Second Bookses

It's like second breakfast. Only with books.
Blood Canticle - Anne Rice I swear, it isn't intentional. My recent reading of the Beauty trilogy coincidentally led up to picking up Blood Canticle on the bargain rack. I'm a long-time fan of The Vampire Chronicles as well as her tales of the Mayfair Witches, and my lust for this book, the one in which the two series merge, moved it to the top of my reading list.Oh, the horror.::: The Plot :::For those of you who are unfamiliar with Anne Rice's novels, there are two major series: one about vampires starring the Vampire Lestat, and the other about a family of witches. The Vampire Lestat has always been the star of the Vampire Chronicles, creating new vampires, finding the original two vampires, losing his vampire body to a mortal, and journeying to Heaven and Hell.The Mayfair Witches stories involve a rather inbred family of Louisiana witches, who, when certain family members meet, create what is known as the Taltos, a child who unfolds to a full adult upon its birth, knowing its name and the full history of the Taltos, also leaving its human mother unable to bear more children.In Blood Canticle, the story begins with Lestat "saving" the dying Mayfair witch Mona, the most recent bearer of a Taltos. Mona has been dying in a hospital for two years. Of course, before we even get to the plot itself, we are subjected to an over-colloquialized raving from Lestat (who narrates the Chronicles) about his desire to be a saint. And visit the Pope. And be worshipped.Once Mona is made a vampire, we meet Rowan Mayfair, the de facto head of the Mayfair witches and Mayfair Medical, a huge sprawling complex of medical services and research. Rowan bore her own Taltos, a child possessed by the spirit who haunted the Mayfair House, Lasher. For over 100 pages, the reader is held at bay to hear the story of Rowan and Mona and the Taltos, which any devoted reader of the Mayfair Witches stories already knows.Of course, Lestat falls in love with the human Rowan, and in the course of helping Mona and Rowan find out what happened to the remaining Taltos (Mona's daughter Morrigan and the centuries-old "purebred" Taltos Ash who Rowan met in the Mayfair stories), he rids Mona's cousin Quinn's farm of Quinn's mother's ghost (Quinn killed her in the previous Chronicle, Blackwood Farm), contacts Maharet, know the "ruler" of the Vampires, kills druglords and finds out the fate of the Taltos.::: There's Nothing Good Here (Why I Hated It) :::The only good thing about this book is that it is supposed to be the last Vampire Chronicle. I mean that. This is the first book that Rice wrote after the death of her husband, the poet Stan Rice (to whom she dedicates this book) and sorry, Stan, but she dedicated one horrendous book to you.Rice can never seem to find Lestat's voice in the course of this novel, and he goes back and forth from sounding like a ranting raving teenager to the cultured and demanding Lestat we know from Interview with the Vampire, to some crazy hormones-raging young adult. At points, Lestat, who has always been enamored with new things, acts like he's about to join the Society for Creative Anachronism and ignore all new technology by refusing to learn how to email.Rice also can't seem to find the character of Mona anywhere in this book. The Mona we met in the Mayfair books was a child genius. She was sexually precocious, but at the same time, almost a small adult. In Blood Canticle, Mona is a vacuous slut, flitting about almost willy-nilly, crying at the drop of a hat, baiting Lestat, and wearing odd slutty clothes that belonged to Quinn's Aunt Queen. The Mona Mayfair that Mayfair Witches fans knew and loved is gone.Worst of all is Rice's plot construction. The first half of the book drags on endlessly, making you wonder if the book is even going to have a conclusion or just end ambiguously, leaving the reader to find the fate of the Taltos in some forthcoming book. But much like an old rickety roller coaster, the climb is much longer than the descent. The plot contrivances that Rice uses to get Mona, Quinn, and Lestat to where they will find the fate of the Taltos are numerous, unbelievable, and far too convenient, and for good measure, Rice tosses in a gratuitous sex scene. I actually laughed out loud at the conclusion of this book.::: Why You Should Thank Me :::I wanted to quit reading this book by the end of Chapter 1. Really. I kept reading it only to find out how Rice would merge the series and so I could write this review. It has NEVER taken me a week to read a book this short, but I could only read it in small doses; sometimes a page or two were all I could manage in one sitting.I'm not sure if Rice has lost her touch or I've simply outgrown her, but my disappointment in this book is crushing. As a long-time Rice fan, I have to say this book is best suited to use as toilet paper. This review previously published at Epinions: http://www.epinions.com/review/Blood_Canticle_by_Anne_Rice/content_148294241924

Currently reading

Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell
Susanna Clarke
Elisabeth Sladen: The Autobiography
Elisabeth Sladen, David Tennant
Diary of a Submissive: A Modern True Tale of Sexual Awakening
Sophie Morgan
Bellman & Black
Diane Setterfield
Deep into the Heart of a Rose
G.T. Denny