This was an intriguing read though a bit overwrought in places.
It is the story of Azriel, a kind of ghost or demon who was once a mortal man but was transformed. It’s framed in the narrative of him telling his story to an academic and traces his mortal life in the time of Cyrus the Great in Babylon up to the present. Here he gets involved with the leader of a modern day cult, with massive followings and money and power, and his family.
The framing device has been done before by the author, most notably in Interview with the Vampire and I suppose it works here too. Azriel is interesting to read about, very over dramatic in Rice’s usual style, but the change from a pretty happy young man to vengeful spirit is mostly handled well.
I really loved reading about the time in Babylon. I have no idea how accurate it all is but the author has always managed to wrap me up in the time period whenever she delves into the past (which is a lot) and there is no exception here. She manages to make it both seem similar and utterly different which is a good trick to pull off.
The writing is pretty indulgent, with long sentences and lots of descriptions etc. I’m not usually a fan of that and I did find it a bit grating in places, especially at the start, but she does gradually bring you into the dream she’s making and once the story got going properly it wasn’t as bad. There are a few plot holes as well but didn’t take away from my enjoyment too much. Overall a good read but not one of her best. It’s also a standalone which is a bonus.
3.5 stars rounded down.