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The Queen of the Damned by Anne Rice

In some ways I like this even more than the Vampire Lestat. It is a direct sequel to that book as it ended on a cliffhanger.

For the first time we have multiple POV’s which is great, though it is still Lestat ‘writing’ the book. We have Daniel, the boy from Interview with the Vampire. He’s tormented by what’s happened to him with Louis and searching for the vampires he gets drawn in to Armand’s circle. We also have Jesse, a young women working for the Talamasca (secret society studying the supernatural) who has a much closer relationship with vampires then she’s aware of, and Pandora, Marius’ old flame who is trying to make sense of what’s going on in the vampire world. Finally we have Khayman, a vampire who is six thousand years old, part of the First Brood. His is truly a great character as he feels quite alien and somewhat relatable which seems a very skilful thing to do. 

The story is in three parts. The first is these characters and their stories leading up the concert for Lestat. The second is the concert itself told from their POV’s. And the third part is the story of how vampires came to be, the Story of the Twins and Those that must be Kept. It is also what happens to Lestat after the cliffhanger from the last book.

The parts with Lestat are actually the worst, far too much swooning and exquisite moments of anguish but everything else is brilliant. We get to meet the true ancients of the vampire world, proper immortals, and it’s interesting to see the contrast with how they dealt with the immortality. How they came to be was very well done and seemed believable in world, it was almost scientific. I also really like Daniel’s part at the start and how his life is basically ruined with the knowledge that immortality is possible and no amount of money can help him get over that fact. 

This book has a truly epic feel in the best traditions of Fantasy and Anne Rice has created an amazing mythology around the usually fairly tropey vampire. What is a pity is that she pretty much peaked here. I read all of these years ago and quite a lot of the further books and, from what I remember, there was a massive dip in quality. Re-reading these was almost like reading them again it had been so long, but I have no interest in reading any more. This is a fairly complete end with few, if any, dangling threads so it’s a perfect place to stop.

So if you’re looking for a great vampire trilogy, something that still feels fairly fresh, I would thoroughly recommend them.

5 stars out of 5

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