Book Review: Prince Lestat and the Realms of Atlantis
Many years ago, Anne Rice was my introduction to vampires. I don't read extensively in the genre (since I'm not huge on romance), but Rice's vampires were always these tragic, heart-rendingly beautiful figures that I couldn't help but fall in love with. (For the record, Marius is my favorite.) I've read several, though not all, of her Vampire Chronicles over the years, and I was pleased with the recent Prince Lestat, enjoying the dive into vampire history.
So when I saw she'd written a direct sequel, I picked it up - even though "Atlantis" in the title gave me pause.
Prince Lestat and the Realms of Atlantis follows Lestat, now the ruler of the vampire tribe, as he learns more about the spirit Amel. As he and the other vampires debate Amel's origin and intentions, they have to deal with four inhuman beings that have appeared around the world who, like them, cannot die.
Basically, this is the plot:
Rice's books all tend to deal largely in flashbacks and recounted memories, with very little actual action. That pattern continues here, since so much of the story is focused on Amel's origin and the four aliens who were sent to corral him, resulting in the destruction of Atlantis. If you're the type of person who needs a high-octane plot, this book will bother you (but then, I doubt you'd have made it through all the prior books needed to understand this one.)
Personally, it doesn't bother me if the characters are well-drawn; I actually enjoy the style of fictionalized memoirs. And Rice sells the Atlantis aspect pretty well, all told. I found the arrogance of the aliens pretty astounding, but that doesn't ruin the book since they're painted as the bad guys. Parts of the climax are even rather heart-warming, which you don't often see in Rice's work.
The four inhumans were the biggest flaw for me, because it was very hard to understand what they wanted and why. It's alluded to several times that they could cause big problems for the vampires, yet there's no real resolution other than their promise that they'll play nice. A close second would be the ongoing subplot around the ghosts, which didn't get any resolution after being introduced. Perhaps she's saving it for a future book?
That being said, I was happy to see some closure for Rhoshamandes. His anger toward Lestat was a big loose end that needed tying up, and Rice does that here rather neatly.
In the end, you really can't read Prince Lestat and the Realms of Atlantis unless you've read a certain critical mass of the other Vampire Chronicles books. If you're a fan of the series, you'll find this one fairly enjoyable, even when it stretches plausibility. Though by no means her strongest book, It's a satisfying installment that addresses many of the problems created by its predecessor.