Warning: If you have not read “Queen Of The Damned” by Anne Rice, do not read this review unless you don’t mind spoilers!
I’m back with another book review, and this time it’s “Queen Of The Damned” by Anne Rice! It’s been an exceptionally long while since I read anything else in her Vampire Chronicles series (I’ve already read “Interview With The Vampire” and “The Vampire Lestat”) and I’m really excited to finally pick it up again with “Queen of the Damned!” Here’s a summary so we know what it’s about:
“Three brilliantly colored narrative threads intertwine as the story unfolds:
– The rock star known as Vampire Lestat, worshipped by millions of spellbound fans, prepares for a concert in San Francisco. Among the audience–pilgrims in a blind swoon of adoration–are hundreds of vampires, creatures who see Lestat as a “greedy fiend risking the secret prosperity of all his kind just to be loved and seen by mortals,” fiends themselves who hate Lestat’s power and who are determined to destroy him . . .
– The sleep of certain men and women–vampires and mortals scattered around the world–is haunted by a vivid, mysterious dream: of twins with fiery red hair and piercing green eyes who suffer an unspeakable tragedy. It is a dream that slowly, tauntingly reveals its meaning to the dreamers as they make their way toward each other–some to be destroyed on the journey, some to face an even more terrifying fate at journey’s end . . .
– Akasha–Queen of the Damned, mother of all vampires, rises after a 6,000 year sleep and puts into motion a heinous plan to “save” mankind from itself and make “all myths of the world real” by elevating herself and her chosen son/lover to the level of the gods: “I am the fulfillment and I shall from this moment be the cause” . . .
These narrative threads wind sinuously across a vast, richly detailed tapestry of the violent, sensual world of vampirism, taking us back 6,000 years to its beginnings. As the stories of the “first brood” of blood drinkers are revealed, we are swept across the ages, from Egypt to South America to the Himalayas to all the shrouded corners of the globe where vampires have left their mark. Vampires are created–mortals succumbing to the sensation of “being enptied, of being devoured, of being nothing.” Vampires are destroyed. Dark rituals are performed–the rituals of ancient creatures prowling the modern world. And, finally, we are brought to a moment in the twentieth century when, in an astonishing climax, the fate of the living dead–and perhaps of the living, all the living–will be decided.”
There were a lot of changing points of view in this book, particularly between Jesse, Lestat. There were also points of view from Khayman and Daniel as well, and I wish we’d seen more of those two because they were quite interesting to read, especially Daniel and his relationship development with Armand in particular. The good news is that these changing points of view were relatively easy to figure out in terms of whose point of view we looked through, but it was definitely more confusing in the first sixth of the book.
Speaking of relationships, there were many, many relationships to keep track of in this book compared to the first two. We have Lestat and Louis, of course, but the book heavily focused on Lestat and Akasha’s relationship which is very much messed up and far crazier that Lestat and Louis ever was. Maharet and Jesse also have some interesting relationship dynamics which extend into much of the backstory provided for the book.
However, the best relationship to read was definitely Armand and Daniel’s relationship. Armand offers Daniel absolutely anything and everything a lot of humans would want, including what is the equivalent of a private resort. Despite Armand acting completely like the ideal perfect guy to Daniel, however, Daniel wants more—to become a vampire, and that is what brings up the conflict between them. The way it affects their relationship dynamics in the book is quite interesting to read.
Speaking of backstory, it was very…very…extensive. Arguably it took up at least a third of the book overall, in fact. Though it was very interesting to learn of the history behind all the vampires, I also wish it took up less of the book so we could focus on the current, present timeline of Akasha’s plan to take over the world as well as the development of Armand and Daniel and other characters. I do think it does help shed light on the motivations behind certain characters, like the twins, Khayman, and Akasha, as well as Maharet.
In terms of the actual plotline, due to the backstory being so extensive it was quite slowed and a bit hard to follow at times. It wasn’t like the backstory itself took up a literal third by itself, but rather some of the memories were scattered inbetween present day moments. This would have been really confusing to follow, had the backstory moments not had their own separate chapters from the present day storyline most of the time. Because the backstory moments had their own chapters for majority of the time presented, however, this made the book a bit easier to follow.