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A Witching Hour - Anne Rice

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      02.02.2011 19:31
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      A book about witches, and their past!

      This is DEFINITELY a book for you. No matter whom you are. What books you prefer, it does not matter, this book has everything and anything you want. I can think of a few reasons why people may not want to read this book, but by the time you have started it, it is glued to you and you just HAVE to read this! It contains every genre possible, if a Waterstones employee asked me to place this book on a shelf under the correct genre, I wouldn't just have difficulty. I'd end up taking hours and hours, trying to work out where this truly belongs! This is definitely the books for you and you will find out why soon enough.

      Before I start, I need to admit, not only to you, but also to myself, that I have been dreading writing this review. I adored this book, and I know many, many other people will, and have. However I believe it is difficult to write a review on this book. I have been struggling, the last few days, to try and work out how I was going to write this review. But I shall try my very best to sell this book to you, as I know for certain you would definitely enjoy it!

      Anne Rice is an author who is quickly and quickly becoming one of my top 10 authors of all time. If you would have asked me about a year ago if I had heard of her, I would have said: "no". If you would have told me a year ago if I have read "Interview with the vampire" I would have said: "I've watched the film, is there really a book to it?" This is the author who wrote "Interview with the vampire" back in 1976 (17 years before I was born). I first came across it a few months ago, I also wrote a review for it. Recently I have added almost all of Anne Rice's novels to my wish list, and I am slowly getting more and more. I have read a total of four books from her, and I have realised that she will be an author I would always read for the rest of my life, she has a very unique writing style and manages to interest you into reading a genre book you hate, and believe me I have come across two novels by her which is just like that. I have many more books to read from her and I really hope she releases more in the future, as she is definitely an author I will keep my eye on.

      This book was my second book I have read from Anne Rice ("Interview with the Vampire" being the first). "The Witching Hour" is the first novel in "The Mayfair Witches Trilogy". I have to admit, I have yet to read the second and third novels, purely because I haven't got them yet, but I'm waiting patiently for them as my friend currently has them.

      We follow Rowan Mayfair on a special adventure to find out her real family. She has an extraordinary power which is to be able to heal people. However her power could be used for both good and evil, but trying to figure out whom exactly is evil and who is good is not always the easiest thing in the world. She rescues a guy (who we also follow, so that we have two stories going at once) called Michael Curry, whose brush with death leaves him with strange sensory powers. The two form a passionate alliance, as they set out together to find out about Rowan's heritage, the key to his gift, and the long exciting past of the Mayfair Witches.

      Before I go on and tell you all about my thoughts I want to point out to everyone that I get extremely annoyed when I hear people moaning at how many pages a book has got. I hear people say they have never ever read a book that has over 200 pages. This is utter nonsense; a book wouldn't be published in the first place if it wasn't worthy enough for the publishers to spend money publishing it. I have also come across books that have around 60 pages, but the text is so small that you end up reading the book for 5 to 6 weeks. I have also come across books which are totally the opposite and have around 300 pages and pretty big text that you end up reading in a matter of hours. Page count doesn't matter, and I constantly see people flipping to the back of the book to check out how many pages it has got. This book, believe it or not has 1216 pages, it is currently holds my record for the most pages in a book I have read. Also the text is normal size, it took me about two months to read, but God it was worth it, the story was extremely interesting and I just couldn't stop reading it, and I didn't care how many pages it had, I just knew it was a book I'd read over and over again, no matter how long it took.

      This book is pure escapism, I don't think there is a morale or a hidden objective behind this amazingly crafted story, it is one book that I will forever keep in my mind, I don't ever need to read a book again to escape from my reality, all I need to do is think about this story line and I am there, it is set out really good and I couldn't get enough of this book and I don't think I ever will.

      As I have mentioned before this book fits into next t every genre I can think of, however I know one place it will never ever appear in, and that would be in "Graphic Novels", there is no pictures in this book whatsoever, it is just a constant word after word after word sort of book. There is lots and lots of genres this could fit into, there is horror, because it is based around the supernatural species of Witches; it could fit into romance, as there is definitely a simple connection that we see right from the start, between Michael Curry and Rowan Mayfair; it could fit into adventure, because they attempt to discover the Mayfair history and we end up following their amazing adventure; there is also thriller, which sort of links in with the horror genre; there is chic-lit (one genre that needs it's name changed and it's stereotypical opinions about it changed) as we get to hear what Rowan thinks about Michael; it could also fit in with the crime/detective genre, because they find out something that has happened in the past and try to work out what happened... The list is endless, I don't want to carry on as it is possible I could bore you to death, but this is definitely a book you should at least consider reading.

