cloudsinvenice: text: "Armand Survivors Club" over a blender full of unappetising green goop (Armand Survivors Club: green goo)
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I've been meaning to do this for a while, but it was delayed by illness, work and sheer exhaustion. Brace yourselves, mes amis - it's the giant chapter-by-chapter Prince Lestat post! Or, to be honest, it's the first of several posts, because I want to get this thing rolling and not wait until I've commented on the whole thing. Also, I doubt that LiveJournal's post size limit can cope unless I split this thing up. I'll probably do it based on the sections of the book, but we'll see how things shake out.

Content note: sex, IVF, decapitation.



Blood Genesis
Blood Argot

I'm honestly not against this stuff. She is stretching things a bit to say the book works as a standalone (I really think you'd care a lot more if you'd read the series already), but having a roundup of previous events and a glossary is not at all unusual in fantasy novels, and I remember that the one Necroscope novel I read had something similar. Granted, it would make more sense to have this section and then not have characters keep recapping stuff in the story itself...

I'm not against Blood Wife/Spouse per se, though "spouse" makes me think of filling in official forms. Not sure why she didn't just go with Blood Husband. Oh, and I imagine the "Queens Blood" being inspired by the Kingsguard of GoT.


Part I

THE VAMPIRE LESTAT

1. The Voice

I still think this chapter works really well - Lestat's voice sounds right, The Voice is tantalising and menacing, and - to contradict what I just said above - a lovely concise summary of all the shit that happened in the earlier books which might actually have reduced the need for the earlier recap. Also, there's material here that wasn't included in the sample version of the chapter which appeared in newly published editions of the first three books.

I really enjoy how Lestat talks about Armand - the perfect, wary mix of acerbic and admiring. I'm torn when Lestat says so much of what he wrote before was wrong. On one hand, yes, let his thinking evolve. On the other, please don't throw out the baby with the bathwater.

I like the feeding scene. I'm just not seeing the big deal about "And lo, she was dead." Lestat uses flourishes like that self-consciously; it's not like he thinks it's an actual current expression. Anyway, Lestat's angst over the blood hunger works; I know some people want to see him un-depressed, but I figure that if he has to be depressed, at least it's well written.

I wonder why Lestat can't find his friends as easily as he could before - reluctance to reach out, because reaching out makes him noticable to others? Tough breaks, kid.

2. Benji Mahmoud

Hey, Benji got a surname! Or did he have one already? We had some good discussion on Tumblr a while back on what people disliked about Benji in The Vampire Armand, and it's interesting to see how that gets addressed here. Benji's "flat-out kidnap[ping]" by Sybelle's brother has now metamorphosed into his being "hired and imported".

"Of course Armand was furious, felt betrayed, deplored that the human lives of his charges had been cut short, etcetera, but Marius had done the
only thing that could be done with two humans who were living for all practical purposes in Our World and fast losing taste for any other.

Human wards like that are hostages to fortune. And Armand should have known that, that some vampire enemy or other was going to knock off one or the other or both of these two young people just to get at Armand. That’s the way such things can too easily go."


Lestat says something here that's interesting for two reasons: First, Armand should indeed know this, because he's big on using mortals (or vulnerable fledglings) to get at other vampires: see his kidnap of Nicolas, and the murder of Claudia, which he allowed to happen even if he didn't actually orchestrate it. Second: Lestat is giving some advice here which, as we soon find out, he is flatly contradicting in his own life by keeping Rose as a ward. Granted, he doesn't live with her, but we're in classic "do as I say, not as I do" territory.

