Book Review: The Queen of the Damned (The Vampire Chronicles Book 3) by Anne Rice

 
 
Akasha has risen from her slumber thanks to Lestat's music, and now she's come for him so that he can stand beside her as she enacts her twisted plan to create world peace and become a god to the people. Meanwhile, the few remaining vampires gather to learn the story of the twins and to figure out what to do.

Title: The Queen of the Damned
Author:
Book Number: Book 3
Pages: 514
My Rating: 3 Stars
More Info: Goodreads, Amazon, Publisher
 

Review:

So, my review is once again… really long. I can’t help it! I have so many thoughts! I’m trying to at least divide these up as much as possible so that you all can choose which sections interest you and just read those if you don’t want to read the whole thing ๐Ÿ™‚

Things I Disliked/Things I Didn’t Mind but Others Might Dislike:

A lot of the writing choices in this series are strange. For example, the book started off with Lestat breaking the fourth wall, explaining how he was going to tell us the story of what happened since the ending of the last book. He even explained how he was going to jump to other characters’ perspectives (though that made more sense when I got to the end). And in every book so far, at least one character has explained their entire life story out loud to someone else.

There’s also a lot of fluff. The characters really like to wax lyrical and over-explain things. But I’m guessing this is just Anne Rice’s style.

– There were a lot of POVs, not all of which seemed necessary. BUT while I didn’t care for some of the POVs (Jesse’s, Pandora’s), I loved others (Daniel’s, Khayman’s), and I did enjoy getting such a well-rounded view of events and getting to know everyone better.

The book was slow and meandering, and not a lot actually happened. We didn’t even get to the concert until like halfway through. Then things got interesting at the concert. Then things slowed down again. This book seemed to be mostly backstory about various different vampires and how vampires came into existence.

Things I Liked:

Not only are all the characters so complex, these vampires are so not-human. They masquerade as human, but they’re not. The way they think and feel is so different.

All the relationships are so complex too. I also find it so interesting the way all the vampires are psychically connected. That makes for interesting connections and interactions among them. And it’s nice when they actually care about each other, like how Pandora and Santino both cared about Marius enough to trek through the frozen tundra to save him.

– It was cool getting to see the characters from other perspectives, to see the way other characters saw them. It helped me understand and get to know all of them better. Especially since every POV is so deep and biased that I sometimes don’t even realize something about a character until another points it out. It’s like every new POV causes me to reconsider my thoughts and feelings about things.

This has got to be the most unique, complex, well thought-out explanation for vampirism, how it started, why it works the way it does, etc. that I have ever seen.

– I loved the ending. Well, part of it— *SPOILER* The way they all overcame issues among themselves and came together, agreeing to always meet up again. *END SPOILER*

– This is more of a neutral thing than a like or dislike, but all these characters are so forgiving. I mean, I don’t know that I’d have forgiven them for some of the things they’ve done to each other. But I guess, when you’re immortal and have a limited choice of fellow immortal beings to befriend and keep away the loneliness and madness, it makes sense.

My Thoughts on the Characters (there might be *SPOILERS* in this section):

– Armand. I stand by my assessment that Armand is awful. However, he’s also the most entertaining of the vampires so far because of how Anne Rice really plays with the whole “old immortal who can’t keep up with changes and doesn’t understand modern times” thing. Like, on one end of the spectrum, you have Lestat who can seemingly adapt to anything; he rises from the ground after who knows how long, and within a couple weeks, he’s decked out in leather, riding a motorcycle, joining a band, writing songs, planning out music videos, typing up his own memoir, and basically taking over the human world as a rockstar. Meanwhile:

Once Armand had dragged Daniel out of bed in New Orleans and shouted at him: “That telephone, I want you to dial Paris, I want to see if it can really talk to Paris.”

Technological inventions began to obsess Armand, one after the other. First it was kitchen blenders, in which he made frightful concoctions mostly based on the colors of the ingredients; then microwave ovens, in which he cooked roaches and rats. Garbage disposers enchanted him; he fed them paper towels and whole packages of cigarettes.