      This book is definitely not identifiable as a genre, so I very much doubt I will ever come across a book quite like this one (well apart from other Anne Rice novels). This book is not at all similar to any books I have ever read (I know I've been saying this a lot lately, but no books are alike, although there are some that have links.) I am only 18 (I was born in 1993, and my birthday has just recently gone) and although I have read many, many books in my life I'm sure there is a lot more for me to read. If I could read all the books in the English language that have ever been published before I die I'd be very happy, but I very much doubt that anyone could read so many, surely there is now more books than humans on this planet. Anyway, back to what I was saying, I think this book will always be in my mind, and I may end up reading it again and again because of how good I thought it was. I very much doubt that I will find any book that is similar to this one.

      As you are probably fully aware of, I fell in love with this story straight away. I found it interesting and exhilarating, although there is boring bits (all books have them) I still loved this book and I was pretty much unable to put it down. I got into it straight away and I'm pretty sure you would too. The ending was annoyingly amazing and I cannot wait for the sequel (although I'm in for a long wait I reckon). I believe it is a pure fun read, however it makes you think that your own past could possibly be as large as the Mayfair Family's past. Emotions ran through-out and was beautifully written, that you end up feeling that emotion, and although it never made me cry or feel upset, I did feel affectionate towards the characters as the story progressed. It made me reflect on how little is known about my own family's past, although I am not that interested it is always something I think about now and again, sometimes I think it would be great to know all about what's happened in your family's past, but sometimes to get that information is really annoying an is it really worth the hassle? Personally I don't think it is. This book is definitely one to re-read again and again, and knowing me, if I didn't have so many books to read and review I would definitely read this again. But let's face it there are too many books in the world to afford to re-read a book.

      Seriously, this book will appeal to everyone and anyone, you may have even come across it in a book store, and decided not to buy it because of the size and amount of pages, this is a real problem that people have, it doesn't matter how many pages a book has got, it's exactly the same as judging a book by it's cover, you really should judge it, but it's instinct and it is very, very difficult to not judge books. If you are looking for a perfect book to read or the perfect present for someone, I definitely believe this could be for you. I do have conditions though, I suggest that you don't read this if you've been put off from reading, and you're looking for a book to get you back into reading, keep away from this book. I reckon this book will haunt you and make you believe that you will never ever finish it, therefore making you stop reading for another few years. I highly suggest, if you want to get back into reading, looking for a short easy-to-get into sort of book, and then consider this book, otherwise, I reckon you'll stop reading for another few years, and surely you do not want that!

      There is quite a lot of bad things that people (including me) may dislike about this book, for starters the amount of pages, I know I have touched up on this here and there, but it is a big important thing that people tend to judge a book for, and although the book was amazing I still felt it was too long! Furthermore, about halfway through the book, the characters come across "The Mayfair File" which is a collection of history from the very first Mayfair up until the latest one, which happens to be Rowan, (I'm doing my very best not to give too much away), however this file takes up mot of the book, and this kind of links in with the boring parts, as there is pieces and pieces of information that have had to be written or typed or made in a certain way that it can be included within the file. In doing so it makes the book easily put-down able, which is a big hazard, and I found that at times I would much prefer to do something else (such as homework) than read this book. But the files tend to get more and more interesting, so much more that before you realise, you are back with the normal characters (Rowan and Michael), and that you tend to be upset that you almost didn't finish the book because of the files. I personally felt this and I am very glad that I persevered with the files and got back into the book. There is occasionally confusing parts that appear throughout the book, such as the start when Michael develops these magical powers. We don't know what they do and we don't know how they work, and we don't understand why it has happened, pretty much we are linked with Michael and know everything he knows about these magical powers, so we are kept in the dark, which interests us more and more, making us want to know why and how this is happening. We quickly identify with Michael and become a part of him. Much later on we have a similar connection to Rowan. This definitely shows how much Anne Rice is good at what she does, and really manages to capture us within minutes. If we cannot identify with the characters (like we can't in the files) then we believe that the book isn't right for us. However Anne Rice's writing style is amazing and that would probably be why everyone would enjoy this book just as much as I did.

      Given the chance I would definitely rate this book as a 3.5 stars out of five; however I am unable to do this and so have decided to give it 4 stars. It should be worthy of 5 out of 5, however those files really annoyed me, and bearing in mind how other people would think about this book, and the amount of pages, I feel that it doesn't deserve 5 stars. So I have dropped 1 star off for all the right reasons.

      Thank you very much for reading, and I would be happy if I have interested a lot of people into reading this. If I haven't I hope it's all for the right reasons. Thanks again for reading!

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        13.10.2008 17:53
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        A supernatural masterpiece-rich historical detail.

        writer, Anne Rice.
        Released, 1990.

        "The witching hour" is the first book in the "Mayfair witches" series.
        It was followed by "Lasher"(1993), and then "Taltos"(1994).