Anyway, this is the chapter where the impossible happened and I actually started to like Benji. I know, I know, but seriously: how often in the VC has a one-note plot device character actually developed and had a worthwhile function in a subsequent book? Okay, so I find the "Little Man" thing twee (there's a very specific Ricean brand of twee, and this exemplifies it), and in light of the aforementioned race issues I can't decide if it's unfortunate or merely realistic that adults so easily take Benji for a small adult - there is a genuine, racist phenomenon of black children being read as older/tougher/more threatening/more criminal than white children of the same age, and I wonder whether Benji, as an Arab, would also experience this. He is of course intentionally cultivating an adult appearance, and I don't think Anne Rice put the real-life connotations in there deliberately; I think she just really needed Benji to be read as adult to explain why nobody sees this kid running around NYC alone at night and calls social services, but it's something I can't not think about in terms of real-life race relations. ETA: I wrote this post before hearing the news. I'm really, really horrified. I don't know what else to say but I feel uncomfortable not acknowledging the grotesque relevance that the example I gave has acquired.

What I like about Benji is that he's reached the I Hate You, Vampire Dad stage of being a young immortal, and calling out his elders for their apparent lack of fucks given about all the problems among vampires. I like that he's carved out a piece of vampire culture for himself and done something that hasn't quite been done before - yes, Lestat communicated with other vampires via the mass media, but he used as it a megaphone, whereas Benji's using it for an actual conversation.

He's given young vampires a collective rallying point, but it's one that they contribute to, and their contemporary vampire slang gets broadcast as well as Lestat's old stories and stock phrases. Essentially, Benji's given vampires a participatory culture, and it was probably about time someone did that. I also like that Lestat bristles at being lumped in with the disconnected, uninterested elders ("I'm a brat by anybody's standards, a reckless kid!") - but hey, Lestat, if the (probably Armani) cap fits...

3. Fareed and Seth

An important detail: Lestat meets Fareed and Seth in 1994, after the Body Thief but before Memnoch. I'll have to refer to a decent timeline to see whether this fits established facts, but I believe it does.

When Lestat says, "They can cloak their minds, these antique monsters..." I can't help thinking of Shelley's "traveller from an antique land". I swear, I'm not such an apologist for this book that I'm trying to elevate the prose to the level of Shelley; I just love this particular usage of "antique". ANYWAY:

It's interesting to see a pairing of so... ancient an ancient and a contemporary fledgling. Speaks to Seth being fully in the world, or wanting to be, as opposed to just watching it go by. I like the reference to the heartbeat the ancients can't mask, and the faint sound "like an engine purring" - it's good consistency with, for instance, Blood and Gold, in which Pandora was alarmed to approach Marius's house in Dresden because she could hear that TWMBK were present.

My god, the shorter of the two is "a good six feet in height!" I wish sometimes that her definition of attractiveness, and therefore the visual variety of her cast, wasn't so narrow, but more of that much later. It is at least progress that we do get so many characters of colour in this book, and moreover, that they're not one-dimensional villains. This feels like her responding to criticisms she's aware of, and I'm glad of it.

Lestat is emotional on meeting them, which again rings true for a portrayal of someone so depressed that they've isolated themself very effectively. Connection is overwhelming.

Fareed, of course, did not die in any ordinary circumstances - he was plotted against by his wife and a fellow medical researcher! He was in a locked-in coma. The VC as a series does love its extremes.

Seth "can't understand the science of these times". Okay, so maybe he's been out of circulation for a while, you think. And he's wise enough to have questioned why the vampire community lacks doctors and scientists, and done something about it. Now that we get to see Fareed and Seth's lab facility, it seems ridiculous that we've never heard of such a thing before. Not that Lestat's wrong to point out that the principle of strategically transforming scientists into vampires could be abused by a tyrant. If anything, Lestat, whose imagination (we'll soon learn) balks at modern science, is very quick to see the possibilities of vampire weapons makers (probably nobody should turn Tony Stark), pharmacologists, "whatever is needed to wreak havoc on the existing technological world." It's also not just about the kind of experts that could be recruited for the Blood; it's about the possibility that good vampire scientists might confine their efforts to vampires, but bad ones could be recruited specifically to fuck with human society.

