Interview with the Vampire

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Interview with the Vampire

By:  Anne Rice
Published: 
1976
# of pages:  342
Series:  The Vampire Chronicles (#1)

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Goodreads description:

This is the story of Louis, as told in his own words, of his journey through mortal and immortal life. Louis recounts how he became a vampire at the hands of the radiant and sinister Lestat and how he became indoctrinated, unwillingly, into the vampire way of life. His story ebbs and flows through the streets of New Orleans, defining crucial moments such as his discovery of the exquisite lost young child Claudia, wanting not to hurt but to comfort her with the last breaths of humanity he has inside. Yet, he makes Claudia a vampire, trapping her womanly passion, will, and intelligence inside the body of a small child. Louis and Claudia form a seemingly unbreakable alliance and even “settle down” for a while in the opulent French Quarter. Louis remembers Claudia’s struggle to understand herself and the hatred they both have for Lestat that sends them halfway across the world to seek others of their kind. Louis and Claudia are desperate to find somewhere they belong, to find others who understand, and someone who knows what and why they are.

Louis and Claudia travel Europe, eventually coming to Paris and the ragingly successful Theatre des Vampires – a theatre of vampires pretending to be mortals pretending to be vampires. Here they meet the magnetic and ethereal Armand, who brings them into a whole society of vampires. But Louis and Claudia find that finding others like themselves provides no easy answers and in fact presents dangers they scarcely imagined.

Review:  At the beginning of October I traveled to my cousin’s wedding in New Orleans, Louisiana.  I couldn’t resist bringing Interview with the Vampire along.  I watched the movie many years ago, but I’d never read the book.  It was awesome being able to see places in the city that I had just read about in the book.  However, the book was way too wordy for me to thoroughly enjoy.

Louis tells the story of how he was a young man enjoying his life on a Louisiana plantation.  After an unexpected tragedy, he meets Lestat, who turns him into a vampire.  Louis is confused about his new way of life and has no one except Lestat to tell him how he must and should behave.  Louis soon learns that he seems to have retained much of his humanity, unlike his creator.  Later, Lestat makes a vampire of Claudia, a young girl.  Claudia and Louis are close companions and try to figure out how to navigate life in their immortal bodies.

The concept of the book is really neat and I would like to know what happens to the present day Louis who is being interviewed, but like I said before, the book is very wordy.  Sometimes the action was hard to follow because of the way it was told in a very thoughtful, eloquent, lengthy way.  Apparently some people really love this book, but I found it hard to keep picking up to read more.

Why I gave this book 3/5 stars:  Neat concept (especially in the 70s before the vampire theme was popular), inspiring character in Louis, way too wordy and meandering.

Sunbolt

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Sunbolt

By:  Intisar Khanani
Published:  2013
# of pages: 
142
Series:  The Sunbolt Chronicles (#1)
Challenge:  Monthly Motif (Feb. – 1 word title), Full House (<250 pgs)

4Stars

Goodreads description:

The winding streets and narrow alleys of Karolene hide many secrets, and Hitomi is one of them. Orphaned at a young age, Hitomi has learned to hide her magical aptitude and who her parents really were. Most of all, she must conceal her role in the Shadow League, an underground movement working to undermine the powerful and corrupt Arch Mage Wilhelm Blackflame.

When the League gets word that Blackflame intends to detain—and execute—a leading political family, Hitomi volunteers to help the family escape. But there are more secrets at play than Hitomi’s, and much worse fates than execution. When Hitomi finds herself captured along with her charges, it will take everything she can summon to escape with her life.

My opinion:  Wow!  An author friend of mine recommended this book to me a few months ago and I put it on my TBR list.  I put off reading it because it wasn’t available at my local library.  Now that I have a Kindle I was able to buy it for 99 cents so I went ahead and bought it.  I wasn’t expecting too much.  The book doesn’t have many reviews on Goodreads and it isn’t very well known.  However, I was very pleasantly surprised by this novella that takes the somewhat overdone young adult fantasy genre and slightly twisted it into something more unique.

The story is about a teenager named Hitomi who works with an group that secretly fights back against the corrupt ruler who has taken over Hitomi’s land.  Hitomi soon finds herself caught up in more than she bargained for when she joined the Shadow League.  She’s far from home, surrounded by dangerous strangers, and is forced to use her hidden powers more than she ever has before.

I loved the relationships and interactions in this book.  Hitomi is reckless, but you can see her growth throughout the novel as she becomes more thoughtful while still retaining her bravery.  I also liked that she isn’t perfect.  In one part of the book she makes a choice that haunts her afterwards.  I completely understand why she made the choice, but also why she later regrets that choice.  I think it’s what most of us would do in her situation.

I can’t wait to read the next book in the series, but I’m very sad that the series isn’t complete even though this book was published 5 years ago.  I recommend to adults and young adults, especially if you’re a fantasy fan.

Why I gave this book 4/5 stars:  Unique story, understandable and likable characters, well written.  I just wish it was longer!