        The Mayfair family feature in the "Vampire Chronicles" series, in the books "Blackwood farm"(2002) and "Blood Canticle"(2003).

        Anne Rice is famous for her Vampire Chronicles, but in this series, she lends her hand to witchcraft.

        Rice weaves a rich history of the Mayfair family throughout the book, spanning from the 17th century, to the present day (when the book was released in 1990).
        "The Witching Hour" spent three months on the New York Times best seller list, and rightly so.

        What is wonderful about this book, is that there is not only one heroine, in main character Rowan, but several, as we learn of the sprawling and rich history of the Mayfair family, and the generations of troubled and tragic women.

        Plot outline.
        ~~~~~~~~

        The Mayfair family history spans back since the late sixteen hundreds.
        Suzanne Mayfair, a witch, called up a spirit, Lasher, to aid her.
        Lasher stayed with the family, acting as familiar to every great witch in each generation, bringing wealth to the family, but destruction to each witch.

        We are introduced to the most current witch of the Mayfairs.
        Rowan was adopted at birth, and so has no knowledge of the unusual Mayfair history.
        She lives and works in SanFransico, as a neurosurgeon. Rowanhas special powers. She has the ability to heal, and destroy, at will.

        When Rowans birth mother, Deirdre, dies, Rowan becomes the Designee of the Mayfair family.

        Michael Curry is an architect, originally from New Orleans.
        After being saved from drowning by Rowan, Michael discovers a new ability. By touching an object, he sees visions of the objects history, or past owners.
        When Michael and Rowan fall in love, they travel back to New Orleans.

        For centuries, an ancient secret society, the Talamasca, has followed the Mayfair witches, researching and logging their activities.
        Aaron Lighter is a scholar for the Talamasca, and has a particular interest in the Mayfairs. He tracks Michael down, as Michael saw the spirit Lasher as a child.
        As with each witch in each generation, Lasher attatches himself to Rowan, eventually revealing his shocking intentions to her.

        ~~~~~~~
        Mayfair Family tree.
        ~~~~~~~~~~

        * Suzanne Mayfair~ (?-1664)
        * Deborah Mayfair~ (1652-1689),
        * Charlotte Mayfair~ (1667-1743)
        * Jeanne-Louise Mayfair~ (1690-1771)
        * Angélique Mayfair~ (1725-?)
        * Marie-Claudette Mayfair~ (1760-1831)
        * Marguerite Mayfair~ (1799-1891)
        * Katherine Mayfair~ (1830-1905
        * Mary Beth Mayfair~ (1872-1925)
        * Stella Mayfair~ (1901-1929)
        *Antha Mayfair~ (1921-1941)
        *Deirdre Mayfair~ (1941-1989)
        * Rowan Mayfair~ (1959-)

        ~~~~~~~~

        This novel is like reading a vast array of seperate books, all concerning the different witches, in different periods.
        This book is written in incredible detail. Each character is written with care.

        A short (ill try) Character synopsis.
        ~~~~~~~~

        ~Rowan Mayfair is the heroine. Or, at least, the present day heroine.
        Rowan is actually my least favorite character, although she is central to the present day plot.
        Rowan is slightly masculine, at least personality wise. She seems cold, and clinical. Unlike the other characters in this book, Rowans character doesnt seem to be sufficiently explored. I was let puzzled at the choices she had made, by the finale.

        ~Michael Curry.
        Where Rowan let me down, Michael made up for it.
        Michael oozes masculinity and charisma. His character is given a proper history, so we understand his motivations, and therefore his actions.
        He is the most down to earth character in this book, which again lends realism to the tale.

        ~The Mayfairs.
        Each witch was special in her own way. The stories of Stella Mayfair, and Julian Mayfair particularly stood out for me though. Both characters were vibrant and eccentric, and both characters admitted to the irony and humour of thier circumstances.

        ~~~~~~

        Ill also quickly say, although I dont know how important it is to other people, that the characters physical apperance is always described.
        I love to know what the characters I am reading about look like.


        This book is not for people who like their novels short and sweet.
        Its a monster, filled with detail, characters, places and events. It can be a little hard at times to keep up, unless you are really good at remembering names and places. This novel is 1206, so takes some time and effort.
        This, however, means that rereading the book is extra special. I have read it about four times, and discovered new things with each additional read.

        Anne Rice writes beautifully.
        Some of the topics in this book are contraversial...mainly the incentuous inbreeding of the Mayfair family.
        Anne Rice has the power to handle this topic elegantly. The incest just adds to the mystery and allure of the tale.
        Her characters are completely three dimesions.
        I found myself forming emotional attatchment to every single witch mentioned. Their histories stayed with me, from the witch burnings in Scotland, to the frivolity and joy that was experienced in the twenties.

