Feb 28 17

Prince Lestat and the Realms of Atlantis is the twelfth installment of Anne Rice’s long-running series The Vampire Chronicles. A full cast of familiar characters (alive, dead and undead) are present, interacting with and worshiping the irresistible Lestat de Lioncourt, who is now Prince of all vampires left in existence.

And whatever happens to Lestat, happens to them. This is a key issue in the latest book. Now that Lestat is the host body for Amel – the powerful spirit who represents the magical core of vampirism – he must fight to stay in control and heed the danger he now poses to his kind. It’s a love/hate relationship.

Complicating matters is Lestat’s old enemy, Rhoshamandes, who has discovered the existence of a race of fantastical beings who pose a threat to the entire vampire species. Rice really shows off her imaginative skills with the introduction of these new beings and their origin – and scenes of their wondrous, doomed kingdom.

However, there is a point in the latter part of the story where the pace slows down and rarely picks back up again. For this reason, I wouldn’t recommend the book for any reader who isn’t already a die-hard fan of the series. As for the ending, it was almost too well-resolved – and I didn’t find myself thinking, “What will happen next?”

My favorite parts of the novel were the chapters told from Lestat’s point of view. The scenes between him and his beloved Louis took me back in time to the original books. Of course, most of the characters were, as usual, emotionally expressive. I’ve rarely met a Rice character, male or female, who didn’t pour their hearts out at every opportunity.

Will readers ever get enough of the Brat Prince? Eventually, maybe, but I don’t think I ever will. The esteemed author has hinted at a 13th installment of this popular series. I will have no choice but to read it.

I give Rice’s latest novel 4 out of 5 stars for die-hard fans – and 3 out of 5 stars for new readers.