Interview with the Vampire, No.1 of the Vampire Chronicles by Anne Rice

Interview with the Vampire is another of my holiday reads that I’m catching up with reviews on.  I must say this is a beautifully written book, I wasn’t sure how I’d fare with this having seen the film years ago as I always prefer to read the book first but in this case it wasn’t a problem.  Of course I had the faces and voices of Tom Cruise and Brad Pit flitting through my brain as I read which I guess was inevitable but it didn’t detract from the book.  In fact, it was a surprise just how much the film has remained faithful to the book.  Inevitably there were some changes, even the ending was different but the changes weren’t significant and it seemed to me that even some of the dialogue had been lifted straight from the book to the film.

The book of course starts with a young man interviewing a vampire!  Pretty unusual as a concept and I would have loved to have been a fly on the wall to watch the conversation prior to them both removing themselves to a private room with just a tape recorder between them.  It’s such a great vehicle for a story as the storyteller, Louis, casts his mind back over the past 200 odd years of his existence.  An existence that seems to have been passed in a search for the truth.  Truth about the nature of the beast that he has become.  How did vampires begin to exist, are they inherently evil?  Are they the creation of the devil?    If you thought Edward had teenage angst in Twilight well it doesn’t bare much comparison to the anguish borne by Louis.  In this book, Louis is grieving for his recently departed brother.  He seeks death and finds his wish about to be granted when he meets the character Lestat who instead of death gifts him with immortality.  At first Louis is mesmerised by Lestat’s charm and fascinated by what he is, not to mention in awe of what he can teach him, but he soon starts to loathe his creator as he realises that he has very little wisdom to share.  From then onwards Louis battles with his own demons.  The humanity which he still clings to tempered against the anguish he feels for the victims he feeds on.

I wouldn’t think I really need to elaborate too much on the rest of the plot as the book and the film were written and produced quite some time ago and so are probably relatively well known.  Not to mention the book seems to have something of a cult following which is understandable in terms of it being both fairly ground breaking, an intriguing story and well written.

Anne Rice has a beautiful style of writing.  She describes the places and the times so well that you can picture them easily and yet the book doesn’t feel over burdened but flows in a natural and persuasive way.  I loved the descriptions of New Orleans and Paris and also enjoyed watching as the years unfolded starting with Louis’ time on the plantation.  As mentioned the film is fairly true to the book although there was an additional section within the book when Louis and Claudia are on their personal quest to find others of their kind and travel to the Carpathian mountains.  That particular chapter vividly brought to mind the Hammer House of Horror films with Christopher Lee and his blood red eyes terrorising the superstitious peasants.  I did love that particular part of the story, especially when they go under cover of dark to the abandoned ruins in search of vampires.

All that aside I think my favourite aspect, along with the writing style, has got to be the characterisation.  The three main characters of Louis, Lestat and Claudia are so well drawn.  You can’t help partly agreeing with Cruise at the end of the film when he says that Louis is ‘whining’ again.  Because Louis can come across a little bit that way.  Whilst he’s desperately seeking answers Lestat’s answers are somewhere along the lines of ‘get over yourself, you’re a killer now, go with it!’  Without a doubt Lestat is my favourite character – although I think I preferred Louis in the film!  Lestat is just so blatantly and unabashedly a killer.  He suffers no remorse, no feelings of doubt or last minute qualms or pity for his victims.  He toys with them, much in the way a cat will play with it’s captured!  You could say he’s just wonderfully evil and I love the way he follows Louis about taunting him to try and make him snap out of his humanness!  Claudia is a great little vampire, she appears to be younger in the book than she’s cast in the film, and as with Lestat there’s this brilliant evilness to her where she uses her childlike exterior to trap victims.  Victims that she would otherwise be unable to defeat given her size.  I love the way she has similar demons to Louis.  They’re both tortured.  He can’t accept his nature and live with himself and she will never experience the full growth to womanhood although inside her tiny body is a 200 year old female.

The other thing that didn’t really occur to me whilst reading the book but sprang to mind when I was thinking about it after finishing is that there is very little human participation in this story.  Obviously, we have the young man undertaking the interview but we only have snippets of involvement from him.  And we have a brief involvement of other people when Louis is initially turned – particularly one female who he has mixed feelings about.  But, other than that this really is the vampire show and it’s a good one.  And, in spite of the fact that Rice has brought to us these fascinating and beautiful creatures (and may have been the first to do so) there are no elaborate love triangles involving humans.

I really enjoyed this.  It’s completely different to Dracula (which I love) but it seems to be one of (if not the) book that brought us this new breed of predators.

And, as this is ALL about the vampires I think it qualifies for my RIP event!  Check out Stainless Steel Droppings for the details and to join up.

23 Responses to “Interview with the Vampire, No.1 of the Vampire Chronicles by Anne Rice”

  1. Booky Pony

    I read Interview quite some years back and fell totally in love with Rice’s vampires. 😀 They are probably the only ones I can stand at the moment… Are going to continue the series? Because if you liked Lestat you’re going to enjoy The Vampire Lestat!
    Whiny little Louis. ❤
    About the movie – the screenplay was written by Rice herself, and I think that's what makes it so enjoyable. (And Pitt and Cruise do some of their best work in it, I think.)