        One of the main characters in the novel, although it isnt a person, is the Mayfair house.
        Described in beautiful detail, the house that was passed down from generation to generation in the Mayfair family becomes an important feature in the Novel.
        This is a truly haunted house if ever there was one.
        Whats makes this all the more interesting, is that it was based upon the home of Anne Rice from 1989, to 2004.
        Its this basis in fact that keeps the novel realistic. Everything feels real, despite the supernatural themes.
        Even the witchcraft and supernatural elements are handled carefully.
        This tale doesnt ever seem to fly into the realms of fantasy.
        Whilst reading, I felt as if everything was entirely possible, and that witches and spirits really truly exist.
        This is pure escapism.

        For pictures of the real house, go here.

        http://www.annerice.com/NewOrleans-1239First.html


        Another thing that interests me about this novel, is how empowering it is to women.
        This tale is ALL about the women of the family, with the men being sidelined.
        There is only one powerful male witch, Julian Mayfair.

        I shall give up now. There is too much to write about. Too much to praise.

        This book is dark, sinister, beautifully detailed, full of interesting historical snippets. The characters are in depth and three dimension, all completely different, all powerful in their own way. The locations are gorgeous, the relationships between people realistic. The dialogue is beautifully poetic.
        If you like supernatural fiction, or historical fiction, and enjoy getting your teeth into a lovingly written book, read this.



        Visit the Anne Rice website here.

        http://www.annerice.com/

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          13.01.2004 14:20
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          Until a few months ago, the only book I had ever read by Anne Rice was half of ?Interview with a Vampire.? The reason I never finished ?Interview with a Vampire? was because I started it when I was quite young and I found it a tough read. This has recently changed after my friend lent me this book and ?The Vampire Lestat? and ?Queen of the Damned.? Suffice it to say, I loved them. So much so that there is no possible way I could write a fair and unbiased review of them. So instead I am reviewing ?The Witching Hour? because while I enjoyed it I didn?t find it quite so time-consumingly addictive as the Vampire Chronicles. However, it is an interesting book to talk about. ** The Storyline ** Rowan Mayfair is the latest in a long line of witches. However, unlike all of her predecessors she has no knowledge of her family as she was adopted as a baby. She does possess certain supernatural powers including some telepathy and what she calls her ?diagnostic sixth sense?, which she uses in her work as a neurosurgeon. Michael Curry is a man who is saved from drowning by Rowan. His near death experience leaves him with a power in his hands to receive images connected to objects that he touches. He and Rowan are both drawn back to their native home in New Orleans where try to discover how and why they are connected and what consequences it will have for their lives. Interwoven with this is the history of Rowan?s family, the Mayfair witches, which is written down by a member of the Talamasca. This is an organisation that seeks to gain knowledge by observing the strange and the occult. Aaron Lightner is the current member who is trying to discover more about the Mayfair witches, and he is also becomes inextricably linked to Rowan and Michael. The Talamasca are studying how the power is passed on from witch to witch and what the connection is between the witches and their spirit named Lasher who is almost like a familiar for the witches.
          Lasher is a menacing and potent presence for the witches and his wishes are not known until the very end of the book, when it is also revealed the purpose for Rowan and Michael coming together. It is incredibly difficult to succinctly and successfully describe all the elements of the plot, which weaves the story together. On one hand, it is seemingly simple but on the other there are many characters, sub plots, emotions, historical pieces that can become confusing and make it difficult to extract exactly where the story is leading to. And at 1206 pages long, it can sometimes feel as if you?re never going to find out the deeper story within the novel. ** The Characters ** Rowan Mayfair is the centre of attention for the book but I hesitate to give her the label of ?main character? purely because I didn?t get the sense that the book was really about her. This might have been because I didn?t particularly like her as a character. I found her quite cold and standoffish in some respects but also very sexually aggressive. I couldn?t quite believe her personality because of these pronounced differences within her so I found it difficult to understand how she could have these contrasting traits. The only redeeming thing about her was that instead of exploiting her powers, she used them as best as she could and when they went beyond her control she was suitable ashamed of the damage she had done. Though, saying this, she might have been a more interesting character if she had been as aggressive with her powers as she was in other areas. Her personality does change slightly towards the end and the finale left me feeling that maybe I hadn?t really understood her all that well, as I couldn?t correlate the final choice that she makes with her previous actions. I think that her character will be developed more fully in the sequels. The most interesting character, and my favourite, was Michael Curry. This was a man who had charisma and appeal i
