When the “Twilight” books hit the scene a few years ago, they changed the way vampires were thought of. They were no longer horrid fanged creatures who said “I vant to suck your blood,” but instead sparkling romantic prospects with six pack abs. A friend of mine from high school was always bothered by this skewed perception of vampires and urged people to read about what the mythical creature was supposed to be like in Anne Rice’s novel “Interview with the Vampire.”
I don’t read that often, mostly because it takes me forever to read anything since I analyze every word. However, I thought in this case I would try to get through a book for the good cause of understanding the idea of vampires that Rice created instead of the “Twilight” version.
Rice does a great job of balancing the human nature and killer instincts of the vampires in her novel. Louis, who is the narrator, often struggles with his vampire nature after being turned by the cold and cruel Lestat. In order to survive in his new immortal life, Louis must feed on blood, something he is uncomfortable with at first. Eventually Louis evolves to realize his true nature as a vampire and a bloodthirsty killer who must set aside human values to survive.
Louis’ story is set in late 18th century New Orleans and describes first his life with Lestat and eventually with a child, Claudia, whom he turns into a vampire. Lestat serves as a foil character to Louis. Their personalities are polar opposites, with Lestat being the harsh and uncaring one to Louis being the gentler and more human of the two. Claudia, their new daughter, serves as a middle ground between the two. She is a fierce killer but is not as heartless as Lestat. The personalities definitely clash and in those conflicts their true vampire nature is revealed.
Every time I sat down to read this book I didn’t want to stop. The characters are interesting and developed and the plot is engaging. The unique relationship of Louis and Claudia, who ages mentally but not physically, is fascinating because it is so unusual. Lestat’s coarse personality makes you want to hate him but he also has a strange charm about him that prevents that hate. The novel highlights Louis’ experiences in his vampire life, both in times of happiness and devastation. Although his personality is the most human of all the vampires in the book, when it comes down to it he is always a vampire.
After reading “Interview with the Vampire,” I can’t think about “Twilight” with any level of seriousness. This story shows the way vampires are supposed to be, bloodthirsty killers who die in the sun, not sparkle.