Top Ten Tuesday – Creepy Books

toptentuesdayA weekly meme by The Broke & The Bookish

It’s my first time participating in Top Ten Tuesday and it’s a Halloween freebie day.  So here’s my top 10 creepy books in no particular order:

  1. Rebecca  by: Daphne du Maurier
    594139This is a classic tale about a young woman who moves to a remote estate after marriage.  She soon becomes suspicious of the house’s occupants and starts to investigate.  This wasn’t super creepy, but I do remember feeling concern and suspense as the main character goes about her investigation.

  2. The Shining  by: Stephen King
    11588This is one of the scariest books I’ve ever read!  It wasn’t just the obvious scary parts (although those scared me), but I was also very creeped out by Jack’s mental state as he remembers the past and processes his present circumstances.  Remember the “Friends” episode where Joey tells Rachel to read The Shining? 🙂 

  3. Black-Eyed Susans  by: Julia Heaberlin
    23746004I read this mystery last year for the R.I.P. challenge, and it definitely grabbed my attention.  I couldn’t wait to find out what happened next and sympathize with the character who knew something wasn’t right, but couldn’t always explain or prove what was wrong.
     

  4. The Woman in Black  by: Susan Hill
    37034This is a great classic Gothic novel!  I haven’t seen the movie, but this book is a great story that grabs the reader’s imagination, but doesn’t go overboard and cause nightmares.
  5. The Historian  by: Elizabeth Kostova
    10692Once again, this isn’t incredibly creepy, but it’s very atmospheric and leaves a lasting impression on the reader.  The main character is on a search for Dracula so you can imagine that there’s some suspense to be found within the novel’s 700 pages.
  6. Frankenstein  by: Mary Shelley
    18490This novel is probably expected to be on a creepy book list, but I wouldn’t say it’s as scary as people who think about the typical Frankenstein’s monster think.  Not only is the idea of a “monster” on a quest for revenge a scary thought, but the concepts of creating life and the responsibility of that creation is disturbing.
  7. The Quick  by: Lauren Owen
    18050175I would like to read this book again.  It has some chilling and suspenseful moments as well as being an interesting story.  A woman searches for her missing brother in Victorian England and discovers mysterious and dangerous people in the process.
  8. Bird Box  by: Josh Malerman
    18498558Wow, this post apocalyptic story had some very suspenseful moments!  There were times where I couldn’t put the book down.  It was easy to feel scared and horrified along with the blindfolded character.
     

  9. House of Leaves  by: Mark Z. Danielewski
    337907I didn’t enjoy all of this story, but it sure was creepy!  Also, creepy things kept happening to me while reading this book and I was beginning to think the curse at the beginning of the book was real.
  10. Dracula  by: Bram Stoker
    17245Like the previous book on the list, I didn’t enjoy the whole book overall, but it also had some memorable creepy moments that have stuck with me over the years.  It’s a classic and, like Frankenstein, worth reading just because of how influential it has been on modern culture.

 

 

What’s a creepy book you’ve read?  I’m always looking for ideas for the annual R.I.P. challenge and I actually enjoy suspense any time of the year!

Sunshine

Sunshine by: Robin McKinley

Published: 2003

# of pages: 416

I read this in 2007 and it became one of my all time favorite books. I put it on my Christmas list this past year and someone gave it to me. I decided it was about time to re-read it!

Unfortunately, I was disappointed the second time around. I remember the first time I read it it took me awhile to get into it. I was a little confused about the world it was set in since it differs so much from the other books I read by McKinley. But I loved it by the time it was over. The second time I read it it seemed to drag so much. Like Chalice, there was so much rambling and little dialogue. I can’t think why I didn’t notice that the first time I read it. To be fair, I don’t read so much these days and when I do read it’s in bits and pieces. I read while I nurse Evan, during commercials, in the bathroom, and maybe (just maybe) I will sit and actually give my attention to a book for awhile in the evenings. So it’s really hard to “get into” a novel and I think that Sunshine is one of those that you have to read all at once to really appreciate the characters and story.

What’s good about this book??? There’s a lot of great stuff! I can still see why I loved this book so much the first time I read it. It’s a great story that has flavoring from one of my favorite fairy tales (and, I suspect, one of McKinley’s favorites as well), “Beauty and the Beast.” It’s about a human (well, we think she’s human anyway) who meets a vampire, the most feared creature of the Others.

The world is an alternate Earth which has been transformed by the Voodoo Wars and in which magic and “Others” (vampires, weres, demons, etc) exist. Sunshine is the main character and she works at a coffee shop that is owned by her stepfather. She is abducted by vampires at the beginning of the novel and ends up meeting Constantine (Con), a different kind of vampire. The two form an alliance, one that forms a lasting bond between them. Sunshine spends the novel trying to balance her life as a low key baker with her family and boyfriend, Mel, and as a friend to a vampire and a magic handler.

Con and Sunshine form a plan to strike back at the vampire who abducted Sunshine and although she is scared, she makes preparations and strengthens her relationship with Con before they take action. The last part of the novel is my favorite part. Even after not enjoying the book the second time around, I still loved this last part! Con is one of my favorite characters, I just love him! He actually reminds me a lot of the master in Chalice and from what I can remember, the beast in Beauty. I guess I just all around love McKinley’s male characters!