This is a chapter of ideas, and that's bracing after so many years of vampire biographies. The word senescence gets thrown around a lot, and it can refer to both cell ageing and the ageing of a whole organism. Interestingly, Wikipedia says the following:

Senescence is not the inevitable fate of all organisms. Organisms of some taxonomic groups (taxa), including some animals, even experience chronological decrease in mortality, for all or part of their life cycle.

So maybe Anne Rice has been poking around on Wikipedia and news items about ageing (the implications of it ARE in the news a lot now) and getting ideas that way. She's also a woman in her 70s, so it's not particularly surprising that ageing would become a focus of her interest in terms of the vampires. Fareed's words are a game-changer: he tells Lestat, "We're very much alive, all of us." That the vampire is a living - not dead or undead - organism, and that what's happening between the vampire organism and the Amel organism (basically a parasite/host relationship) is a very gradual transformation to make the host more suitable for the parasite. This echoes Khayman's chapter from The Queen of the Damned, in which - at 6000 years old - he is conscious that his body is still being transformed by the blood (it is not yet the Blood), and is very different from that of younger vampires:

"But never mind these superficial matters, they were very different from him. They were nothing as hard and white, to begin with. In fact they were made up of so much soft human tissue that they were animated corpses still. Beguilingly pink and weak. And how they needed the blood of their victims. Why, they were suffering agonies of thirst right now. And surely this was their fate nightly. Because the blood had to work endlessly on all the soft human tissue. It worked not merely to animate the tissue, but to convert it slowly into something else.

As for him, he was all made up of that something else. He had no soft human tissue left. Though he lusted for blood, it was not needed for this conversion. Rather he realized suddenly that the blood merely refreshed him, increased his telepathic powers, his ability to fly, or to travel out of his body, or his prodigious strength. Ah, he understood it! For the nameless power that worked in all of them, he was now a nearly perfected host."


So the science of Fareed and Seth is really not a new thing, but a development of ideas she was already working on in QotD. That being the case, it's worth noting that Khayman in that book had no difficulty understanding modern science - it's stated that nothing in the modern era surprises him, and his powers allow him to understand the principles behind machines in a way that mortals cannot. However, Fareed firmly puts the kibosh on that idea here.

Fareed offers Lestat the chance to have sex. The books have been extremely contradictory about whether this is possible for vampires - there's a passage in QotD about, I think, Priapus at the gate, which implies that they can get erections but not have sex, and in Pandora we're told that they can fit Tab A into Slot B but it doesn't mean anything to them in sensual terms (quoting from memory: "The lower organs meant nothing.") For anyone who likes to keep track of these things, there are also apparent vampire erections in The Vampire Armand and Blackwood Farm. But it's all for naught to people who've had the experience of drinking the blood of others, in perhaps the same way that a grain of sugar is no longer quite so tantalising to the tongue when you have the option of pouring a whole bag of Skittles into your mouth. Taste the rainbow, indeed.

I digress. Lestat is enthusiastic (if blushing), and we drop down for a while into some kind of 70s sci-fi camp setting, in which there's a woman behind one-way glass in a bed. She looks familiar to Lestat in a way that briefly made me wonder if Rowan had resurfaced (how many scientists are there in this world willing to get it on with vampires?), but nope. Lestat briefly remembers how he'd "enjoyed the company of two beautiful women" back in TTOTBT, but neglects to mention that he raped the first one. Lovely.

I have to flash forward here. The result of Lestat's coupling with Flannery Gilman will be a biological son named Viktor, who will be referred to as Lestat's "clone". I had at first thought that this was innaccurate - he was conceived with and born to Flannery; therefore he is the product of her egg and Lestat's sperm, whereas a clone would be created using Lestat sperm and a hollowed-out egg which did not contain genetic information itself. The clone would indeed be a copy of Lestat. We're given the impression that Viktor is instead the result of an ordinary conception, pregnancy and birth. However, on re-reading, I see the folllowing line:

"“You may couple with her, in which case I shall take the sample from her,” Fareed
explained."


