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Blood Canticle (2003)

by Anne Rice

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Lives of the Mayfair Witches (6), The Vampire Chronicles (10)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
3,536213,030 (3.45)18
Anne Rice continues her astonishing Vampire Chronicles in a new novel that begins whereBlackwood Farmleft off — and tells the story of Lestat’s quest for redemption, goodness, and the love of Rowan Mayfair. Welcome back to Blackwood Farm. Here are all of the brilliantly conceived characters that make up the two worlds of vampires and witches: Mona Mayfair, who’s come to the farm to die and is brought into the realm of the undead; her uncle, Julian Mayfair, guardian of the family, determined to forever torment Lestat for what he has done to Mona; Rowan Mayfair, brilliant neurosurgeon and witch, who finds herself dangerously drawn to the all-powerful Lestat; her husband, Michael Curry, hero of the Mayfair Chronicles, who seeks Lestat’s help with the temporary madness of his wife; Ash Templeton, a 5,000-year-old Taltos who has taken Mona’s child; and Patsy, the country-western singer, who returns to avenge her death at the hands of her son, Quinn Blackwood. Delightfully, at the book’s centre is the Vampire Lestat, once the epitome of evil, now pursuing the transformation set in motion withMemnoch the Devil. He struggles with his vampirism and yearns for goodness, purity and love, as he saves Patsy’s ghost from the dark realm of the Earthbound, uncovers the mystery of the Taltos and unselfishly decides the fate of his beloved Rowan Mayfair. A story of love and loyalty, of the search for passion and promise,Blood Canticleis Anne Rice at her finest. From the Hardcover edition.… (more)
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I first got into Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles many years ago now, reading everything up to QUEEN OF THE DAMNED and THE MUMMY before putting her works aside. But being a diehard horror fan, and someone who in the years since has tried their own hand at writing stories of the supernatural, I found my way back to Rice a few years ago and started making up for lost time, plowing through both The Vampire Chronicles and The Mayfair Witches series. And now I have come to the end of the line, so to speak, with BLOOD CANTICLE, a book I must conclude was written solely for the fans. First of all, if the reader hasn’t read most of her previous vampire epics, and the tales of the witches, then they will be completely lost. And any fan who hasn’t read her last book, BLACKWOOD FARM, won’t know what is going on, as that story introduces some new characters and locations in Louisiana, and because BLOOD CANTICLE, picks up right where the previous book left off.

My paperback copy come in at just over 400 pages, a pretty quick read compared to some of Rice’s other epics, and that might be the book’s weakness. To me, the whole project felt like Rice trying to tie up a bunch of loose ends leftover from earlier works by jamming Lestat, Rowan Mayfair, and the Taltos, into one quick story before bidding farewell for now to this world. The book opens at Blackwood Farm where the Vampire Lestat saves Mona Mayfair from a wasting death by making her a vampire, thus allowing Mona to join her beloved Quinn Blackwood (the main character of BLACKWOOD FARM) in the ranks of the Undead. This leads to a lot of interaction with Rowan Mayfair, the witch who heads the powerful and rich Mayfair family, and ultimately a search for the Taltos, an ancient race of non-human creatures who are the spawn of the incestuous Mayfair bloodline. Both Rowan and Mona have given birth to a Taltos, who come into the world with full knowledge of their species history, and grow to maturity in a matter of hours, in previous books. This being a crossover, there comes a point where the vampires and witches sit down and relate all the history we’ve previously read in other books, but it wouldn’t be an Anne Rice novel if it didn’t have characters going on and on to one another. But for a book filled with some of Rice’s more larger than life characters, the action always felt small time compared to the epic possibilities raised in her other books.