Anyway, I definitely recommend this to lovers of fantasy and fans of McKinley! I wish I could say I loved this book just as much as I did before, but that wouldn’t be the truth. However, I hope it’s because of my bad reading habits these days. There’s some bad language and sexual content, but it doesn’t overwhelm the novel. However, I wouldn’t say it’s appropriate for young adults.

Have you reviewed this? Let me know and I’d be happy to post yours as well.

The Historian

The Historian
by: Elizabeth Kostova

Published: 2005

# of pages: 720

I didn’t know what to expect from this book, but I was pleased with what I discovered. This is a great classic vampire book. It isn’t filled with sexuality and bad language, it’s just a good suspense novel that is also a unique historical fiction book.

The story is crazy with the many different characters and how the time line jumps back and forth. However, the main character and narrator is a 16 year old girl who discovers a strange book in her father’s library. After that, her life is never the same as she learns about her father’s strange past that includes mystery, love, adventure, and vampires.

The book centers around Dracula and includes a lot of historical facts about the man the character Dracula is based on. The book has several settings – including America, Amsterdam, Britain, Istanbul, Romania, and Bulgaria. I wonder how many of the things mentioned in the book are true (like about the search for Dracula’s tomb, historical events, etc). I also wonder how many of the places are real. Maybe they are all real, I’ll have to do more research to figure it out.

The book refers to the novel Dracula by Bram Stoker regularly, so that may be worth reading before picking up this novel, but isn’t necessary to read first. I also thought it was interesting that the novel Tess of the d’Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy was briefly referred to, but once again, it isn’t necessary to read that to understand the reference.

This is a very long book, but it mostly held my attention. I have to admit, in the 3rd quarter of the book I became a little bogged down. However, it may have been because I only had time to read it in short spurts. Maybe it wouldn’t have dragged if I could have devoted longer periods of time to reading it. It was definitely worth continuing to read it though and I highly recommend this book to lovers of historical fiction and/or the vampire genre.

Other reviews:
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Have you reviewed this? Let me know and I’d be happy to post yours as well.

Daylight

Daylight by: Elizabeth Knox

Published: 2003

# of pages: 368

I like the idea of vampire stories, but I don’t like most vampire books. With the exception of the Twilight sage, Sunshine by Robin McKinley, and Dracula, I have yet to read a vampire book that I really like. Unfortunately Daylight has joined the ranks of bad vampire books.

The story is about a man named Bad, a caver and policeman, who is caught up in a complicated web of relationships after he helps retrieve a body from the ocean that is floating below a cliff. All of the characters in this book are related in some way. It’s actually neat how Knox ties them all together. I was fascinated by the characters of Father Daniel Octave, Ila, and Martine. Other than that, I didn’t like many of the other characters. I think my favorite character was Martine even though she doesn’t play a big part in the book. She was a good person and didn’t fall into the disgusting habits that her friends were engaged in. That’s another reason I liked Ila, he was trying to follow Martine’s example. I did not like Dawn whatsoever. She had no self control and I felt like she was really selfish.

The entire story is very vague and there isn’t much dialogue. Knox narrates the dialogue. I personally don’t like this method of writing. I like to hear things “firsthand” and decide for myself if a character is angry, sarcastic, mysterious, etc. I don’t like being told all of that without any evidence. I’m not sure if I’m making myself clear, but I felt like it was hard to really get into the story and understand the characters because they don’t have much of a personality, mainly because the reader doesn’t “see” them speaking much.

However, I did like the idea of the story. I only wish it had been told a little better. I almost gave this 3 stars because I liked the way vampires and saints were placed side by side, but the narration and vague timeline gave the book an uncomfortable feel which outweighed the story’s potential. Overall, I only recommend this book to vampire lovers and people who don’t mind bad language and sex scenes. Also, I think people who appreciate and enjoy unconventional writing styles would also appreciate this book.

Marked

Marked by: P.C. Cast & Kristin Cast

Series: House of Night (book 1)

Challenges: TBR Challenge

Published: 2007

# of pages: 306

My quest for a vampire book besides Twilight to recommend to my teenage sister continues! The idea behind this book was a great one. However, with all of the bad language and bad attitudes in this book, I won’t be telling my sister or any other teenage girl about this one. The writing style was also annoying. The authors included parentheses throughout the narrative with their own opinions. Thankfully these opinions are good (for example, doing drugs is bad, sleeping around is bad, starving yourself is bad, etc). Apparently using the F work repeatedly is not bad though. The authors tried too hard to make this a teenage book and it came off sounding forced.

The only good things about the book is that it had a fairly unique storyline (although they borrowed some parts from the movie “Mean Girls”, including a gay guy named Damien and the whole lunchroom scene) and the protagonist does become a little more serious and grown up towards the end of the novel. Thankfully the “Mean Girls” scenes didn’t continue throughout the book. I was afraid it would be a retelling of that movie for awhile there.

Overall, I wouldn’t recommend this book to young adults because of the bad language and sexual content and I wouldn’t recommend it to adults because of the annoying teenage attitudes among other things.