    Now I want to reread the books…

    • lynnsbooks

      Well, now it makes perfect sense, that the film was translated so well from the book! I think I will probably carry on with some more of these. I would definitely like to read some more about Lestat.
      Lynn 😀

      • Booky Pony

        The first three books (Interview, Lestat, Queen of the Damned) are the best, although I *might* be wrong because I’ve only read six out of ten. 😀

      • lynnsbooks

        Had you had enough by No.6? I’ll certainly check the other two out (at some point!). I’ve heard of Queen of the Damned which also seems to be quite well liked.
        Lynn 😀

      • Booky Pony

        I guess I got a little tired, after having read little else than Rice for about eight months or something. 😛 But I wish I had time to reread the first three and then continue with the series…
        Queen of the Damned, I think, is pretty well known because they made it into a movie, although it’s nothing like the book. Nice music though!

  2. jessicabookworm

    Sounds like a great read. I’ve wanted to read this book for so long, really hope I get round to it soon.

    • lynnsbooks

      I enjoyed it and thought it was well written and very easy to read.
      It’s difficult to get round to all of these books isn’t it!
      Lynn 😀

  3. Novroz

    I like your review! My friend has this book but I am not sure about borrowing it because I am not that into vampire thing…but I am now curious with it.

    • lynnsbooks

      Have you seen the film? It’s a pretty good translation of the book into that medium. If you’ve seen the film to be honest you probably don’t need to read the book but I really wanted to read this one because it has such a faithful following and the writing is really good.
      Lynn 😀

  4. Carol

    I remember reading this years ago. It got me hooked on vampires and Rice’s writing.

    • lynnsbooks

      I really do like her writing style. It just flows.
      Lynn 😀

  5. TBM

    This is on my reading list for this month (if I can squeeze it in!). I loved her novel, The Witching Hour and her descriptions of New Orleans in that novel prompted me to travel there myself.

    • lynnsbooks

      She does have a lovely writing style. I’ll have to check out the Witching Hour – do you recommend?
      Lynn 😀

      • TBM

        I do recommend The Witching Hour. My only concern is that it ends with a cliffhanger and the second book in the series is not that great. The third and final book in the series is better, but the first is by far the best.

      • lynnsbooks

        Imagine that – the second book in a trilogy not being satisfying! It seems to be something of a recurring theme doesn’t it! I love it when I find a book when No.2 stands up to scrutiny or exceeds my expectations from the first. Thinking of recent reads I would say Mark Lawrence has definitely achieved that with his King of Thorns book but so often I am disappointed with No.2 – they seem to suffer from ‘middle book syndrome’. I’ll definitely look at The Witching Hour so thanks for that.
        Lynn 😀

  6. Coffee & a BookChick (@CoffeeBookChick)

    I cannot believe I’ve never read this book. I have a copy and every time I see it, I always tell myself that I need to read it soon. Clearly, I need to, and sooner versus later!

    • lynnsbooks

      I’ve been pretty much the same but finally decided to put it on my list for Carl’s RIP. There’s nothing like submitting a list to make me stick to plan! I’m such a sucker for a list!!
      I do think Anne Rice has a lovely writing style and I was interested to see how the book and film compare.
      Lynn 😀

  7. Priya

    I agree with your review completely. I enjoyed this book as much as I enjoyed the classic vampire ones such as Dracula. But I do have to say, as much as I loved the start of the Vampire Chronicles, the rest of the books (okay, I read two others) left me kind of disappointed.
    The Interview With the Vampire film, like you said, was surprisingly good too, but I read the book first, so didn’t quite have their faces flitting through my head when I read – that would have been good!

    • lynnsbooks

      I really liked it – and the fact that I was picturing the actors from the film – it really didn’t detract at all. One of the other commenters mentioned that Anne Rice actually wrote the screenplay for the film which makes sense of the fact that it is so remarkably true to the book. I think you could watch that film, not read the book and move onto the second book and pretty much pick up the trail. I haven’t read any of the others yet. I have had the second one recommended to me – mainly because I enjoyed reading about Lestat and the second is mainly set around his story. I’ve also heard that Queen of the Damned is okay. At the moment though I think I’m going to stop at No.1. I might pick up one of the others at some point but not for a while I think. I’m not really keen on getting into another mammoth series and also I think it is easy to leave off at the end of this book.
      Lynn 😀

  8. Gavin

    After Dracula I think Interview (and the next two in the series) are the best in a long line of Vampire books. Rice started the resurgence and has remained my favorite.

    • lynnsbooks

      I’ve had the next two books recommended to me, also, the Witching Hour. I’ve read the Werewolf book that she recently wrote and liked that. I just like her writing style which is very easy to read.
      Lynn 😀

  9. Rachel

    Anne Rice certainly started the Vampire craze that was soon to become paranormal romance! But I respect the fact that she didn’t lessen her own vampires to mere sexual creatures. The rest of the books in the series might have some sex in them–I’m not sure because I haven’t read them. I know that Rice also wrote erotica, though, so I wouldn’t be surprised….

    • lynnsbooks

      I also like that she didn’t change her vampires to sexual beings. In fact in this story although Lestat liked to ‘play’ with his food (pardon the expression), Louis seemed to have very little feelings for any human (apart from the original woman on the plantation – which I think was more of a longing to cling to some form of humanity).
      Lynn 😀

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