BLOOD CANTICLE got a lot of negative reviews from many of Rice’s ardent fans. Many complained that the characterizations in this book were not consistent with earlier books. Lestat seems obsessed with being heroic, of being a saint whom the Pope in Rome would turn to, while Mona, once a tough, determined and precocious young girl (she was only 13 when she seduced Michael Curry, Rowan’s husband) is now given to emotional outbursts and dressing like a slut as a vampire. Rowan is tough in one scene, an emotional wreck in another. Some have implied that BLOOD CANTICLE was ghost written, but I think Rice had just grown tired of these characters, even if she still loved them dearly, and just didn’t have the heart or drive at that point in her career to write a large enough story to do them justice. Lestat and Rowan fall madly in love, surely that plot alone could have powered its own book. The Taltos, specifically Ashler and Morrigan, were characters to content with in the Mayfair books, but their story is merely dispensed with in the final third of BLOOD CANTICLE. Quinn (who is reduced to the background here) and Mona could have carried their own book as newly made, and newlywed, Blood Hunters finding their way in the world. Even Lestat versus Oncle Julian Mayfair (a great sinister character) should have been more than a subplot. But I have no doubt that Rice wrote this book. It’s filled with the kind of minute detail, especially descriptions of clothing that was her hallmark, not to mention her obsession with Creoles. I have no doubt that some of her depictions of non-Caucasians would make those with certain sensibilities wince.

In the end, I didn’t dislike BLOOD CANTICLE, but I understand the feelings of fans who really expected more from their beloved author. I have no doubt that Rice felt she owed us this book and what we got is what we got. I remember seeing an interview on TV where she said Lestat had bidden her farewell, and simply rode off out her imagination, and that the Vampire Chronicles were done with BLOOD CANTICLE. Looking back, I think that was just burnout talking, for as we know, it was not the end of the road for Rice and her most famous creation. A decade later, PRINCE LESTAT returned. There’s a copy on my shelf waiting to be read. ( )
  wb4ever1 | Jun 17, 2022 |
hb
  5083mitzi | Mar 20, 2021 |
I keep swearing off Rice's books. They inevitably disappoint. But I keep winding up with a copy of some novel I haven't read and searching for some glimmer of the talent that showed up in her earlier books. You won't find it here. ( )
  turtlesleap | Feb 6, 2016 |
it felt like Anne Rice enjoyed writing this and it was an easy read. It's supposed to be the last in the series, but Lestat mentions that he is uneasy about those parts of an island that he didn't explore. Still, Lestat seems to have matured. ( )
  raizel | Jul 19, 2015 |
Now Mona is a vampire and not facing her inevitable death, she is able to ask hard questions – like where her daughter is and what has become of the Taltos

The big dark secret of the Mayfair family is finally open and ready to be resolved.

I have a problem.

When I reviewed Blackwood Farm I gave it 0.5 fangs. I do not regret that rating, it most definitely deserved that rating. But now I have a problem, because Blood Canticle is even worse but, out of some odd twisted sense of needing to finish this series, I finished it so I can’t DNF it.

Normally I like to sum up all the positive things with the book first. This will not take long. I like that the book addresses Mona becoming a vampire and how, as a woman, the sheer safety from attack that comes with vampiric power means a lot more than it would to, say, Quinn. It’s a nice mention – it’s one line

There’s the good. I can think if not one more positive thing to add. Now to the much much much longer lists of negative.

Firstly, this book opens with a rather awful screed from Lestat chastising readers for not appreciating the brilliance of Memnoch The Devil (a book that was much criticised and, no, I didn’t like it either). I’ve seen authors respond to negative reviews before and it’s never good, but to actually have your title character scold readers for not UNDERSTANDING the insight of your oh-so-perfect book in a later book in the series is rather shockingly childish and ridiculous. It did not make me positively inclined towards this book

Then we have Lestat running through this strangely bizarre joyous ode to Catholicism, including shovelling over a lot of problematic issues (in a series that likes to make every character bisexual – well so long as their loves are under-aged – praising the church in glowing terms then throwing aside the homophobia as a 3 word bracketed reference is insulting) which then develops into a confused, incoherent ramble of Lestat wanting to be a saint and the Pope and the spiritual joys of an obscure saint that will keep popping up throughout the whole book without any real need or relevance (and it’s not like the books need more reasons to deviate).