This seems, frankly, like a messy hassle, and it raises odd questions:

1. If Fareed only wanted Lestat's sperm, he could have Lestat wear a condom and take the sample from that afterwards. He could then place that sperm in an empty egg and implant the resulting... zygote is probably not the right term in the circumstances... into Flannery for the pregnancy.

2. If Fareed wanted Lestat's sperm to fertilise Flannery's egg and form a zygote which would then implant in the usual way, he had only to leave Flannery to it and monitor any resulting pregnancy.

3. The other option is that he wanted to harvest Lestat's sperm and freeze it so that he could make multiple attempts at IVF in order to have the best possible chance of a pregnancy. This seems the most likely option, though it would still make more sense, to my mind, to use the condom method.

The question raised is what his ultimate intentions are. If he indeed required a clone of Lestat, the obvious motive is to compare a human who has been changed by the Blood with an exact copy of that human, who has not. It would be the best way, presumably, to determine exactly what changes happen in vampirism. Of course, in light of the book's denouement, one has to hope that Fareed had completed all his tests on Viktor...

Anyway. We learn that plenty of scientists have tried and failed to prove to the world that vampires exist, generally stymied by the absurdity of the idea and the tendency of captured vampires to murder their captors and destroy the evidence. I like this - it makes far more sense than the idea that, of all the vampires in the world (especially now, with such an unsustainably large population), none has ever found him/herself in a police lockup after dawn, or been hospitalised while weak and starving, or any of the other circumstances one can easily imagine that would lead to their being studied scientifically.

Lestat hunts with Fareed and Seth, and it's noted that Seth is "a ruthless killer. The ancient ones almost always are." I think 'brutal' would be a better word than ruthless - he physically crushes his victim's body, wanting to get at the bloody essence. Afterwards, he composes what's left of the corpse, reshaping its parts, in a manner that seems to have ritual significance. The ancients' tendency to physically destroy their victims was noted as far back as QotD, in which Khayman was described as having this tendency, and in Pandora, David witnesses Pandora pulling out the heart itself and drinking from it. I have nothing to add to this; I just think it's fascinating and noteworthy.

We hear for the first time that the force Akasha made to fight the First Brood and their army was called the Queens Blood (I think Anne Rice had ASOIAF/GoT's Kingsguard in mind here). Seth is of the Queens Blood, but is also her biological son, born when she was mortal. He is apparently not Enkil's son, which is interesting - I would need to dig through QotD, but the implication is that Akasha had a previous husband who had died in the land she came from (modern Iran). This is quite a big piece of retroactive continuity, but manageable because such a child would have no claim on the throne in (then) Kemet - Enkil was the king, and it was presumably his bloodline that mattered. I would imagine that Enkil might not personally favour the child, but would not have any reason to, say, kill him.

Seth travelled the world as a mortal healer, and while I don't think we're told his age, he comes across as a man in the prime of life when turned, implying that he was not turned until Akasha had been a vampire for some time. Apart from anything else, given her youth when she died, he must only have been a boy when vampires came into existence.

At this point (and to my lasting horror), decapitation becomes important: Seth and Fareed want to know for sure that Lestat's written description of Akasha's death was accurate. Lestat himself has been ruminating on it for a while. Decapitation is described as the most certain way - moreso than fire - to kill the most ancient. In the early 21st century, which I guess must be up to a decade after their meeting, Lestat is brooding about this some more and purchases a battleaxe specifically designed for him to wield, with which he obviously intends to decapitate someone. It's a very unsettling scene, I think, and of course, it's Chekov's gun for vampires. (The weapon, given its stated dimensions, also sounds frankly impossible to carry under even an 18th century-style coat without anyone noticing - not to mention that "hanging it from a button" inside the coat might not disturb Lestat with its weight, but it would certainly have an effect on the coat!)

