Memnoch the Devil

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Memnoch the Devil

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1TheBratPrince
Jul 22, 2007, 8:00pm

I've noticed that people's opinions of Memnoch the Devil tend to be very polarized––almost everyone who's read it seems to either absolutely love it or utterly despise it.

I'd like to open a discussion focused on this particular book. So my question is, where do you stand, and why?

(I'm sure I don't need to add, please respect each other's opinions––keep it civilized.)

I'll post my opinion once I've had a chance to reread it––it's been a while, and I want to be able to discuss it in detail.

Have at it. :)

2mrsradcliffe
Jul 23, 2007, 7:06am

I suppose I disliked it because for me, it was very very slow. The plotline with the gangster and his missionary daughter just didn't jump out and grab me like the other plots in her books. Lestat is shown to undergo somewhat of a transformation as he realises he is not inherantly evil, but we could see that without his having to undergo this whole rigmarole. For me, taking away Lestat's arrogance is a little character destroying. I just couldn't get along with this one I'm afraid.

3TheBratPrince
Jul 23, 2007, 2:21pm

Hmm. While I can't argue with most of your points, I have to disagree with your last one. I don't think Lestat lost any of his arrogance. It was transmuted, redirected, but not taken away.

Blood Canticle, the next book after Memnoch written from Lestat's point of view, opens with the line "I want to be a saint." This, to me at least, is the height of arrogance. Saints don't set out specifically to become saints; they set out to do good. In other words, their motivations are not for themselves, but for others. Have you read Blood Canticle? The entire first chapter consists of Lestat's fantasizing about being a saint, and it's utterly self-aggrandizing and... well, arrogant. He talks about wanting to be all but worshiped; for example: "I want to have my life-sized plaster statue in every church in the world. Me, six feet tall with glass blue eyes, in long purple velvet robes, looking down with gently parted hands on the faithful who pray as they touch my foot." (p. 7). He talks about saving the world, but he then goes on to describe all the praise that would be heaped upon him. Everything comes back to his own self-serving motivations. He even says on the same page, "All roads lead to me."

Yes, there was certainly a transformation. However, my opinion is that the character was made more complex, more fascinating, rather than destroyed.

4mrsradcliffe
Jul 24, 2007, 9:54am

No I haven’t read it, but I do prefer Lestat when he’s revelling in his evil side rather than trying to transmute above it. Perhaps I should read the next book!

5TheBratPrince
Edited: Jul 24, 2007, 11:03am

Yeah, I think Blood Canticle has something for both sides: there's probably equal parts reveling in being evil and angsting about the same.

BTW, in case you're not aware (so ignore this if you are), there are a few books between MtD and BC: The Vampire Armand, the Mayfair Witches trilogy, Merrick, Blood and Gold, and Blackwood Farm.

6billemsick
Jun 11, 2008, 11:28am

I have to say that besides The Body Thief, this was one of my favorites of the vampire chronicles. I loved the whole element of the Devil asking for Lestat's help. Good needing evil. I think part of why I enjoyed this book as much as I did has to do with Anne and the messages she used to leave on her phone line. I used to call it regularly to catch up with what she was sharing with her fans - and she did such an excellent job incorporating her own life into these books. Part of the thrill of this book for me also had to do with her progression. If I remember correctly - Interview With a Vampire was written shortly after the loss of her daughter - and she had lost her faith - as you read through the books (and I am not just talking about the Vampire Chronicles - ones like Violin also contain personal stories written into the book) you see her journey back into a faith-filled life. Now I am not a religious fanatic, by any means, I think it was just nice being able to witness that journey. Anne often commented that she was Lestat and he was her. I was so sad when I finished Memnoch the Devil - because after it was finished, one of her phone messages started with 'Lestat is gone.' Now I had not read Blood Canticle, but you have to know that I am going to now. Thank you.