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The Tale of the Body Thief is the fourth of Rice's 'Vampire Chronicles'. For anyone expecting the decadence and pace of the previous three it simply isn't there. This book is easy reading and doesn't share the depth of history that the previous chronicles have. Yet that's as far as my criticism goes, approach this book with an open mind and you should enjoy it.
The Tale of the Body Thief is set in modern times; as such it is inevitable to Rice moves away from the style of her previous vampire novels. Yet Lestat is still present in all his flamboyant glory. As a teenager I fell madly in love with Rice's exotic world but I believe it was this novel that led me to fall in love with Lestat himself. Here we are introduced to a more modern Lestat but also a more intimate Lestat. The plot of the novel follows Lestat's desire to be human, for a reader this is hard to understand as so much of his allure revolves around his vampiric nature. However to read Lestat as a modern day human allows us to see him as a person, a soul an individual. For that reason I feel this book should be valued as part of the chronicles rather than dismissed as other critics may suggest.
In summary this instalment of the Vampire Chronicles is an easy enjoyable read and doesn't require much knowledge of the previous books. For the fanatic it's a modern day glimpse at the vampire's world which opens up new perspectives.
The Tale of the Body Thief is a brilliant story by Anne Rice based on her 'Vampire Chronicles' series. This is the fourth book in the collection and though it doesn't need to be read in any particular order, I think it won't make sense unless you've read at least one other book in the series before you read this one.
This book takes us on a journey with Lestat who has unfortunately lost his immortal body! Again we get to see Lestat's human side in this book as he foolishly follows his desires to attempt a mortal life. Unfortunately though, he quickly realises it's not for him and wants his body back - but can he get it back?
This is a brilliantly fast paced adventure story that Anne Rice has written brilliantly. I bought this not all that long ago having rediscovered my old 'Vampire Chronicle' fascination and was surprised to read a few bad reviews about this online when I ordered it. But I have to say I think it's very unfair for people to judge this on artistic merit when the artistic side of things was already taken care of in the earlier books. This book is simply a story that carries it all on.
What's especially good fun in this book is the way Lestat is forced to work alongside an organisation that he previously hated in order to get what he wants. There are loads of great new characters introduced in little snippets as well as one or two names readers will be familiar with. I think this book is brilliant because of how much has been incorporated into a single rather simple storyline.
There are no great twists or turns in the plot really but don't think that means not a lot happens. It does, it's just that it runs along the same lines. Anne Rice has written this book to entertain and that's what people need to remember. So if you're after something strikingly original and artistic, go for the earlier 'Vampire Chronicles' and stop at book three. If you fall in love with these characters though and want the adventures to continue - get a copy of 'Tale of the Body Thief' and let the good times roll.
Price: £6.99 in the shops or £5.49 online
Publisher: Arrow Books Limited
"The Tale of the Body Thief" is the fourth book in Anne Rice's vampire chronicals, and although it probably would stand on its own, it won't make as much sense unless you have read the others. If you haven't read any vampire books from this series, I strongly recomend that you go and read the other three and come back to this one. For reasons of sanity, I shall write this opinion based on the understanding that all those who have yet to sample to delights of these books have now gone away. If you haven't, I make no apologies! (Ok, if you insist on trying to read this, its about a 200 year old vampire called Lestat who has about as much common sense as a chocolate teapot and a tendancy to talk about himself at great length.) This book really is a bit of a romp - a departure from Rice's usual obsessions with meaning and origins, it plunges instead into an entirely new story line as we follow Lestat in his latest set of exploits. When Lestat is approached by Raglan James and offered the chance to be human again for a couple of days, he can hardly resist. All the other vampires warn him that this is both insane and dangerous, but he ignores them. Being outrageously powerful and unable to die has lost its novelty for Lestat, and he is much in need of a new adventure. He's been rhapsodising about the joys of humanity, but it may not shock you to learn that it doesn't turn out to be as good as he though it would. Raglan (the body thief)is able to project his soul into another body (He used to be in the Talamasca, a secret society of psychics.) and so the body swap takes place. Of course, when the time comes to reverse the process, Raglan doesn't show up. Lestat suddenly realises that having another man running around with his very powerful body is less than clever. He enlists what help he can find and sets out to rescue his body! David Talbot, from the Talamasca is particularly present in this tale, and i
