Author Anne Rice
Publisher Ballantine Books
Teaser/Reader Annotation When reporter Daniel Molloy follows Louis into the hotel room that night he thought he would be getting an ordinary interview. Instead, he gets told the tale of the life of a two-hundred year old vampire.
Plot Summary The first in the Vampire Chronicles series, this novel tells the tale of the vampire Louis' 200-year lifespan, beginning with his mortal life as a New Orleans plantation owner. Overcome with grief from his brother's tragic passing, Louis began to seek death wherever he could hope to find it. Instead, he found immortal life in the form of the lonely vampire Lestat. Following his transformation into a vampire, Louis begins a confused journey trying to find his new place in the world and what it means for his soul. At first unable to feed from humans, subsisting on the blood of animals but not truly living, it takes a long while for Louis to come to terms with his vampire nature but finds Lestat's attitude toward humans revolting. Fearing the withdrawal of his companion, Lestat changes a young girl named Claudia into a vampire to be their daughter and chain Louis to him. The change of one so young, however, brings with it many perils – both from external and internal sources. After a dangerous and deadly confrontation with Lestat, Louis and Claudia flee to Europe to seek the answers he refused to give. What they find is danger.
Critical Evaluation Anne Rice's dark, philosophical novel hits all the harder as told from the point of view of the horrifyingly sympathetic and all-too-human Louis. While readers may want to hate and fear him for his vampire nature, they are unable to break from his seductive personality and are, instead, drawn even further into his world. The prose is almost poetic at times, rich and full of detail, but carefully keeps from going over-the-top. Beyond Louis, the characters are horrifying and foreign but still reflect broken pieces of humanity, creating an intricate balance of real and mythical. Unlike other vampire novels both of the past and present, Anne Rice drew upon the true original – Stoker's Dracula – for inspiration in blending a Victorian feel in with the almost erotic nature of the vampires she created. The story has a rich feel wrapped up in the horror, leaving the reader to examine the nature of their own lives. It is because of this that so many teenagers have connected with this novel from its release in 1976 to the present day.
About the Author Anne Rice, the pseudonym for Howard Allen O'Brien, was born October 4, 1941 in New Orleans. After spending the majority of her life in various areas of the United States, she returned to the city in 1989 and lived there until 2004 when she moved to Rancho Mirage, California. She has kept a personal tie with the city of New Orleans throughout her life, and many of her novels – including several in The Vampire Chronicles – are set there.
While the majority of her renown comes from the twelve-volume Vampire Chronicles series, she has written a number of other novels. The majority of her works deal with the paranormal, vampires and witches, she also wrote three erotic novels under another pseudonym. In 2004, however, she returned to her Roman Catholic roots and now writes only religious novels.
Primary Genre Paranormal
Secondary Genre Horror
Curriculum Ties History, English
1) What are some of the ways the nature of evil is explored throughout the book? Is it truly a black and white concept, according to Anne Rice?
2) How does Rice use vampires to explore the nature of humanity?
Reading Level/Interest Age This is an adult-fiction cross-over novel. I would recommend it for high-grade readers ages fifteen and up.
Challenge Issues violence, homosexual undertones
1) Become familiar with book and its content.
2) Refer to library's collection policies.
3) Refer to reviews from School Library Journal, Amazon, and Barnes & Nobles.
4) Get reviews from teenagers who are familiar with the book.
Why is it included? This book has been a favorite of mine since I was fifteen.