Back to him being awful though, I’ve talked about the things he did in previous books already, and in this one, he basically ruined Daniel’s life and sanity (before he finally turned him). First, he basically just told Daniel that he was going to stalk him and possibly kill him, unless he proved to be interesting. That went on for a while, and poor Daniel lived in constant fear, on the verge of madness. Then he stopped for a bit, Daniel started feeling sane and well again, only for Armand to swoop back in and tell Daniel he loved him and that Daniel was his now and that, from now on, he could do what he wanted during the day but would spend his nights with Armand. He even made Daniel have sex with people while he watched. I really don’t think I’d call it consensual given how controlling Armand was of Daniel, and Daniel himself said he would be aroused during but feel resentful after. Armand was horribly manipulative (but that’s nothing new), and Daniel was horribly exhausted from years of being dragged around, made to go along with all of Armand’s whims. However, I think Armand cares more about Daniel than he’s ever cared for any other living being (there was Marius, of course, but he literally belonged to Marius, and I think he only felt love for Marius because he was beautiful and otherworldly and the first one to treat him with compassion, so I’m not really sure how I feel about that). And that’s… kind of sad. That this is love to him. That this is how he treats the person he cares about most. And I can’t help but wonder if Daniel actually loves him back or if he just feels what he feels because of his obsession with immortality/vampires and the crazy way Armand essentially took over his life. But now that Daniel is vampire, Armand seems to be treating him better at least.

Oh, and let’s also not forget that Armand treated Lestat horribly in the past, but as soon as Akasha woke and started killing vampires but sparing the ones closest to Lestat, Armand wanted Lestat’s protection.

But like I said, he’s entertaining. And complex. And some strange part of me likes him despite everything he’s done. I guess I feel for him. In a way, he’s a bit like Claudia in that he never really got to have a normal human life before being turned.

– Daniel. I found Daniel just as complex and interesting as all the others, but he was a bit of a hot mess. As a human, he was obsessed with immortality and vampires and then Armand to the point that he’d just stop eating and wander around a city half-mad and/or near-death until Armand sent someone to rescue him. Once he got what he wanted, I have to agree with Marius’s description that Daniel was basically drunk. He was just perpetually fascinated and amused by everything. He didn’t even have the sense to feel worry when Akasha was incinerating all the vampires around them.

– Khayman. I felt bad for him. Khayman was so old, one of the oldest, and he was just so lonely. The poor man just kept trying to be friends with every vampire he came across. He offered his name freely, he tried to help them, etc. He did a terrible thing in the past, absolutely, but he admitted that and regretted it and only did it because he would’ve been killed otherwise and someone worse would’ve just been commanded to do it anyway, so I was able to like him for who he is now. I’m happy he finally has a coven of sorts.

– Marius. I felt bad for him too, for different reasons. He took on this heavy, thankless burden of watching over Akasha and Enkil for so many years. Then, when she woke, she mocked him, destroyed his home, and nearly destroyed him but spared him only because of her feelings for Lestat. I could understand why Marius felt bitter. But he was still kind-hearted and couldn’t even hold onto that bitterness for long, plus he still didn’t want anything bad to happen to Lestat or to anyone. I like his compassion, patience, and wisdom.

– Maharet. To put it bluntly, Maharet has been through some shit. Yet she never let it break her. She even found a way to avoid the despair and madness that claims all the other vampires, either causing them to go into the fire or into the earth. I don’t know that I felt much connection with her, but I admired her.

– Lestat. I’ll give Lestat credit—he stood up to Akasha and told her that what she was doing was wrong, knowing full well that she could and might kill him. But then, so did Marius, Gabrielle, Louis, and Maharet, so this act of morality doesn’t really make him special. He wasn’t really my favorite person in this novel, I guess, since more than ever it was apparent how reckless Lestat was. He wanted to have attention and to start a war and never actually stopped to think how many innocents might harmed in the process. And he said himself that when he wants to do something, he’s going to do it, regardless of rules or anything. In a way, I relate to his rebelliousness, the way he won’t just sit back and accept it if he doesn’t agree with someone. But I’m also a fairly rule-following person the rest of the time, so sometimes I find his rebelliousness annoying. I also didn’t understand how he could love Akasha (then again, he didn’t know the whole backstory). But he does bring all the drama and fun to these books.

– Akasha. I hated Akasha. Her ways of twisting everything around and creating delusions out of desperation to make herself seem better, to make things go her way, to make things fit with what she wanted to believe, was taken to an extreme because of what she is, but it was a realistic mindset. And that was what made her even more awful to read about.

– Gabrielle. Oddly enough, despite hardly having a part in this book, Gabrielle has grown on me. She’s fiercely loyal to Lestat; she even did little things just to try and make him happy at the end. And really, she goes off into the wilderness and keeps to herself, not causing problems with anyone (other than those she kills, which I can accept since she needs blood to survive).

– Louis. I feel like a lot of people don’t like him, but I do. I like how human Louis is, and I too would be the one scolding Lestat for being too rebellious. I feel like we could get along.

Overall Thoughts:

Yes, there were some negatives to this book, mostly that it was slow with a lot of fluff, but I still think it was worth it. I think all three books so far have been worth it because these are some of the most unique and complex characters I have ever read about!

