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Lost Souls by Poppy Z. Brite

Lost Souls (original 1992; edition 2002)

by Poppy Z. Brite

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1,971393,441 (3.85)38
Title:Lost Souls
Authors:Poppy Z. Brite
Info:Gauntlet Press (2002), Hardcover, 272 pages
Collections:Your library

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Lost Souls by Poppy Z. Brite (1992)


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Showing 1-5 of 36 (next | show all)
I have a special place in my disgusting heart for Lost Souls. This book is basically the epitome of "vampire porn", for a slightly more alternative market than Twilight. All the references to Tom Waits and Bauhaus strike me as self-aware and repetitive - I did this same thing as a beginning writer. All my characters liked bands that I liked, and I would throw pop-punk references into the story constantly. I've heard from other writers that this makes a work seem "dated" and can sometimes take away from the story. I get it. At the same time, it's endearing - it reminds me of how swept-up the goths are in their image, all liking the same music and being so obsessed with it. It makes them seem youthful compared to the vampires, who are decidedly more evil. Real, actual evil, not just playing at evil.

I enjoyed the portrayal of New Orleans as a decadent, haunted city, filled with folklore, where vampires party their days away, dining on Chartreuse and Twinkies and blood. Zillah was not nearly as handsome as I remembered, reading it ten years later (I guess I'm jaded on the "bad boy" image), but I can see how Ann would be bewitched by him. I liked the chapters about Steve and Ghost the best - they were the most likable characters - but I couldn't really get behind the two of them as a couple. I guess I'm torn. I liked that it was so less enthusiastically hypersexual of a union than the other pairings, that it was just the one kiss and nothing else... I guess I just have a thing for confused straight guy characters. But I couldn't see it really happening. It was intimate and sweet, but not realistic.

Agh, I love this book, but reviewing it I sound like such a hater. I guess now that I can see the flaws in it, I can appreciate it more. So I'm changing my previous three-star rating to four stars. ( )
2 vote heart77 | Dec 13, 2016 |
The book ended up being a bit long winded and after 300 pages enoyingly repetitive.
She keeps repeting the same cliches over and over untill you want to rip out your hair. Everywhere throughout the book there is a smell of Clove cigarettes. Not one person smokes something else??
And all the Goth kids have razors and crosses for earrings,.........all of them??? These are just a few examples of repetitions she uses to get us to feel the atmosphere. but after 200 pages we get it already, get on with the story please!!
It becomes a bit boring after a while because there is also more heartbreak than story. It feels a little bit like reading a teenage diary!!
I do however think she is a talented writer at such a young age.
Would like to read something recent, now that she is in her mid 40s
I'll give it 3 stars because it was somewhat enjoyable read all though too long! ( )
1 vote Hessius | Dec 4, 2016 |
When I read this, I was a lot younger and it was one of my favourites.

I love Brite's ability to create atmosphere. I felt like I was immersed in New Orleans, this hot, sticky, beautiful environment. I could hear the street noise and feel the lights, and I found it a really readable novel.

I don't think I'll read it again, though. I loved some of the characters, especially since some of the characters were familiar to me. I think the biggest problem I'll have with it now is that one of the characters is definitely problematic and, from what I remember, casually rapes a woman and gets away with it.

So if you like modern, urban stories with vampires and LGBTQ characters, this could definitely be an option for you, but it'll get a 3 star rating for me. c:

tw: rape ( )
  lydia1879 | Aug 31, 2016 |
Steve Finn
Steve was raised in Missing Mile, North Carolina. He works in a record shop in his home town called the Whirling Disc. He is described as tall and wiry, with a hawkish nose, and long black hair he rarely washes. Steve is proud and stubborn, drinks to excess, and is prone to violent outbursts. He is haunted throughout the novel by memories and fleeting glimpses of his ex-girlfriend, Ann.

[edit] Ghost
Ghost is Steve's best friend and though their relationship throughout the novel often has homoerotic undertones, they don't become lovers until the follow-up story, "Stay Awake". Ghost is described to appear much like to his namesake, very translucent skin, white blond, wispy hair and huge blue eyes. Kind and compassionate, Ghost often has unexplainable visions, and sometimes they are even a foreshadowing of things to come.

