I recently finished Elizabeth Kostova’s The Swan Thieves and am still mulling it over. Once I collect my thoughts, I’ll have something to say about it.
In the meantime….
All I can say after reading Canticle is that, somewhere between then and now, things went completely off the rails.
Blood Canticle brings together characters from both series, and it’s a train wreck. I mean, I read the whole thing, but I skipped entire passages. The style is frenetic and insane, and the way the characters talk is preposterous:
And then this fire is born. Oh, not because of what you are! What you are could terrify. What you are could repel! But because of who you are, the soul inside you, the words you speak, the expression on your face, the certain witness of eternity I read in you! My world collapses when I’m near you. My values, my ambitions, my plans, my dreams. I see them as the scaffolding of hysteria. And this love has taken root, this savage love which knows no fear of you, and only wants to be with you, wants the Blood, yes, because it’s your blood, and all else melts away.
Rowan Mayfair to Lestat, Blood Canticle by Anne Rice
I mean, seriously? Am I reading a trashy romance novel? Because one of the major plot points is that Rowan Mayfair (sometime heroine of the Mayfair Witches series) and Lestat have fallen instantly, madly in love with each other. Lestat does this a lot – he’s like a magpie, show him a shiny object, person, or fellow vampire, and it’s on. In the last book in this series, Blackwood Farm (which was a better, though still not great, book), Lestat fell in love with Quinn Blackwood. See also, Mona Mayfair, an incredibly obnoxious character from the Mayfair Witches series who Lestat brings over in Canticle.
I just couldn’t bring myself to care all that much about these characters. Mona’s horribly unlikeable. Rowan is possibly crazy, but beyond that, she’s drawn here as a very flat character (which she was not in the Mayfair series), and the impetus behind her instant love for Lestat (and willingness to leave her stolid, loving husband) eludes me.
Because here’s the root of the problem – Rowan falls in love with Lestat, as the reader is expected to, because Lestat is irresistible. He’s like catnip to humans, vampires, and otherworldly beings alike. We know Lestat is irresistible because Lestat tells us so. All the time. But really, he’s not even likable. He’s pompous and bombastic, he goes on at length about how gorgeous he is, how rich, how irresistible, how tortured…
I’m the Vampire Lestat, the most potent and lovable vampire ever created, a supernatural knockout, two hundred years old but fixed forever in the form of a twenty-year-old male with features and figure you’d die for – and just might. I’m endlessly resourceful, and undeniably charming. Death, disease, time, gravity, they mean nothing to me.
Good. Then he won’t mind if I go find something more interesting to do.