Review on: The Queen of the Damned by Anne Rice
Series: The Vampire Chronicles (Book 3)
When I first encountered this title before, from Anne Rice’s collection, I never thought it was part of the vampire series. I originally thought it had something to do with mummy’s and other paranormal creatures or something. Now, I know I was not correct, but i wasn’t entirely wrong, read below to find out why.
Enter The Queen of the Damned, and where we left off from the other book (The Vampire Lestat, book #2) is Lestat finding himself face-to-face with a very powerful vampire before he goes to his sleep-of-the-dead. The prior book talks about Lestat’s world-changing concert, but this next book takes place somewhere before and after the concert. The Queen of the Damned explains to us what happens before the concert, because most of us are left shocked and disoriented with regard to how Lestat’s concert ended the way it did. More or less, the end of the last book and the beginning of this book leads us to understand that another life-changing character makes its appearance, who else but Akasha. I guess I was correct when I guessed that this book sounded like it had to do with mummy’s, because The Queen of the Damned explains to us how it all started. Akasha kidnaps Lestat, and we later find out why it happens. Somewhere in the middle of the book, our young vampires meet up with some very old and ancient vampires who’ve been living for thousands of years, and they help readers understand how vampires came about (in the book). We meet a lof of new characters, and if you’ve read the Mayfair Chronicles series from Anne Rice, we get re-introduced to our old friends – The Talamasca.
Now, The Queen of the Damned is focused on Akasha, she’s the queen of the damned. The flow of the story focuses on why Akasha kidnaps Lestat and goes on the killing-rampage that threatens not only all vampires but mankind as well. With that, we discover the origins of vampires, and how Akasha becomes the slightly deranged vampire that she is. Her origins lead us to Maharet, a beautiful red-headed vampire whom we firstly meet as the relative of Jesse (also a new character) who works for the Talamasca and becomes intertwined with the story of Lestat, since we know and are introduced to the Talamasca who are there to study the paranormal and the weird and the things that normal humans don’t understand. We later find out that Maharet is one of the first vampires after Akasha and Enkil and that she has some connection to the red-headed twins in the dreams that start invading the younger vampires’ minds. We later understand her (Maharet’s) connection to vampires, and how she inconceivably helps bring about the birth of the undead race.
Okay, I find my prior paragraph confusing…and you probably do too. Let me make it much simpler, or at least I’ll try to. During the last book, we meet Akasha and Enkil whom we discover are the first vampires…aka The Mother and The Father, but they have been standing still and they haven’t moved for a very long time. In this book, we are shocked to discover that Akasha kidnaps Lestat and that yes, she can actually move, and she’s quite powerful too. Apparently, her listening to Lestat’s songs spurred something in her and she goes on this quest, or cleansing, which is something like her understanding of a perfect world. On her way to Lestat, she kills off most of the vampire race, except for a special few who are close to Lestat and whom she feels can be spared so as not to sadden Lestat. During her crusade/rampage, and because of Lestat’s concert, a lot of new and old characters meet up and later come together to find out how to stop Akasha. It is within this group, a meeting of old and new vampires that we discover the story behind the creation of vampires, which is also connected to the origins of the newly turned vampire Jesse (she gets introduced and turned in this book) and how she is related to Maharet. Sometime during Lestat’s kidnapping, Akasha gives Lestat some of her original blood which strengthens him but also makes him unable to say no to Akasha, and she introduces Lestat to her perfect world….a world without men, which includes killing off most of the mortal human men and sparing only a few. We also begin to understand that Maharet is the red-haired girl in the dreams, and that she has a twin – Mekare, the one who is creating the visions and spreading them to the vampiric youth.
Despite my mumble-jumble explanation of the story, I think that this book was pretty well-written. The only problem being that it’s sort of hard to understand which came first, as the book jumps from one story and one reality to the next, to some extent. There is an introduction of new characters, some who are familiar if you’ve read some of Anne Rice’s other works, which can be a bit confusing when you’re trying to see the story as a whole. There is a lot of history and stories in this book, and I guess the book itself is full of confusing ideas because it doesn’t only focus on one character. In this book, we meet a lot of people who explain their own stories – Lestat, Akasha, Maharet, Jesse and Khayman. It’s a lot to take in, though Anne Rice seems to organize it all pretty well so that despite all these various backgrounds and characters and stories, you later realize that they are intertwined and interconnected, and that they all serve a purpose.
Personally, I liked The Vampire Lestat better, as the story was more focused and more relate-able. The Queen of the Damned is confusing because it tries to justify and explain so many things that were left out of the previous book. What I loved about this book is how it interconnects itself with characters from Rice’s other books, and here you see the origins of not just vampires but of Maharet’s family, who’ve made a big impact in the genre that Rice writes about. I’m sure some of the members of this family will weave their way into some of Rice’s other books, which makes it just the more interesting. Sometimes though, I found myself just trying to summarize the characters, trying to figure out how they fit here-and-there-and-everywhere.
I would love to give this story 5 starts because it was so well-written and well thought out, but I find that Rice could have done better with how she spread some of the characters. She introduced a lot more characters here than in The Vampire Lestat, and she gave a lot more background and history, sometimes moving from past to present to past to present, while The Vampire Lestat had a clearer flow for the story. Also, I didn’t understand some parts of the end of this book, and I felt like she could have done more there…..but then again, there are still books that follow this one so maybe some of it will be explained later on.
I can’t wait for the next one: Tale of the Body Thief.