4. Trouble in the Talamasca and in the Great Family

This is my favourite chapter. I love David and Jesse, I love Lestat's utterly convincing pull towards/dread of connection with them, and most of all, I love how Jesse's increasingly sinister story unfolds, and how it addresses all the implications of what Maharet and Mekare have been through in the past.

Lestat tells us he's visited the twins' compound in Java in the past, which is interesting, suggesting that either it happened before MtD, or neithe he nor Maharet bore each other any ill will over that whole episode. On returning he finds it destroyed and overgrown. Meanwhile, David is trying to get Jesse to meet him via preposterously phrased telepathic messages which are supposed to be subtly anonymous (he could just go with, "To me, my X-Men!" and have done with it), but these are the little things I can forgive, especially when David is so hilariously on-point when they're together in person and Lestat repeatedly needs to be verbally stepped on for being a prat. That might be the reason the universe brought David Talbot into being.

Jesse shows up in "refined safari wear with pressed khaki jacket and pants", suggesting that she's been raiding Gabrielle's wardrobe (and I chose to believe she has). The description of her beauty and androgyny makes me think I want her played by a slighty younger Tilda Swinton. But then, I think Tilda Swinton should just play all the vampires forever.

(Lestat still thinks of perfectly ordinary modern speech as his own "rough brash brand of English", god bless him. His belief has almost become an affectation in itself.)

Jesse describes how Maharet has purposely made the Great Family independent of herself, which must have been agonising regardless of her exhaustion. Maharet feels that any group dependent on secrecy has essentially been fucked by the modern internet, though she probably didn't phrase it that way. She's found it necessary to cut herself off from them because, given the chance to examine the ancient records, the mortals in the family would realise how bizarre the whole thing was - the completeness of the record, presumably. Such things aren't meant to exist, and according to Maharet this would raise too many unanswerable questions and destroy the family. (I'm not convinced she's right, personally - the conspiracy theory wonks would go all Dan Brown-ish about it, the historians would have sleepless nights and perhaps a parallel professional experience to the scientists trying to alert the world to vampires' existence, and the rest would probably carry on as usual. I don't remotely think that anyone would think that vampires had anything to do with it - unless of course they'd read Lestat's books and seen Jesse and her mortal adoptive parents named, but apparently this never bothered Maharet enough before for her to put a stop to it.)

The following is clarified for us: that Maharet has been worn out by the impossibility of connecting with Mekare on anything beyond the simplest level. That she was broken by the events of Blood and Gold because Marius wanted her to sit in judgment; she very specifically did not want to rule. It's also pointed out that Marius, back in QotD, had been the person who "raised the entire issue of authority", and that this is only to be expected considering the time and place in which Marius was born. This is another issue that will resurface towards the end of the book. Maharet is also referred to as occasionally having summoned young vampires to her home, which is as close as we ever get to a mention of Quinn and Mona (who Khayman took to her at the end of Blood Canticle, though they're clearly not the vampires whose deaths are described in PL).

It's in the matter of Mekare that things become really horrific - and these haven't really been horror novels for a long time. For those making timelines, this took place four years before Lestat's Paris meeting with David and Jesse, but apparently twelve to eighteen months before the book's present day of 2013.

Fareed approached Maharet, offering her new, permanent eyes. Jesse (sigh) didn't understand most of Fareed's science and doesn't think Maharet did either (I think we have to assume at this point that Anne Rice either didn't want to work out a more detailed scientific system, or didn't want the book bogged down in its details.) but the key concept is that the Blood stops change happening in the body. If you want to heal an injury sustained since becoming a vampire, that's not a problem; the Blood will always try to revert to the blueprint (as I always describe it) that was established of your body when you became a vampire. But if you want to heal an old, pre-vampirism injury, you're shit out of luck, because that would require change, growth - and the Blood specifically fights both of those things, and age, which is their natural consequence.