t all potters along rather nicely. It's rather fun, watching Lestat trying to save himself literally rather than spiritualy for a change. So, how does Lestat fare as a mortal? He samples food, decides it isn't really as good as blood, he gets horribly ill, he has terrible trouble getting the hang of bodily functions. (This I found very amusing.)Of course, he also gets laid, but, being Lestat, it has to be at least a bit outragous, so he beds a nun! Lestat turns out to have a bit of a horror of the flesh - he's so used to the pristine nature of vampirism that all this mortality is a bit much for him - flashes of the catholic here I think. I don't think I would be giving too much away if I said it all works out fairly well in the end. This is a surprisingly upbeat book with plenty of pace and lots going on - more in the vein of "The Queen of the Damned" than "Interview" it's the big climb up the long steep bit on the rollercoaster, before the plunge into the depths that comes with "Memnoch the devil" but if you want to kow more about that book, you will have to wait for the next op. Fans of Lestat will love this book - he is as outlandish, vain, and self obsessed as ever as he sets off on his adventure. Lestat is a creature of the moment, he still hasn't learned that actions have consequences and he just cannot resist temptation. You might almost think he was asking for a vacation in hell.... but I digress. If your fondness for Rice is based larely on her dark, moody, catholic angsty with some horror thrown in sort of writing, then you might not get along so well with this book - it is blatantly silly and not really that angsty, except at the beginning. I like it a lot, and would be inclined to recomend it, but don't say I didn't warn you.
I managed to finish this book by the weekend. And what a Chronicle it was. Anne Rice has truly exceeded her writing abilities in this tale of cunning and despair. Firstly, let me give you a bit of background on Lestat, the 200 year old vampire that this story is all about. Some of it is covered in my previous opinions on the Vampire Chronicles, but for those of you that have not read them yet, here is a quick update on him. He was the son of a French Marquis in the 1700’s, living in France. He was taken by a vampire called Magnus, who immediately threw himself onto a fire after the deed was done. He was left to learn the vampire ways on his own. He travelled the world looking for others like him, and also to find out what exactly he was. When his mother (Gabrielle) became sick and was dying, he turned her into a vampire also. He met up with a coven of vampires living under a cemetery, lead by the vampire Armand. He set them up in the Theatre of Vampires, then continued on his journey searching the world. He then came across Marius, a vampire that had been given the Dark Gift during the Roman times. He learnt that Marius was the keeper of Those Who Must Be Kept (Akasha and Enkil), the King and Queen of all vampires. During the French Revolution, he sailed to the New World, to New Orleans. Here he met Louis, who desperately wanted to end his life after the tragic death of his brother. Lestat turned him into a vampire. They then made a vampire out of a young child, Claudia. Claudia and Louis turn on Lestat, thinking that they have destroyed him, and they flee to Paris. Lestat survives this ordeal, and after a long sleep he awakens in the 1980’s and becomes a rock star. He has also drunk the blood of Akasha, which has made him very strong. Although Lestat is a rogue and a dangerous vampire, he is actually very funny and likeable. The hero of these books if you like. He likes to take risks, and he does
not comply to the rules of the elder vampires. He often finds himself in a mess, and in need of the elders help. He has become a great friend to a mortal being, David Talbot, who is the head of an organisation that deals with the supernatural, the Talamasca. David knows what he is, but the Talamasca’s job is to observe, not to destroy. David is an old man of 74, and Lestat has often offered to make him into a vampire, but David refuses. Lestat often thinks back to his years when he was mortal, the times he loves the most. He usually only drinks blood from evildoers; thieves, murderers and drug dealers. And yes, he feels love. He is a very loving vampire. No physical sex though for vampires, they show their love for each other by drinking each others blood. And many people have asked me if these books are about ‘queers’. I would have to say no, most definitely not! Yes, they show love to both men and women, but if you