Who wrote this book and when?
It was the first of the Vampire Chronicles by Anne Rice; this one published in 1976.

Has there been a film version?
Yes, starring Tom Cruise, Antonio Banderas, Brad Pitt, and Kirsten Dunst in her first serious role.

Who are the important characters?
Louis de Pointe du Lac – a young man turned into a vampire in the 1790’s in New Orleans, he is very emotional and sensitive for a vampire
Lestat de Lioncourt – a self-centered and lavish vampire, Louis’ sire
Claudia – a young girl who was turned into a vampire by Louis and Lestat, although her mind ages to womanhood, her body does not
Daniel Malloy – a young man who is recording Louis’ narrative of his life story
Armand – the current oldest vampire, he leads the troupe at the Theatre of Vampires in Paris
Madeline – a young woman who becomes a vampire to take care of Claudia
Santiago – a seeming jokester but in reality a sadistic murderer, one of the lead actors in the Theatre of Vampires

What’s it about?
It is the story of Louis de Pointe du Lac’s origins and life until this point – how he was made a vampire and why. And about the child vampire, Claudia, and how Louis met Armand and many other vampires. Louis is telling the story to a young reporter in hopes of communicating the hopelessness of his position in immortality and his disgust for most of his kind.

Why is this book a classic?
It started the entire Vampire Chronicles series by Anne Rice, one of the most famous about vampires since Dracula. It also strongly influenced the gothic culture and was the first to tell a story from a vampire’s point of view.

Do you recommend I read this book?
If you’re into vampires, I would highly recommend it. I do warn that it has some violence (obviously, vampires = violence) and some sexual themes.

Why did this book make your list?
I have always been interested in the idea of vampires and this is quintessential reading for anyone who wants to learn about the vampire culture and myth.

Has it won any awards?
No.

Favorite quotes:
“Hurricanes, floods, fever, the plague – and the damp of the Louisiana climate itself worked tirelessly on every hewn plank or stone facade, so that New Orleans seemed at all times like a dream in the imagination of her striving populace, a dream held intact at every second by a tenacious, though unconscious, collective will.” – p202

Anything else?
Anne Rice wrote this book following the death of her daughter, which was part of her inspiration for the melancholy Louis. His character represented a way for her to express her grief.

Also, ever since seeing the first episode of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” I always am tempted to spell vampire as “vampyre.” It sounds more thrilling.

Personal thoughts:
I am a big vampire story fan. Although I never went through a goth stage or dabbled in wicca, I’ve always been intrigued by the concept of vampires. Mostly because they seem to be the most “human” of any demon archetype. Generally, they have emotions (in some story universes more than others), they can fall in love, and they have the hardest time putting off their mortal sides. Therefore, they interest me. And because they are linked to humanity by their need to feed on blood. This book does an excellent job of bringing in new concepts (new to me, at any rate, it’s at least 25 years old) on the world and life of a vampire. Rice covers every detail flawlessly, from psychological to physical to supernatural. The book gripped me, just as the movies (which are significantly different from the books) commanded my attention through every minute. I stayed up till the wee small hours trying to finish it, and the even wee-er small-er hours with shivers running up and down my spine after hearing Louis’ story.

Thea reviews this book…

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