*I’ve read this book multiple times. This review was written after my 2nd read.*

Reread Ratings:
No Rating (1st Read – mid/late 2000s)
3 Stars (2nd Read – 2017)

 

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  1. Miggs

    I think Queen of the Damned is my second favorite book in the Vampire Chronicles, just for its epicness. I love to go back to it sometimes and read my favorite parts, like the confrontation between Akasha and the surviving vampires, especially Maharet and Mekare.

    1. Kristen Burns

      Really? This was my least favorite of the three I’ve reread so far. But I can see what you mean about the epicness. The climax near the end with Akasha and the twins was definitely intense! That was the one scene I still remembered from the first time I read it, even after like ten years. And I loved seeing all the different vampires interacting.

    1. Kristen Burns

      That’s what I’m doing, rereading, since I read them so long ago I hardly remember, and I actually didn’t think I was going to like them much. Turns out I do! I think you should go for it ๐Ÿ˜‰

  2. Karen

    I think this is where I stopped reading Rice. No real reason other than it was during the vampire craze and I there were so many series to read.

    And I know everyone thinks Louie is whiny and sure, I guess he kind of is, but he’s always been my favorite because he’s the one who approaches the whole thing with humanity and struggles with what it all means. Bad ass vampire are very cool too but I guess I can relate to him and like you said be friends. He wouldn’t eat me lol

    For What It’s Worth

    1. Kristen Burns

      Really? When I started this series, Twilight wasn’t out yet, so the craze hadn’t hit, and there weren’t that many options. I mean, maybe there were adult PNRs, but I was reading mostly YA.

      Yes! It seems like people just think Louis is whiny, but I like him. Especially seeing him in these other books. In Interview, I think he was maybe purposely being a bit melodramatic. But yeah, he’s the one I think I’d most want to be friends with and would get along with best. And yes he’s also one of the least likely to drain you. You never really know with some of the others lol.

  3. Greg

    I’ve never read these but I’m really curious about her take on vampirism, since I like it when someone really outs thought into WHY they would exist or how it would actually work. And clearly it’s character- driven to the max, sounds like. The slowness doesn’t wow me but again it seems like she’s making this world come alive, so I can see that. And I like that these vampires are so different, cause you know how I feel about that. ๐Ÿ™‚ Not just humans with powers.

    That second quote about the garbage disposal made me laugh. I can just imagine that…

    Sounds fascinating, especially the vamp dynamics…

    1. Kristen Burns

      It had SO much thought put into it. Most books don’t even explain vampirism at all (which is ok, I don’t really need an explanation), but this one had such a detailed and unique explanation. And it’s definitely a character-driven series, which is what makes it so great. Slow sometimes, but like you said, it makes the world come alive.

      I love those quotes about Armand. I was cracking up so much. There was more too, when he became obsessed with TV and stuff. Also it was noted at one point that he had eight cell phones lol. Btw it kind of killed me inside to type “disposer” rather than “disposal” but that’s how it’s written in the book lol.

  4. Christina @ Ruff Day Reviews

    I love this review! I have not read these in so long, and after that review, I may have to pick these up sometime this year. I read the entire series, and actually met Anne Rice, years ago! Sadly, I stopped reading her because as you say, she is long winded. I do not love learning about a bunch of architecture while reading about vampires dang it! But, I do love her take on things. So eerie but beautiful.

    1. Kristen Burns

      Thanks! My reviews for this series are apparently making a lot of people want to reread the books lol. I read the entire series up to whatever book was out in like 2009, so this is a reread for me as well. But yeah, she is long-winded lol. So far it’s been worth it though to sit through the long-windedness because everything else is so great!

  5. Cee Arr

    Of the 1st three books (which I think of as a sort-of trilogy,) this one is actually the one I like least. The girl – Jessie? Or have I mentally renamed her? – annoys me. Endlessly.

    I still love Lestat, despite the sh**ty way he acts sometimes – but I think that’s probs ‘cos I know he’s fictional ๐Ÿ˜‰ If he was an actual person, I’d slap him. Hard. (I also love Loki, who isn’t dissimilar in his fabulousness! Lol.)

    1. Kristen Burns

      I kind of see them as a trilogy too. And this was also my least fave. I didn’t care for Jesse either. I didn’t dislike her? But her POV didn’t interest me.

      I know how much you love Lestat! It’s def easier to let things slide when a character is fictional. But I’d also prob just want to slap him for his recklessness and rebelliousness in real life lol.