read the books, you would understand that sexuality between these creatures does not exist. They see each other as another vampire, not as a male or a female. Trust me people, I would not be reading books about homosexuals. This brings me to this book, The Tale of the Body Thief. It is slightly different from the previous books. It does not jump to the past as much, and it is mainly about Lestat and David Talbot, although Louis and Marius do make their appearance. It starts in the early 1990’s. Lestat is living in New Orleans again, with Louis living nearby. Lestat encounters a strange mortal that keeps handing him envelopes with pieces of novel extracts. He finally has a meeting with this mortal to find out what he wants. He tells Lestat that he knows that he would like to be human once again, and tells him that he knows how they can exchange bodies. Lestat loves the idea of being able to feel what it is like to be human again and they make a deal. They will exchange bod
ies for 2 days only. Before the exchange, Lestat tells David and Louis. Niether are happy about it, and beg him not to do such a thing. David finds out things about this man. His name was Raglan James, and he was once a member of the Talamasca. He was a man that could have out of body experiences at will, and it turned out that the young 25 year old body that he had met Lestat with, was not in fact his own, but stolen from someone else. Being the vampire that Lestat is, he does not listen and goes ahead with the body exchange. He has to learn how to eat again, which is quite funny, and of course what he thinks about his having to empty waste from his body, is also comical. He learns other things too, yes he even has sex with a woman. And after the 2 days are up he goes to meet up with Raglan James to reclaim his body back. He does not show up. Lestat is furious. He has caught a cold, and is now moaning that he hates to be human. How could he find Raglan James? All of his powers were gone. He goes to see Louis, in the hope that he can give the body he is in the Dark Gift, enabling him to hunt for his vampire body. Louis refuses. Louis is a vampire with very human emotions. He will not turn anyone into a vampire. Even after constant begging, he is refused. Louis tells him that he is very lucky to be able to be come human again, but Lestat hates it! Who will help him find his vampire body? He turns to old David Talbot, and for the rest of the book, they turn into a pair of detectives, on the hunt for Lestat’s true body. There are many fantastic twists in the story, and even I was surprised. This would truly make an excellent movie script, as I’m sure one day it will. This was the fattest book of them all, and I had read it in record time (2 days). I could not put it down. What’s next? Memnoch the Devil. Don’t worry, I have it already. I told my
son not to bother with flowers and chocolates for Mother’s Day, I wanted this book! And here it sits, waiting for me to start reading, which I will, a little later on today. (607 pages)
After the excellence of ‘The Queen of the Damned' this book was an extreme disappointment. The premise was promising: Lestat swapping bodies to be human again. I couldn't see how it could go wrong. However his adventures are, like the book, frustrating and inadequate. While in the previous books Lestat has been refreshing and full of vigour, here his arrogance and carelessness are irritating. I think Rice has become too attached to him - making him out to be more than he is worth; making him one of the most powerful vampires, just by drinking the blood of the most powerful vampire. Rice's books are naturally fantastical, but this one was ridiculous, especially the character of Gretchen, an atheist nun, who cares for the human Lestat in order to lose her virginity and who later receives stigmata. This book could have been so great - because I know that Rice has it in her - but after I had finished I felt livid for wasting my time and money. *SPOILER* It was always inevitable that David was going to be made into a vampire because he is 60+, but the way that it is done shows Rice's vanity for her characters, swapping David's old body for a young one before the transformation. Rice is one of my favourite authors, but I'm afraid to say that I can find little in this book to be positive about.
I did not enjoy this book as much as the previous volumes of the vampire chronicles (this is book four). Like the previous two books the main character is Lestat (which as far as I'm concerned is always a good thing) but this time he spends most of the story trapped in a mortal body. I found this ever so slighlty boring and tiresome although Lestat's panic at being imprisoned in such a weak and vulnerable form is infectious and his mounting horror at how disgusting the human body can be is entertaining enough to make this book worth reading. This book is actually an essential read for anyone who has followed the vampire chronicles up to this point as some life changing events do happen to major characters.