          n bucket loads. He is good-looking yet rugged, artistic yet down-to-earth, impulsive and caring and I could fully understand why Rowan fell for him. He plays an important part in the story and within his interaction with Rowan and her family and it shows in how the character is described to every last detail. I get the impression that this is a character that will appear in the sequels and possibly has another important role to play within them. The Mayfair family as a whole are described, though some more fully than others. I actually found the historical part of the book fascinating reading, though I notice that other reviewers on the site have commented that it was dull and too long. I think because I read the book aware that there are others to follow, it made sense to me to set out all of the history of the family as a basis for the books as a whole. I enjoyed reading about how all the members fit together, though I did find some of the incestuous relationships a little hard to stomach ? it also made it difficult to follow through who was related to who in which way, but it does sort of make sense by the end. Other characters such as Aaron Lightner of the Talamasca and Rita May Lonigan add context and more ?normal? human emotions in the story and, in the case of Rita May, human reactions to the antics of the Mayfair family. They were needed almost as a scientific control in which to contrast the Mayfairs with and they add another dimension to the story. I think if the book had left out these sorts of characters then the strange behaviour of the Mayfairs would have been too much. They needed some normality to keep the story believable. ** My opinion ** I anticipated absolutely loving this book as I enjoyed the Vampire Chronicles so much. However, I didn?t quite enjoy it as much as I thought I would. There were a number of reasons for this: Firstly, the book was just slightly too long. It could have been edited slightl
          y to cut it down and to make the action a bit sharper. At times it felt drawn out, especially the first half of the book and as the ending to the story was wound up within a few pages it felt a bit of an anticlimax. Secondly, unlike the Vampire Chronicles, the more sexual elements to the book were graphically described. The Vampire Chronicles used less description and allowed your mind to wander about what happened between the characters. In The Witching Hour sex scenes are fully, explicitly and sometimes crudely described. As there was a large amount of sexual reference within the book that were necessary, such as the incest and the relationships between Rowan and her various men, graphic scenes weren?t necessary to emphasise how aggressive she was, or even how much certain characters wanted others. Apart from these two reasons, the book was enjoyable. I found the history part fascinating, even the small pieces about the Talamasca. I would be very interested if Anne Rice has written about the Talamasca as the main subject for a novel as this organisation in itself is an interesting concept. I like reading about the supernatural, and within this book, the supernatural is mixed with the natural subtly, which makes it all the more appealing. The family could almost be any other family, if it wasn?t for the small paranormal elements that are present within their lives. I will be reading the follow ups to this book as it is interesting enough to me to continue with. I think this book would appeal to women more than men, or people have an interest in the supernatural. It isn?t really suitable for people hoping for a romantic love story or an action packed thriller, but it rests somewhere in between. ** About the Author ** www.annerice.com Anne Rice was born in New Orleans in 1941. She writes under three names, Anne Rice, Anne Rampling and A. N. Roquelare. Her first novel was ?Interview with the Vampire? published in 1
          973. Her novels include The Vampire Chronicles, New Tales of the Vampires, Lives of the Mayfair Witches and The Beauty Series. The sequels to ?The Witching Hour? are ?Lasher? and ?Taltos.? Her most recent novel ?Blackwood Farm? brings together the Vampires and the Mayfair witches. It was seeing this novel advertised that made me want to read the Mayfair Witches stories because I knew it wouldn?t have the same impact without reading those first. ?The Witching Hour? was published May 1, 1993. ISBN: 0345384466 Amazon.co.uk: From £2.40 used