  6. The Orangutan Librarian

    You’re totally right that a lot of the writing choices in this series have been strange, now you mention it. And yup there’s *loads* of fluff. And I feel like all the plots have been meandering- though I should probably say now I’ve only read the first two. But I do like the characters and I am glad the ending was good ๐Ÿ˜€ I do like how complex Armand is especially. Great review!!

    1. Kristen Burns

      Right? They’re strange choices, but they’re so easy to just overlook because everything else is so good. You’re right though, all the plots have been meandering. But gah, the characters! Armand is super complex, I love that. Thanks!

  7. Lola

    I think I’ve heard of this series a few times, but I actually know almost nothing about it, except that it’s about vampires. And you really wrote a long review even for our standards, lol.

    I am usually not a fan when books break the fourth wall, but have read a few books that did it well. Sounds like there is a lot of backstory and different point of views that aren’t always necessary.

    The vampires do sound really well written and I like how you say they are not human, if I am reading about aliens or supernaturals I do want to notice how they differ from humans. It’s great when an author can pull that off well. And the multiple point of view does seem to work really well here. That’s an interesting point you make about the vampires being so forgiving and how that probably ties in with their immortality.

    That does sound interesting Armand doesn’t understand the technology, while Lestat does easily adapt. Must be nice to see how those character differ on that. I can also see why you say he is awful with how you describe what he does. But he does sound very complex and interesting even with him being awful. It does sound like each character is very complex and has their own personality, so i can see why you enjoy that part of the book. I hope the series continues to be a good one for you!

    1. Kristen Burns

      Yeah this series is a large part of the reason vampires are portrayed the way they are today in the media. She made vampires more human and sympathetic. Yeah, all my reviews for this series keep being really hopelessly long lol.

      The writing really is strange sometimes, but it’s so easy to overlook when the characters are so amazing. It’s definitely interesting when an author is able to make their not-human characters very not human.

      Armand is so complex! All the stuff about him discovering technology cracked me up so much lol. But I do still think he’s pretty awful. He’s done horrible things to numerous of the vampires. But they’re all so complex, and that’s what makes the books so great! Thanks!

    1. Kristen Burns

      When I originally read this series, I got the books from a used book store. Since they’re so popular, they’re easy to find! I hope you like them ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. Daniela Ark

    haha ok I’m officially scared of Anne Rice now! And I JUST got my first audio book by her the Witching Hour!!! You made me all excited about her books and I requested it and now.. all I here is there is a LOT. Characters, POV Stuff. LOL LOL You know I cannot handle that. I’m returning this book LOL

    1. Kristen Burns

      Hey, you can’t blame me for that! I never said to read The Witching Hour! Lol I’ve never read that one, so I have no clue what that’s like. I just know that I love The Vampire Chronicles despite the slow plots because of how amazing the characters are.

  9. AngelErin

    Iโ€™m sorry you didnโ€™t like this one more, but Iโ€™m glad you still thought it was worth it. Iโ€™ve only read the first book, but I really need to get to the other ones! Excellent review. ?

  10. Olivia Roach

    I love your long reviews and how much throught and dedication goes into them. Even in the way you try and split them up so they are easier for us to read ourselves! I have to say that I actually think I would like this book even though you seem pretty mixed on it. I really like complex characters, and her portrayal of vampires being so not-human are all elements I know I would really like. And even though the povs are large in number and sometimes the over-explaining is a bit annoying, I think I wouldn’t mind too much? I’m trying to compare it to A Game of Thrones and how much crazy detail there is in that but I still love it, regardless.

    1. Kristen Burns

      Awww thanks <3 I mean, my review for this book is mixed, but overall I still love this series. It just has such complex characters! And I know that, like me, you don't mind a slow pace sometimes, so you might like it too. I haven't read GoT though, so I have no idea how they compare.

  11. Ariell Choy

    I absolutely adore your review of Queen of the Damned. The one thing I would add to your perfect assessment is that many people, who have read this novel, feel that Akasha was sexist in killing only men and while there is some degree of truth in that men are prone to being more so violent than women, Akasha did kill women as well. If women did not fall in line with her beliefs, especially those women, that defend men who don’t deserve to be defended, she would “off” them too. In short, people who are tyrants, who claim to only want to eradicate one specific group of people, almost never do. They eventually want to take over everyone and everything and kill anyone who disagrees with them. Akasha also punished the Twins (Mekare and Maharet) who were both women. In short, to control one group of people, you will have to subsequently, kill other groups too to maintain a system of control.

