I’m a long-time fan of both Anne Rice and her greatest creation, the vampire Lestat, but even so I can find them both a little much at times. When I first saw the title of this, the latest of The Vampire Chronicles, I thought this might be one of those times, with visions of a waterlogged Lestat hanging out underwater with a bunch of mer-men. I was to be disappointed in this, and I’m still not sure if that might have made a better, if more sniggersome, book.
First rid yourself of ideas of visits to a watery realm – at no point in this does Lestat actually visit Atlantis (or Atalantaya as it is called within). In fact, Lestat doesn’t do much of anything. Now host to the sacred core that connects all vampires – the spirit Amel now resides within him following the events of the last book – Lestat has the wellbeing of the world’s vampires resting on his shoulders. That means no more staying up past sunrise or indulging in a spot of sunbathing, or anything else that could harm the younger vampires to which Lestat is connected.
Instead, Lestat makes a couple of social calls before settling down to a multitude of meetings to discuss the discovery of a group of beings – human looking but definitely not mortal – that could be a threat to the safety of the vampire community.
But not really, as after a brief bit of violence on first being introduced, all the beings really want is to relate their tale to the assembled vampire court, of how they came to be (created and guided by a set of owl-like parents, who live-stream visions of humanity across their unearthly abode) and how they came to know and love Amel, who once lived and created the utopia of Atalantaya before becoming the vampiric spirit that has animated millennia of blood drinkers.
This wasn’t exactly a bore – I seem to be incapable of not enjoying Rice’s writing even when what’s she’s writing about isn’t exactly scintillating – but it wasn’t a non-stop thrill ride either. The new beings introduced – Kapetria, Garekyn, Welf and, um, Derek (I don’t know why that last one makes me snigger so much, but so it goes) deeply irritated me, and I spent rather a lot of time sincerely hoping that the cringing Derek would be given a good reason to constantly cry before the book was finished.
In all, this was decent but not brilliant outing, and I hope that Rice’s next Lestat book is actually about Lestat.