As a disclaimer to this review I love the first books of the Vampire Chronicles, in particular the first five, so I was eager to revisit these character's in Anne Rice's new book.
In Prince Lestat, the vampire world has grown enormously but is also more connected than ever thanks to new technologies. Benji Mahmoud is broadcasting his radio show to vampires across the globe, urging them to band together as one united tribe. He believes this is more important than ever as the vampires seek to combat an enemy initially known only as the Voice. This Voice is urging vampires, especially elders, to destroy each other. Of course, who does every turn to for leadership? Lestat. Who has until this point been (very characteristically) sulking in a self-imposed exile.
Anne Rice brings back all our favorite vampires, giving most of the big players their own POV chapters. The alternation between points of view gives us a nonlinear narration of not only the current crisis but the backstories of what these characters have been up to since they last appeared in the Vampire Chronicles. At different points throughout the novel, the elders begin to realize that the Voice is in fact Amel - the spirit that possessed Akasha and became the Sacred Core keeping vampires alive.
Once this is established, Anne Rice paints a beautiful, luscious picture of stylish vampires not doing a whole lot to solve their problems. Don't get me wrong, I loved the descriptions of lavish clothing and long conversations about everything that has happened to them. I still would have liked a bit more action in terms of plot. Of course Lestat is known for taking his time to mope a bit before acting, but in this book all the vampires follow this pattern. I'm also not really sure about why Rose and Viktor, the two humans in the novel, are there. Viktor is interesting, scientifically, but doesn't do much other than inspire everyone with how perfect he is. Rose isn't even that interesting since she is portrayed as this extremely delicate and fragile young girl then woman who constantly needs to be saved.
Even with those complaints, I would still recommend this book so don't let me dissuade you if you are considering it. Despite the lack of action, the characters were just as great as I remembered. I felt like Anne Rice really brought back the essence of these vampires from her earlier novels. Prince Lestat fits in nicely with the initial Vampire Chronicles before Anne Rice branched off into witches and whatever else happened in the books that I could never bring myself to finish. This novel makes me want to read the first five books again then skip right to Prince Lestat and pretend that everything in between doesn't exist.
This is my second book for the summer reading challenge at summerreadingonline.blogspot.com and is going to take care of the NYT Bestseller challenge.