After all this (and a brief, strange idea of lecturing the pope that the super-rich and luxurious would totally save the world so why worry about wealth divides), we move towards the story. Well, no, we move towards lots of sitting around and talking, info-dumping, lecturing and great big melodramatic emotional outbursts, commenting on people’s clothes in huge detail, a lot of recapping and a whole lot of nothing happening

But all of this happens with Lestat having “updated” his language. I think this is a response to people complaining about how over-elaborate the language of these books are – especially when Quinn showed up speaking in exactly the same voice as Lestat – so now Lestat drops random “yo” “cool” and “dude”. It is cringingly awful. It’s like your granddad trying to be “hip”. This continues through the book, it is never not awful.

The characterisation is appalling, especially Mona. Quinn just kind of fades away into the background. Lestat is histrionic and overly dramatic and spends most of the book arguing with Oncle Julien’s ghost, quite why this paedophile is haunting Lestat isn’t really explained, he just appears and he and Lestat melodramatically argue with each other in ridiculously overwrought language for pages on end. Mona is a disaster though – she throws off vast temper tantrums, is slut shamed horrendously both for her sexual past (accepting the blame for “seducing” a male relative when she was 13!) and for how she dresses (which Lestat finds distracting so of course she must change!). She is portrayed as histrionic and bad tempered and spiteful – even when she’s reasonable (she doesn’t like Rowan for good reasons, but her anger is portrayed as spite. She objects to how Lestat speaks to her but she is considered unreasonable). Lestat constantly thinks of her with words like “harpy”. To top it off, of course she apologises to Lestat for not being sufficiently meek and subservient to him. The characterisation is truly cringeworthy.

The story is crammed at the end. Before that we have an excruciatingly long info-dump of what I assume is the plot of the Mayfair Witches books since these two series have now been mushed together (to no-one’s shock, Lestat is now madly in love with Rowan Mayfair. Because Lestat falls in love with everyone the second he sees them. Always.) in between which we have random dramas and temper tantrums from ghostly Patsy (musical interval! Just like Lord of the Rings and just as boring) and Oncle Julien. Finally after all these tantrums and lectures we learn that the Taltos are out there and need finding.

Read More ( )
2 vote FangsfortheFantasy | Oct 13, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 21 (next | show all)

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Anne Riceprimary authorall editionscalculated
Pittu, DavidNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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For Stan Rice 1942-2002 ---the love of my life.
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I want to be a saint.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Anne Rice continues her astonishing Vampire Chronicles in a new novel that begins whereBlackwood Farmleft off — and tells the story of Lestat’s quest for redemption, goodness, and the love of Rowan Mayfair. Welcome back to Blackwood Farm. Here are all of the brilliantly conceived characters that make up the two worlds of vampires and witches: Mona Mayfair, who’s come to the farm to die and is brought into the realm of the undead; her uncle, Julian Mayfair, guardian of the family, determined to forever torment Lestat for what he has done to Mona; Rowan Mayfair, brilliant neurosurgeon and witch, who finds herself dangerously drawn to the all-powerful Lestat; her husband, Michael Curry, hero of the Mayfair Chronicles, who seeks Lestat’s help with the temporary madness of his wife; Ash Templeton, a 5,000-year-old Taltos who has taken Mona’s child; and Patsy, the country-western singer, who returns to avenge her death at the hands of her son, Quinn Blackwood. Delightfully, at the book’s centre is the Vampire Lestat, once the epitome of evil, now pursuing the transformation set in motion withMemnoch the Devil. He struggles with his vampirism and yearns for goodness, purity and love, as he saves Patsy’s ghost from the dark realm of the Earthbound, uncovers the mystery of the Taltos and unselfishly decides the fate of his beloved Rowan Mayfair. A story of love and loyalty, of the search for passion and promise,Blood Canticleis Anne Rice at her finest. From the Hardcover edition.

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