Fareed claimed to have given Flavius (SQUEE) a new leg (slightly muted squee, as I realise we've lost a disabled vampire - but then again, if I could regrow my missing body parts, I'd bloody well do it, so I can cope with crip representation being the casualty here) and offered Maharet the same procedure, but with eyes. The grisly fact is that this is done by turning a vampire, chosen for eye colour. As Lestat says:

"That sent a chill through me: “the proper-color eyes.” Brought back flashes of something
horrible, but I didn’t want to see exactly what it was."


That would be Magnus's dungeon full of blue-eyed, blond-haired corpses, presumably.

I find this an interesting moral dilemma - why is it so horrifying to contemplate Maharet selecting a victim for spare parts surgery (especially when said victim would be unconscious for the duration), when these vampires already kill people for their blood all the time? Maybe that's an intentional moral dilemma set up to make us uncomfortable with the vampires just as Rice is stripping away much that makes them separate from us: that they're not technically dead, they're not damned, their sensibilities are of course human...

Anyway: Mekare. I find Fareed's conclusion that she is "mindless" incredibly disturbing. I find the description of her being put through scientific tests incredibly disturbing. This is good, because god knows, there should be something disturbing about vampire stories. And if we're not disturbed by the plight of their human victims, then perhaps Mekare in this book is their proxy: the most helpless character in the end, for all her vast strength. Her state is described as coma-like, her tissues as having been atrophied (beyond the normal hardening associated with the Blood's working in a body long-term).

This feels scientifically wonky even in the handwavey science we're understandably dealing with in a book that doesn't claim to be hard science fiction - it would surely be easier to describe what's happened to her in psychiatric terms, particularly since the book argues convincingly that vampires are people, are human, but there you go. Essentially what we're looking at is a justification - for any character or reader willing to reach out and grab it - for whatever happens to Mekare. And it is very, very hard not to associate all that with humans in states that are in any respect comparable to hers. That's the horror.

At this point Lestat gets to ask several questions which are logical in light of their discussion, but which Jesse and David consider shocking and appalling: did Fareed's tests detect the Sacred Core? Has Jesse (or anyone) ever drunk from Mekare? Did Fareed offer to make Mekare a new tongue? No to all of the above. Or at least, Jesse suspects the offer was made, but that with no way to communicate the idea to Mekare, it was dropped. And Mekare put up with tests but stared alarmingly when Fareed tried to examine her mouth.

The description of Mekare having blood samples taken, being narcotised for short periods is interesting - again, David is pearl-clutchy about this, apparently because Lestat is blunt - VERY reminiscent of the creepy way humans verbally dance around the medical treatment of the most vulnerable and least able to consent among us. It's rightfully unsettling.

*

At this point in my first reading, I started to wonder about two possible plot developments. Firstly, the idea that Fareed and Seth knew more about the Sacred Core than they were letting on (and lord knows, it'd be easy to bamboozle the most scientifically ignorant crop of vampires who have ever vampired), and perhaps had evil intent. I didn't want this to be the case, both because I liked them and because it would suck to rehash the whole "and these characters of colour are villians too!" problem that has dogged the series. But there was a wonderful sense of menace building around the twins, so that was good.

The other mystery was about the Geneva vampire Seth described to Maharet (this would turn out to be Gregory), who was supposed to be "tragically in love with Lestat". He'd been captain of the Queens Blood, but Maharet bore no grudge and was apparently reinvigorated by his lust for life. Essentially, he sounded like a rounded, interesting person compared to his vampire family, who were basically sick of his enthusiasm and philosophical ramblings. The image conjured was one of a Marius who had managed to hang onto his fledglings at the cost of their being able to put up with his conversation. So, we had a description of an ancient, powerful vampire who avoided Akasha's burnings, who was apparently obsessed with Lestat... a likely candidate for the Voice, maybe?

At this point, I can't decide whether this was a deliberate red herring or just bad plotting, in that the Voice of course did not turn out to be Gregory, making this a weirdly timed set up.