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          • More +
            06.06.2002 13:22
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            • "Very
            • very long"

            Author Anne Rice is a spinner of yarns, a creator or worlds. She had spun tales as diverse as those of vampires, witches, and mummies, along with several hardcore erotic novels and dramatic books, such as "Cry to Heaven" and "The Feast of All Saints". With that in mind, let's take a look at Rice's spawling, huge novel of witches and demons known as "The Witching Hour", which was published in 1990 to generally decent critic reviews and massive book sales. And all of that was well deserved, as I found the book to be thrilling, a tad overlong but that can be forgiven, and exthralling, drawing me into it's web and holding me tight all the way into the twilight hours, as I raced to finish the novel. A little history about "Witching Hour" and Anne Rice may be in order to get into the feel of the novel. 1976 was the year that Rice published "Interview with the Vampire" which I found to be an interesting, albeit highly flawed novel about vampirism. The storyline is interesting, but the manner in which events are dealt was rather meandering and unappealing. Rice continued her series with "The Vampire Lestat", as good a book as I have ever read in 1985. Then came the third book, "The Queen of the Damned", which was also good, although very much different from "Vampire Lestat". NOTE: There is a sequel to "Witching Hour" titled "Lasher". Also, there is a sequel to "Lasher" called "Taltos". These three books form a trilogy, I they are worth reading, but be warned, each book has it's flaws. "The Witching Hour" is a good old fashioned gothic horror drama about a rich old family with many hidden secrets, demons, witches, ghosts, murder, the supernatural, psychi
            cs, and secret organization called simply the TALAMASCA, and an old, dark, very surely haunted house on First Street in the Garden District on New Orleans. These are the strands of which Rice weaves her haunting saga, her tapestry of rage and death, birth and lust, and of family. This book runs an imposing 965 pages in its trade paperback and hardcover versions, and it is so big and thick I was nervous that I would start it and never be able to finish it. Boy was I wrong as once I started it I couldn't put it down and you shouldn't let the book's length keep you from giving this one a glance. "The Witching Hour" is the sprawling sage of the Mayfair family; they are a family of witches, haunted, so it seems, by something they can "The Man", who is later revealed to be a spirit/possible demon of sorts by the name of "Lasher". Forever linked to the family is an old, crumbling mansion on First Street in the Garden District of New Orleans and a emerald necklace heirloom, which is similarly connected to the spirit Lasher. And this is how we begin the novel. Deidre Mayfair, 12th witch in the Mayfair dynasty is dying, and her daughter Rowan Mayfair, a beautfiful blonde neurosurgeon from San Francisco, adopted by cousins at birth, returns to discover her roots, where she came from. Almost immeditealy Lasher makes contact with Rowan, but why and what he wants is unknown to her. Michael Curry, a carpenter who was saved from drowning in the San Francisco Bay by none other than Rowan Mayfair, the two have an intense, brief affair before Rowan leaves for New Orleans, follows Rowan to the First Street mansion in New Orleans and the two are soon wed, and Rowan discovers she is pregnant. Menacing dreams begin plauging Rowan as she slowly fi
            nds she is the 13th witch in the Mayfair dynasty, she now wears the emerald necklace heirloom, and she keeps flashing on a keyhole, a huge doorway of sorts. She doesn't know what is means exactly, but she comes to the realization that it is directly influenced by Lasher. On Christmas Eve, Rowan banishes Michael from the house and awaits Lasher, for he will reveal her true purpose in returning to New Orleans, and this haunting, melodic story comes to a close with a bang! Anne Rice writes brilliantly poetic with her novel, filling it with intensely likeable characters, heartstopping violence and gore, a smattering of sexuality, and hauntings of the scariest kinds. Truly, once you start the novel, Rice's writing will grab you, put you through an emotional wringer, and once it's over, you'll thank her for it. Many readers have claimed that Rice is too descriptive in her writing, and true, her over descriptive nature tends to slow the pace of the book every now and then, it is never damaging to the whole of the book. I actually liked the descriptions, as it took me to New Orleans, San Francisco, and other incredible locations around the globe. The tone of "Witching Hour" is dark, very dark, maybe too dark for some. I however am in the camp which admire Rice for taking the material and weaving a horrific dream come true for horror fans. This novel most approaches outright horror than any other she has written, and the mood of the novel is accurately gothic. Another thing I loved about this book were the fascinating, multifaceted and complex characters populating the pages of the yarn. While I loved all the characters, personal favorites of mine were few. Rowan Mayfair is a great character, she of the supernatural power, incredible sexuality an
            d blonde hair, and fearsome family. Her character is affraid of her supernatural powers, but gradually learns that if she is to break Lasher from the family she will have to learn how to use them. Lasher was my personal favorite from the entire book. He is seen as a ghost during the whole of the book, and while he isn't given much to do, and he certainly isn't in much of the book, although a lot of focal attention is paid to him through lots of conversation, he made the book worth reading for me. Other characters which I found appealing to me were Mona Mayfair, the little red head cousin of Rowan; Aaron Lightner, an agent of the Talamasca; Aunt Carlotta Mayfair, she of the hardened temperament and spiteful demeanor; and last but not least, Stella Mayfair, the witch shot in the head during her own swinging party by her own brother. These are not nearly all of the characters featured in the book, but they were the most memorable for myself. With "The Witching Hour" Anne Rice reached a peak of creative momentum and critical fanfare she has yet to top, although she has tried countless times. After this book she returned to her vampire chronicles, but she eventually penned a sequel, "Lasher" which is worth a look, although it was a bit of a letdown after the superior "Witching Hour". I highly recommend "Anne Rice's Witching Hour" to readers of any given genre of literature, and horror fans in particular. Rice fans will surely have read it already, but if you haven't, rush out and pick up a copy right now. This receives my highest recommendation. It is a fine piece of literature, and fine book to just sit down and immerse yourself in. "Anne Rice's The Witching Hour" contains descriptions of violence/gore, sex
            uality, including incest, thematic material, and for some adult language and horrific elements. I would not recommend children of any age read this novel.

