Reviews provided by Syndetics
Library Journal Review
In this fifth book in the series, Rice brings the Vampire Lestat face to face with both God and the Devil. What can she possibly do for an encore? Rice is usually published in the fall to coincide with Halloween, but the publisher has just bumped this title to July in order to tap the huge summer reading crowd. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Publishers Weekly Review
Rice has made a career out of humanizing creatures of supernatural horror, and in this fifth book of her Vampire Chronicles she requests sympathy for the Devil. Having survived his near-fatal reacquaintance with human mortality in The Tale of the Body Thief (1992), the world-weary vampire Lestat is recruited by the biblical Devil, Memnoch, to help fight a cruel and negligent God. The bulk of the novel is a retelling of the Creation story from the point of view of the fallen angel, who blames his damnation on his refusal to accept human suffering as part of God's divine plan. Rice grapples valiantly with weighty questions regarding the justification of God's ways to man, but their vast scope overwhelms the novel's human dimensions. God and the Devil periodically put on the flesh of mortals, and too often end up sounding like arguing philosophy majors. Meanwhile, the ever-fascinating Lestat, whose poignant personal crisis of faith is mirrored in Memnoch's travails, becomes a passive observer, dragged along on trips to Heaven and Hell before being returned to Earth to relate what he has witnessed. Though Rice boldly probes the significance of death, belief in the afterlife and other spiritual matters, one wishes that she had found a way to address them through the experiences of human and near-human characters, as she has done so brilliantly in the past. One million first printing; BOMC and QPB main selections. (July) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Any book by Rice is a hot commodity, especially in the wake of the movie version of Interview with the Vampire, but even so, a million copy print run for her latest, the fifth in the cultishly beloved Vampire Chronicle series, seems extreme. Rice has brought her suave and deadly hero, the vampire Lestat de Lioncourt, back to center stage at a tricky conjuncture in his long, monstrous life: the murderously powerful and seductive immortal is being stalked by some terrifying force he can't identify. This is interfering with his plans to kill Roger, a handsome drug dealer whose passion for religious art is only exceeded by his love for his daughter Dora, a lithesome televangalist. As Lestat spies on Roger, falls in love with Dora, and tries to figure out who or what is after him, he finds himself in the grip of a spiritual crisis. Yes, this dandyish bloodsucker wants desperately to discover the meaning of life, and, lo and behold, his stalker, Memnoch, the Devil himself, is just the creature to guide him. Memnoch claims that God is merciless and he is compassionate, and he needs Lestat to help him rescue humanity from this vale of tears. Rice routinely fills her novels with tedious pseudotheology, but she really goes overboard here. Not only does Memnoch take Lestat to Heaven where he talks with God, he even takes him back in time to the Crucifixion where the vampire drinks Christ's blood. This clumsily told tale manages to be both ludicrous and offensive. Surely only die-hard Vampire Chronicle fans will be able to stand it, but they, like Rice's monsters, seem to be rampant. (Reviewed June 1 & 15, 1995)0679441018Donna Seaman
Kirkus Book Review
The fifth volume in the Vampire Lestat chronicles (The Tale of the Body Thief, etc.) finds Lestat pitted against the greatest adversaries of his bloody life: God and the Devil. Rice's richly descriptive latestand best plotted of the seriesis less horror novel than a knockoff of Dostoevsky's theological battles. Lestat is obsessed by Roger Flynn, a handsome billionaire cocaine smuggler whom he stalks for months and at last kills and dismembers. Then surprise: Roger's ghost turns up drinking Southern Comfort on a Manhattan barstool beside Lestat. All Roger wants is for Lestat to deliver some laundered cash and a trove of religious relics to his daughter, Dora, a New Orleans televangelist. The relics include a fake Veronica's Veil, perhaps 400 years old. Lestat flies Dora by batpower to Manhattan, shows her the apartment full of Roger's fabulous relics and cash. But Lestat hears the Hound of Heaven chasing him, which is also Memnoch the Devil (Satan), who takes Lestat to Limbo, engages him in cosmic chat about evil, and tries to get him to join him as co-ruler in Hell. Memnoch, a fantastic altruist, fights God for the betterment of mankind, especially for souls in Hell who someday deserve to go upstairs to Heaven. Then, after a huge chat with God, who tries to sign Lestat up for His team, the immortal vampire joins Jesus on the way to Calvary, is given the true Veronica's Veil after Christ imprints his bloody face on it, and has a horrific tour of Hell, full of souls trying to wash away their sins. Will Lestat choose Heaven or Hell? And will he get the real Veronica's Veil back to Dora? Not Christ and the Grand Inquisitor, but a vastly daring change of pace for the atheist Lestat, a tormented Ivan Karamazov tied into spiritual knots and left disbelieving his own senses. (First printing of 1,000,000; Book-of-the-Month Club/Quality Paperback Book Club main selections)