Friday, May 8, 2015

Blood Canticle By Anne Rice

I am not going to lie. After Blood and Gold, I was hesitated to get back into Anne Rice books. The last couple of books, Merrick, Armand and good Lord, Mnemoch the Devil, I was afraid that Rice lost her touch. However, when I read Pandora and Vittorio, I thought that she got her stride back, but I was sorely mistaken. Where was the writer who wrote Tales of the Body Thief and Vampire Lestat? I have to admit, I liked most of the Mayfair Witches books, though I read them out of order. Fair warning (or maybe it's a selling point?), they were almost soft core porn. Racy, indeed.

However, ye faithful Baltimore Book Fair delivered Blood Canticle for 3 dollars (in hardback!) and I couldn't resist. I have Violin  as well, but that is farther down the book stack. I knew that there was another book, Blackwood Farm before Blood Canticle, but I couldn't find that book to read before this one. When it came time to choose a new book, I figured that if I really didn't know what was going on, I would stop reading and buy Blackwood Farm before starting up Blood again. 

I didn't need to read the book. I figured out the story of Blackwood perfectly within the context of Blood Canticle. 

I also have to say...

Anne Rice is back! 

Oh man, I love snarky Lestat more than anything else. I know Rice was trying to explore other vampires, but snarky and over dramatic Lestat is my favorite vampire. Other than Mnemoch, he makes any story compiling. 

So in the Vampire Chronicles, Rice created a world in which Lestat has written and sold "Interview with the Vampire," "Queen of the Damned," "The Vampire Lestat," "Mmemoch the Devil" and "Tales of the Body Thief." Readers think that vampires are fiction, though he says again and again, that they are not. 

Rice comes out shooting when she addresses the vicious criticism of Mnemoch the Devil.  Lestat breaks the fourth wall and laments on how the readers didn't want to hear the truth of his adventure to Heaven and Hell. I was hoping. I was praying that she wasn't going to go veer off into God territory, discussing Angels and Demons, but she didn't! Lestat, in all of his snarky glory, wants to be a good person, but realizes that he truly isn't a good person. He struggles with this standard, and not meeting it, throughout the entire book. 

Blood Canticle combines both the Mayfair Witches and the Vampires Chronicles in one book. Taltos was the first book I read of the Mayfair witches series, and with The Witching Hour as a close second, Taltos was my favorite book out of the three. The reason Taltos is my favorite is because of Ms. Mona Mayfair, who is one of the main characters of Blood Canticle.  The set up is that Lestat just defeated Goblin from Blackwood Farm and Quinn Blackwood was turned into a vampire. Merrick dies in defeating Goblin, and everyone is upset over losing Merrick Mayfair (of the "colored" Mayfairs. Oh yes, "colored.")

Meh. She wasn't that cool anyway. 

Then, they get a visitor. Mona Mayfair. After giving birth to the "Walking Baby," they call it, she falls seriously ill. Rowan Mayfair vows to heal her, but Mona hates and fears Rowan for her powers. Mona is about to die, and Quinn, who is now a vampire and loves Mona, wants to give her the Dark Kiss. Lestat, understanding the extent of the Dark Kiss, agrees to give it to Mona. Mona becomes a Vampire, and slowly reveals her story about the Taltos, another species on Earth that somehow bred with the Mayfairs and there are more since Mona birthed Morrigan and she left with another Taltos. 

Mona wants to know what happened to Morrigan, and Lestat and Quinn agree to help her. Oh, Rowan Mayfair is there, and Lestat falls in love with her, much to Mona's dismay. Mona is jealous though I don't understand why. 

Here is the thing about Rowan in all these books... she's kind of boring. I get it, Anne put herself in Rowan, with the way she describes Rowan Mayfair (the hairstyles are the same, their fashion is similar, no makeup) and how her husband, Michael Curry, is utterly devoted to Rowan, despite Rowan head over heels for Lestat. It's just... Mona Mayfair is a much better character than Rowan and I was glad that Rowan wasn't in much of the story. 

I wish there were more Mayfair Witches/Vampire Chronicle crossovers, because the old Mayfair family and the Talamasca are really interesting. Rice is fascinated by rich, old New Orleans families, and the Matriarchal Mayfairs are it! However, the ending of Blood Canticle was very definitive with Quinn and Mona going away to be taught by another vampire. 

Oh Lestat, how I missed you. 

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