[edit] Ann Bransby-Smith
Ann, Steve's ex-girlfriend, plays an ambiguous role throughout much of the novel, but she becomes helplessly intertwined in the plot once Zillah, Twig, Molochai and Nothing roll into Missing Mile, North Carolina.She has long, red-gold hair and spends most of her time early in the novel fretting about her increasing dislike for her new boyfriend, and her longing for Steve. She is one of the most tragic victims of the story.

[edit] Lost Souls?
Steve and Ghost's band. Ghost is the vocalist, and Steve plays guitar. Lost Souls? has toured across the United States, and they frequently perform at the local club in Missing Mile, North Carolina, a place called The Sacred Yew.

[edit] Other Appearances
"Angels" (printed in Wormwood)
"The Seed of Lost Souls" (short story of which Lost Souls is an expansion)
"The South Central Rain Story"
"Stay Awake"
"America" (printed in "Are You Loathsome Tonight?)
"How to Get Ahead in New York" (printed in Wormwood)
"Con Party at Hotel California" (original first chapter for the unfinished novel that would be the sequel to Lost Souls)

[edit] Vampires
The vampires of this novel are quite dissimilar to those of traditional lore. Rather than being transformed humans, they are a separate species who are born vampires. While most feed on blood, some find alternative sustenance (e.g., love and beauty). There are also distinct differences between older and younger vampires. Older vampires have naturally sharp teeth, are sensitive to sunlight, and cannot eat or drink. Younger vampires have normal human teeth that must be filed, are insensitive to sunlight, and can both eat and drink (as demonstrated by Zillah's group's liking for chartreuse). Brite's vampires also seem to lack many supernatural powers beyond quick healing, heightened sense, and abnormal strength. They can be killed if the heart or brain is destroyed. Female vampires can also be killed by childbirth because vampiric infants kill their mothers in the womb.

[edit] Nothing (née Jason)
A teenage vampire taken in by humans as a baby. Born in New Orleans, he was taken (by Christian) to a small town in Maryland after he was born and left on the doorstep of an unsuspecting couple. The story is centered around him and his journey to find his real family. It should also be noted that Nothing's name means that he is a blank slate, and can write anything down on it he wants to, making himself whatever he wants, as noted in the novel. This is a main part of the larger Existential/Nihilist themes running through the novel.

[edit] Zillah
Zillah is Nothing's father as well as his lover. His distinguishing features include his lime green eyes and the purple, green, and gold-dyed streaks in his hair - the colors of Mardi Gras. He is described as being incredibly beautiful - androgynous, slender, and shorter than Molochai and Twig, with pierced nipples and sharp, black-lacquered nails. He is portrayed throughout the novel as cruel, insensitive, and violent (sexually and otherwise), but he displays fondness for Nothing.

[edit] Twig and Molochai
Zillah's gluttonous companions, both very much alike. They are rarely found apart from one another. Twig is the taller of the two, he has sharp features and wicked demeanor. Twig also drives the trio's van around the country. Molochai is slightly shorter, with roundish, babyish features. He favors sweets and cakes to the other's more adult tastes.

[edit] Christian
Bartender in New Orleans who looks after Nothing's mother, Jessy, through the duration of her pregnancy, and the one responsible for taking him away from the city after his birth. Christian finds himself almost on the side of the humans, and sometimes the lone voice of wisdom in the vampires' "family." He is the oldest vampire in the novel at 383 years old. He is also the most isolated character in the novel, perhaps because of his age. Christian has real fangs rather than sharpened teeth and is the only vampire in the novel that cannot consume human food and drink, he must survive solely on blood. He is also the only one intolerant to sunlight, though he can move about in the day if he keeps his skin and eyes completely covered.

  bostonwendym | Mar 3, 2016 |
If you're going through puberty and feeling weird, this is a great book to read. With enough vampires, gay sex, incest and goth clubbing to satisfy any young misunderstood oddball (and truthfully, I have never been in a single goth club that played "Bela Lugosi's Dead" even once, let alone every night), this is a fun piece of wish-fulfillment. Dark, twisted, unbelieavable and not particularly sophisticated, I'd recommend this to anyone wearing Crow makeup in a rural town in the midwest. ( )
2 vote wealhtheowwylfing | Feb 29, 2016 |
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For Michael Spencer and Monica Kendrick, the best magicians I know
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The night wind felt wonderful in Steve's hair.
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Abandoned as an infant, Nothing reads his true name on the handwritten note that was pinned to his baby blanket eighteen years earlier, and discovers that he is the son of a vampire.

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Penguin Australia

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