by Anne Rice
This is the story of Louis, as told in his own words, of his journey through mortal and immortal life. He recounts becoming a vampire at the hands of the radiant and sinister Lestat and how he became indoctrinated, unwillingly, into the vampire way of life. His story ebbs and flows through the streets of New Orleans, defining crucial moments such as his discovery of the exquisite lost young child Claudia, wanting not to hurt but to comfort her with the last breaths of humanity he has inside. Yet, he makes Claudia a vampire, trapping her womanly passion, will, and intelligence inside the body of a small child. Louis and Claudia form a seemingly unbreakable alliance and even "settle down" for a while in the opulent French Quarter. Louis remembers Claudia's struggle to understand herself and the hatred they both have for Lestat that sends them halfway across the world to seek others of their kind. Louis and Claudia are desperate to find somewhere they belong, to find others who understand, and someone who knows what and why they are.
Expectations: I have not seen the movie, but it seems like this story is ingrained in our pop culture. I was not familiar with anything about it really, but I knew it was a new take on the vampire lore (at the time) and Lestat seems to be popular so I was looking forward to seeing what he was all about.
I have mixed feelings about this book. I appreciate the set up of a new take on vampires and the intricacies of crafting a dark, almost depressing story of a sensitive newly made vampire, but I also wanted Louis to stop whining and take a stand already. But I know that I have very little patience for weak main characters. And it was surprising to find that all of the vampire characters were pretty much unlikable, but maybe that is only because we see them through Louis' eyes, and he is not inclined to see the good or interesting in vampires. I was also surprised by the meandering path the story took. It's not plot-driven, except perhaps in a few spots, so it reads very realistically as a memoir of a vampire. It's heavily atmospheric, and does draw you in but Louis' apathy in most things really grated on my nerves, and in the end I wasn't sure what the takeaway point of the story was. Would Louis feel better if his story was understood as he understood it? Is being a vampire really that bad? Perhaps I need to read the rest of the novels in the series to understand where Anne Rice was taking this story.