these tricks before and it does nothing to enhance the book.
After twelve books, Rice has done something new with the vampire genre. She’s made them boring.
PRINCE LESTAT AND THE REALMS OF ATLANTIS / AUTHOR: ANNE RICE / PUBLISHER: CHATTO & WINDUS / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW