I received this book for free from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Published by Knopf on November 29th 2016
Genres: Fantasy, Fiction, Paranormal
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At the novel's center: the vampire Lestat de Lioncourt, hero, leader, inspirer, irresistible force, irrepressible spirit, battling (and ultimately reconciling with) a strange otherworldly form that has somehow taken possession of Lestat's undead body and soul. This ancient and mysterious power and unearthly spirit of vampire lore has all the force, history, and insidious reach of the unknowable Universe.
It is through this spirit, previously considered benign for thousands of vampire years and throughout the Vampire Chronicles, that we come to be told the hypnotic tale of a great sea power of ancient times; a mysterious heaven on earth situated on a boundless continent--and of how and why, and in what manner and with what far-reaching purpose, this force came to build and rule the great legendary empire of centuries ago that thrived in the Atlantic Ocean.
And as we learn of the mighty, far-reaching powers and perfections of this lost kingdom of Atalantaya, the lost realms of Atlantis, we come to understand its secrets, and how and why the vampire Lestat, indeed all the vampires, must reckon so many millennia later with the terrifying force of this ageless, all-powerful Atalantaya spirit.
Anne Rice has an interesting take on Atlantis and the vampire origin story in Prince Lestat and the Realms of Atlantis. As a chronicle story, Prince Lestat and the Realms of Atlantis wasn’t bad, but it deviates from what I expect from an Anne Rice novel. One part sci-fi, one part new age inspiration and finally a choppy, rambling narrative created a novel that was lackluster. Perhaps Rice has grown tired of her vampire tales hence the lack Ingenuity and character development in her latest (and last?) entry into the chronicle lore – I can’t really say.
I remember in middle school picking up the chronicles and selecting a few of her earlier titles from the library shelves in high school when they stopped barring me from the adult section. The original vampire stories were dark, decadent and froth with inner demons: something a teenager could appreciate in the years of angst. Unfortunately, I haven’t kept up with this series so plenty has changed: Lestat is now Prince, there is fire magic (if this is part of the original chronicles I don’t remember) and Amel is now a sentient being recapturing memories of his past.
Without going much into the plot and therefore spoilers, there are Replimods of an undetermined genus, the revelation of why vampires have “thought speech” and the mythology of Atlantis has a fresh, new entry into its literature. I was nervous about the title of this book since it predominantly features Atlantis. Fortunately, Rice tackles the history and utopian tale of Atlantis is a realistic and respectful way. I am not entirely sure how I feel about this latest chronicle, but I can appreciate the uniqueness of the tale and the clever take on vampire history in relation to the cataclysm that destroyed Atlantis.
The concept of Replimods is an interesting addition to the Lestat Universe – mixing science and history to develop a worthy opponent for Rice’s Vampire species. I am not certain if this is my favourite addition, but the characters themselves as complex and interesting. Having lived millions of years, the secret pre-history of humanity is slowly revealed through the character’s own backstory. Also, the strange ability to replicate exact copies of oneself is a bit odd. The strangeness of the Replimod physiology, immortality and unknown reason for existence is merely written off by revealing the existence of another race of beings. Things get weird and I’m still not certain how I feel about that – or the obvious spiritless attempt to tie up all the loose ends.
The links between Amel and the Replimods is also an odd one: a mix of really great story telling, supreme creativity and weird mythologies to create an ancient relationship still playing out in the modern day era.
In the end, Prince Lestat and the Realms of Atlantis can be read as a stand alone or as part of the the chronicles without issue. I could understand the plot without reading much of the previous books and this edition also includes a brief history of the series in order to help the reader catch up on all the drama unfolded in the prior Lestat books. I am not certain if die hard Rice fans will be satisfied with this addition to the series, but story on its own is interesting. There is definite hints that Rice may be thinking about writing about aliens in her next books.
This novel will appeal to readers who enjoy novels that draw heavily on pre-history for inspiration, a reader who has love for a paranormal and vampire tales, new and old Lestat readers and those who are open to new takes on a very old story: Atlantis.