*

Anyway, we get the description of how there was fire and carnage at the Java compound, young vampires popped, Khayman couldn't remember a thing (of course) and had a headache. I love how disturbed he was by this - if every hurt can be healed by the blood, how indeed would you cope with a pain that wouldn't go away? It would be deeply disturbing! Lestat notes, without telling David and Jesse about the Voice, the revelation that Khayman appeared to be talking to someone inside his head.

Point of interest: Jesse suggests that most modern-era vampires can probably trace their lineage back to the First Brood. It's been suggested before, but it's worth noting here because in other ways the book happily tosses out previously established facts, like the vampires' gift for accelerated learning and easy, profound understanding of complex systems:

"Information age. I guess I’m part of it, even if I can’t remember how to use my iPhone
from week to week, and have to learn how to send e-mails all over again every couple of
years, and can’t retain any profound technological knowledge about the computers I
sometimes use.
“Well, the answer to all that,” Jesse said, responding to my thoughts, “is to use the
technology regularly. Because we know now that our preternatural minds don’t give us any
superior gift for all knowledge, only the same kinds of knowledge we understood when we
were human.”
“Yes, right. That is certainly true,” I confessed. “I’d thought it was different, because I’d
learned Latin and Greek so easily in the Blood. But you’re absolutely right."


The mystery of the Talamasca Elders, referred to in various earlier books, comes up again. I'm tickled that Jesse never thought they were immortals, but David always did. The funny thing is that the changes in the Talamasca structure are presented as a parallel to Maharet's gradual handing-off of her responsibilities for the Great Family, but while Lestat asks if Maharet ever mentioned any private knowledge of the Talamasca, the obvious conclusion that Maharet formed the Talamasca is never spelled out. Maybe this is a good thing - no need to lead the reader by the nose. But the effect (especially when the truth is revealed) is to make the plotting feel less knitted together than it otherwise might. Lestat says he can't live with the idea of some overarching connection between the weirdness in the vampire world and the weirdness of the Talamasca, yet can't pull it all together.

I get the feeling that (as with Pandora before him) Anne sunk Lestat into a depression so deep that it's hard to plausibly pull him out of it. The plot strand with the Voice is a stronger motivator than the rest, but Lestat doesn't tell the reader outright, even in the privacy of his thoughts, how he connects all of the above, which frankly makes him seem a bit dim.

At this point, David puts a thousand conspiracy theories to rest by claiming responsibility for Blood and Gold. I refuse to accept this; in my headcanon it was Daniel all along, and the writing of the thing brought him out of his bad patch and cleared the air between him and Marius. David then goes on rather beautifully to interrogate Lestat's alleged desire, in TVL/QotD to see the tribe destroyed (that motive never stood up for me either) and points out that Lestat, in his songs and books, gave vampires a shared history and has been disavowing responsibility for the implications ever since. Thank you, David. In this book, you are very much in character and have redeemed your more irritating moments.

Things that kill me: Lestat asking if Jesse was ever happy in the Blood. Jesse - thank goodness - knowing that her unhappiness is transitory. Her trusting Maharet - but not the others of the First Brood. I love Jesse in this book, too.

The Lestat/David stuff is also great - both David's wonderful line, "Stick your filthy droit du seigneur right through your greedy heart," and his taking of Lestat. It's such a perfect continuation of the dilemma that has existed between them since Lestat forced David into immortality, but it's also hot.

And on that note, Part I of Prince Lestat and of this recap/reaction/whatever the fuck this is draws to a close, and I bid you goodnight, and good luck. I'll get part two up as soon as I can.

Bonus drinking game:

In addition, I'm assembling a Prince Lestat drinking game. Here it is so far:

Have a drink every time...
...the Voice flounces off in a huff.
...an old/famous vampire is referred to as "the great [So-and-So]".
...a new character appears.
...a vampire says they can't understand modern science.
...Lestat has been worrying about something but hasn't wanted to admit it.
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