As a lifelong fan of Rice’s vampire, witch, and now werewolf series, new releases are an event I look forward to months in advance of the publication date. This holds true for her most recent novel, number nineteen in the vampire series, titled Prince Lestat.
When I finally found time to crack open the cover and began earnestly reading, I quickly realized that Prince Lestat might be a story that was written — not based on the theory that there was at least one more story to tell — but that the clamor of other fans brought this particular novel into being. I don’t know for sure, but that’s how it felt.
After about 100 pages, I realized that I still didn’t know what was going on, that it had been so many years since I had read any of the vampire series, I had forgotten who was who. And that worked against me, because this installment is extremely self-referential in terms of prior characters, and the fact that the narrative referred to those characters by repeated use of the titles of those novels rather than reminding us as to why we should remember them, I found the story was dense and far too slow for my attention span. That’s not to say it’s a bad book, but a little over a quarter of the way through, I found myself completely disinterested in reading further.
My process is that I give every book the benefit of the doubt when it comes to keeping my interest, because I know that sometimes I’m not in the right frame of mind to read certain books. That has never been true with Rice’s work (except maybe her foray into the life of Jesus Christ, which I found to be stultifyingly boring). And typically I give each book the “50 page rule.” If a writer is unable to hook me with some part of their story — plot, voice, character, etc — I’m done. There are far too many books on my reading list each year to keep me busy from here until 2025. Sadly, Prince Lestat was not one of them. If I ever have the urge to go back and re-read the first 18 volumes in the series and then attempt to re-tackle Prince Lestat, I might come away with a different impression. As it is, I’ll leave this one to the truly diehard fans.