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              20.03.2002 19:25
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              • tedious

              "The Witching Hour" takes us out of Anne Rice's familiar vampire world, but not very far. We are back in New Orleans, where the air seems to be full of exotic, slightly sickening perfumes, and strange things lurk on almost every corner. "The Witching Hour" is the first in a series - "Lasher" and "Taltos" follow it, although given the huge bulk of this book, you'd be forgiven for wondering if there is any more story to tell. This isn't an easy book to unravel - largely due to the blk and the unconventional family it centres on. At the heart of the tale are the mayfair witches - 13 generations of women linked by the sort of complicated incestuous relationships that will make your ehad hurt if you try to keep track of them. I considered making up some sort of diogram as I went along, but soon realised our language does not have the words to express what you get when if you dip into the same gene pool that often. In terms of the book, what you get are powerful women with unusual gifts, who are bound to serve/be served by a rather sinister spirit called Lasher. It looks very much like the spirit wears the trousers in this relationship. Rice traces the history of the thirteen generations, in all their convolutions, and this takes up the vast bulk of the book. For reasons best known to herself, she presents the information mostly as a report on the family. If I said it was dry reading, I would be guilty of gross understatement. For light relief, we have at the same time a contemporary tale of a bloke called Michael Curry, who has returned from a near death exerience with some odd powers of his own and the impression of a mission from the dead. He soon gets tangled up with Rowan Mayfair, witch number 13, who is trying to find out who and what she is. They have a romance, a fairly angsty one at that. If New Orleans wasn't familair enough, Rice readers will soon feel at home with the T
              alamasca creeping about and getting involved - the talamasca is a sectret society devoted to ivnestigating strange stuff - very x-files like, only not linked to any government. Aaron Lightner providwes most of the dreaded background information. The plot is amazingly complex, and is constructed in such a way that you really do have to plough through 13 generations of not very pelasant and soon forgotten women just to make any sense of what's going on. If you want to read the following two books, you need to do a fair job of understanding and remembering it as well, which is no mean feat. The book lacks pace and momentum, which is a real let down. Furthermore, there are so many of these mayfair women, that you rpidly stop really caring about most of them - they aren't horrid enough to be interesting, they aren't nice enough to be sympathetic, and largely they are just frustrating. You get the odd one or two who stand out, but its hard to care what happens to this family. There is almost no resolution in this book - and while the next two take you further into things (and are lots shorter)there are no satisfying conclusions. It doesn't really go anywhere that I found interesting. The odds are that die hard Rice fans will read this just because, and will wallow in the atmosphere and put up with the lack of pace. If you were looking for blood and gore horror, or psychological horror, then this book probably won't suit - what little there is is so immersed in everything else, and it certainly isn't scary. If you have many, many hours to kill and only room to take one book, and you've already read all those huge Russian epics and are looking for something to try your patience, give it a go, you might just like it!

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                19.07.2001 22:07
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                • "Sentencing for Book-related Homicide Can be Stringent"

                Call me a mysoginistic, uncultured pig if you like, but I honestly think that Anne Rice's Witching Hour is a severe reminder of what happens when women and horror fall drunkenly into bed, clumsily fumbling around with each other before finally realising they never really liked each other in the first place. I know it's terribly old-fashioned, and possibly offensive, but I have never read a horror novel by a woman author that truly scared me. I have read a *lot* of horror books and, don't get me wrong, there's a heap of piss-poor male authors in the genre too. But I have yet to find an equal to the genius of the Stephen King's and the Clive Barker's on the female side of the profession. My wife, however, insisted that this was one of the best books she had ever read, so I put my chauvinistic socks back in the drawer and gave it a try. The Witching Hour is the saga of a family of witches called the Mayfairs. It charts the rise and demise of each generation's witch amid a central plot of the latest Mayfair witch's (Rowan Mayfair) search to find her roots and control her powers. Surprise, surprise, there is also a love interest skulking around - a man whose life Rowan saves and who is given the power to see the history of an object he touches. Rowan tries hard to end the sinister nature of the family, but has to battle against a spirit called Lasher, who gave the Mayfair witches their power to start with. I don't want to give too much of the plot away, since you may well end up reading this book, and enjoying it - who am I to say? Let me, instead, come to the problem I have with this, and other female horror novels. Perhaps I can return to my sex analogy here. The feeling I get from this book, in particular, is that its difference from male horror novels lies in its approach - much as women's ideas of sex differ from males. There is a *lot* of foreplay in this book. The beginning is 400 pages of
                pure emotional drivel. Now, I fully understand that you cannot always just leap into the most exciting part of a horror novel - setting the scene and pace are of the utmost importance in any fictional work. I do, however, find 400 pages a little bit overboard for setting the scene. There are little hints of things to come, but it's sort of like snogging for four hours with the prmoise of sex repeated again and again - a little frustrating, to say the least. The second part of the book starts off very well. "There's hope to be had, yet" you may think to yourself. The shirts have started coming off; a hand wanders a little further southwards; anticipation mounts. But, alas, it's all just a manipulative ploy. The end of the second part tapers back off to some mild petting and maybe a lovebite. On to Part Three - ooops, she's just put all her clothes back on and is holding your hand. Maybe women authors don't want to scare you too much at once - Anne Rice might well have believed that a breather was necessary at this juncture to calm those *ahem* shattered nerves. Whatever her motive, I felt very let down returning to the style and pace of part one. The final part of the book does actually get going (mind, this is page 1000 or so) to a quivering little climax. Our metaphorical couple gets a little heavier but she ends up finishing on his leg is, perhaps, the best way to see it. There does not feel like there is any reader participation in this book - you are not invited to empathise or even really care about the characters. My main problem with this novel is its over-emphasis on personal relationships. The love between Rowan and the man she saves is talked about endlessly. Obviously, any good horror story will have emotions and feelings - but only to the extent that you take an active interest in their well-being - not to the point where you can guess what kind of Vaelntine's card they would get each
                other, and be 90% certain of the colour of his underwear on any particular day. Once again, I'm probably just being all pig-headed and male - but I honestly cannot find one redeeming factor in this peurile novel. Her language is uninspired, characters flat and story far too long-winded to care about. All in all, the thickest fly-swatter money can buy. Mind, it's just my opinion.