    As far as your assessment of each character, I couldn’t agree with you more. My favorite vampire novels, from Anne Rice (and yes, I have read them all) are the first three. Anne made amazing characters and didn’t delve deeply enough into the rest because everything became centered around Lestat. I understand, MOST people who read Anne Rice, love Lestat but after awhile, doing things simply for shock value, gets boring. I wouldn’t be friends with Lestat at all because shock value – is a superficial personality trait. At some point in time, you have to become more centered and calm. Louis was ALWAYS my favorite from the get-go because it takes a unique and special kind of vampire to hold onto his humanity (like Maharet and Khayman) and not let the vampirism take you over completely and eradicate your “core”. Furthermore, all of the powers and supernatural strength granted to vampires is strictly for hunting purposes. Aside from that, they are missing out on the beauty of life. For instance, when Mael kept asking Jesse questions like: “what does chocolate taste like?” – it just shows you how much vampires miss out on the world. As you stated, they have to forgive one another because who else are they gonna spend time with? Even if they fall in love with a human, the interaction will be limited and that human would die and they’d have to find another suitable companion who can tolerate their vampirism (and that’s not a lot of people). Unlike Daniel, however, I would NOT ask Armand to turn me. I would simply enjoy the ride that is having a vampire lover. I know it won’t last (no relationship does: even your parents will die someday and leave you) but I would enjoy it for the moment and appreciate the fact that a killer is not trying to chop my head off.

    Khayman is so lonely that it depresses me yet makes me want to love him more. Anyone who wants to pull the “race” argument that he was a tan-skinned Egyptian and that’s why the other vampires keep their distance is an SJW who needs to find something better to do with their time! Khayman is ANCIENT, he can understand things at a quantum physics level (it’s like a person who can see into your soul). He gives off an intimidating energy even if he is unaware of it and THAT’S WHY other vampires stay clear of him. He can kill you with just his thoughts. Would you want to risk hanging around someone like that? He may seem himself as a child, innocent and adventurous and open-minded, simple and caring but that’s not the image he projects. He wants to be loved and held (and rightfully so), but being so POWERFUL like he is, other vampires won’t see things his way. My advice for someone like him is find a handful of human companions to “chill” with that are unawares of what you are and accept what he is and appreciate that other vampires see him as a “god” among vampires. If he does that rather than want so badly for them to see him as a “long lost friend”, they may be more open to him. Think of it this way: if you are an HSP or empath, you have to accept that people will see you that way. Once you accept your gifts, rather than deny what you are, life will become easier for you. Khayman NEEDS to be the role he was assigned, accept it and then move accordingly among other vampires.

    Gabrielle, Maharet, Mekare and even Pandora are phenomenal WOMEN!!! They are great examples of the Divine Feminine. Good for Pandora heading the front of women’s liberations movements around the world, Gabrielle being her true authentic self, Maharet will kill you with a glance but she is soft and gentle as a breeze and Mekare wild and tameless like the jungles of Africa!!! Through vampirism, they all became the women they were meant to be.

    Armand and Claudia – we have to sympathize with because they never got the chance to be adults before being “turned” but rather than scoff at them, they need more understanding and care.

    Overall, Anne Rice is a great read and I hope the TV series (though they have made slight changes) like the film will be astounding!!!!!!

    1. Kit (Metaphors and Moonlight)

      Thank you!!

      I think there was a sexist element to Akasha’s killing, but yes, she had no issue killing anyone who disagreed, regardless of gender. And yeah, that is unfortunately not unrealistic. And oftentimes hatred for one group is just sort of the way in, and then hateful people will spread it to encompass more and more groups of people.

      I had intended to reread the whole series, but, tbh, I’ve kind of stalled out because they start lacking for me after the first few books too. I also end up missing the other characters. Lestat is interesting, but so are the others. And like you said, Lestat, who never seems to learn, only interests me for so long when it’s just him. I don’t have the same level of LOVE for him that many other fans do. I always love finding a fellow Louis fan! He really has held onto his humanity in a way the others haven’t. As for Armand as a lover, I don’t know, I think I’d always be terrified he was going to kill me lol. Now Louis, on the other hand…

      Poor Khayman. I don’t think he understands how intimidating he is to the others. And the others don’t understand that he’s not the type to hurt them. Those are interesting thoughts! I don’t think I’ve ever really considered what the best way would be for him to go about doing things. Maybe he’ll figure it out one day though and get the love he craves.

      Oh, yes, there are some phenomenal women! “Through vampirism, they all became the women they were meant to be.” I love the way you put it!

      As awful as Armand is, I do feel for him.

      I tend to not watch adaptations for books I like (though I’ve seen Interview numerous times, it was the movie that got me interested in the books), but I’m sure it will be neat to see what they do with the books this time for the TV series! And you’ve reminded me that I really should try and continue with my series reread.