Wow! It’s almost been a year since I’ve read any Anne Rice, but I decided to get back to reading the series in chronological order. When I left off last August, I had read book V, Memnoch the Devil, which left off with a shocking cliffhanger. I had already read this book back in high school, but it’s been so long that I actually felt as if I was reading it for the first time. In this 6th book of Rice’s Chronicles of the Vampires, the reader learns more about Armand who we first met in Interview With the Vampire. Here’s the official synopsis according to Goodreads:
Armand until now has played a small role in the Vampire Chronicles. Here he assumes center stage, relating his five hundred years of life to fledgling vampire David Talbot, who plays amanuensis to Armand as he did to Lestat … It’s not just the epic plot but Rice’s voluptuary worldview that’s the main attraction … Elegant narrative has always been her hallmark … Rice is equally effective in showing how Armand eventually loses his religion and becomes “the vagabond angel child of Satan,” living under Paris cemeteries and foundling the Grand Guignol-ish Theatre des Vampires. In the twentieth century, a rehabilitated Armand regains faith but falls in love with two children who save his life. By the conclusion of Armand, the pupil has become the mentor.
I really enjoyed reading this. Maybe it’s because I didn’t remember it like I did the previous five books, so I wasn’t constantly waiting for things to happen. In the previous books, Armand always came off as a bit of an ass or a creep, but it turns out to be untrue. He’s just very sensitive and filled with a bit of an annoyance of being trapped in a 17 year old’s body for eternity. In this book, we finally learn more about his story aside from what Armand previously told Lestat in The Vampire Lestat. This story is filled with love, learning, and loss, but also with a sense of hope and faith that is usually lacking in the other novels. Lestat is still my favorite narrator, though, as I find Louis too depressing and Armand too much of a cry baby. If you are going to read this series, I suggest you start with the first book, but because they always go over past events, it’s not a necessity.