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                  05.05.2001 01:25
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                  After having read all of Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles to date, I have been reading some of her other books. This time I am reading the set of three books about the Mayfair Witches. The first, The Witching Hour, is quite a fat book, with over 1,000 pages. It took a while to read, and I found myself nipping off to bed early for a bit of peace and quiet to get on with reading it. Not only that, but it is a book that once you start, you just want to keep reading. The setting of the book is in New Orleans, where Anne Rice herself lives, so you can be sure that all descriptions of buildings and places are going to be very accurate. Sometimes she does tend to go overboard with descriptions, giving the reader every detail, and this can be annoying when it is a good part of the book because you just want to know what happens. The book starts with the lives of different people, who will eventually meet up as the book progresses. MICHAEL CURRY He was born in New Orleans in the Irish quarter, and after his father died, his family move to San Francisco. He becomes a bit of a celebrity in the local newspapers after having drowned and has a ‘near death’ experience. After he is rescued, he finds that he has gained some unusual power. He can see images when he touches things with his hands. This drives him to drink because he cannot handle it, and he also starts to wear black gloves. ROWAN MAYFAIR Adopted by relatives shortly after she was born, 30 year old Rowan Mayfair is a beautiful and brilliant brain surgeon. She is the natural daughter of Deirdre Mayfair, living in New Orleans, but adopted because Deirdre is said to be mad. Rowan lives and works in San Francisco. She was the one that saved Michael Curry from drowning, but at this stage in the book, Michael has no idea who rescued him. Rowan has a special gift too. She can lay her hands on a patient and know exactly what is wrong with them. AARO
                  N LIGHTNER Aaron is an investigator with an organisation called the Talamasca. Sound familiar? Yes, the Talamasca have been mentioned in other Anne Rice books. They investigate the unusual, and many of them can read minds. Their object is to watch and keep files of strange and unusual happenings. Aaron has been keeping files on The Mayfair Witches, Rowan’s descendants. They eventually meet up when Michael finds out that it was Rowan that has saved him from drowning, and Aaron is investigating the story about Michael’s strange power in his hands. The death of Rowan’s birth mother, Dierdre, brings them all together to New Orleans. Here, when Aaron realises that Michael and Rowan have become an item, he gives Michael the file on The Mayfair Witches to read. The next part of the book then tells us the history of the Mayfair’s, dating back to the 1600’s in Scotland, where many were burnt at the stake for being witches. The history takes the Mayfair’s to Saint Dominique where they acquire a huge plantation and much wealth. There is also mention of an invisible being, named Lasher. He is supposed to be an evil entity having been called upon by Suzanne Mayfair (the first Mayfair) to do her bidding. He has then remained with the Mayfair family through generations. The Mayfair’s flee Saint Dominique after an uprising, and end up in New Orleans, where they have remained to this day. The file contains information about each family member and the strange happenings involving the entity Lasher. Even investigators from the Talamasca have strangely disappeared or come to an untimely end over the years. The remainder of the book is about Michael and Rowan marrying, restoring the grand Mayfair house on First Street (the same street that the author lives on), and their relationships with the rest of the Mayfair family. It doesn’t end there though. If I tell you any more it would sp
                  oil it, but the ending chapters are very gripping with an ending that I never expected. I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and there was no part of it that bored me, except the over descriptions by the author. Characters were believable, and as I have said before, Anne Rice certainly knows her history. When I saw the size of it I didn’t think that I would get through it, having not been reading books for very long. But it really is a great book. If you are looking for horror with gore, this is not for you. Anne Rice’s books tend not to be very gory, but the stories do make up for it.

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                • Product Details

                  A story of a family of witches spanning three centuries.