As someone who went through a very lengthy, very involved love affair with young adult vampire literature in her late adolescent and early teenage years, it’s somewhat surprising that I’ve managed to remain in the dark about the iconic Anne Rice and Interview with the Vampire, which some would say started it all (it being the vampires are sexual thing, not vampires, which we all know are generally attributed literarily to Dracula, which I will admit I have not read because I am a failure vampire fan).
I ripped through the Den of Shadows, Vampire Kisses, and yes, even the Twilight saga, but something about the whispers of the word “erotic” that surrounded Anne Rice always scared me off. I left vampires behind once vampire mania hit full force because I was bitter that the mainstream had discovered my secret love (call me a hipster all you want–I totally liked it before it was cool). But now that things have cooled off, I decided it was about time I have my own interview with the vampire novel that started the tradition of modern vampire romances.I’m actually really glad that I read this at this point in my life, because I got the joy of looking back on my Twilight days and thinking “this all totally comes from this book!” Now, before any lingering Twihards or whatever they decided to call themselves come after me, I want to gingerly remind everyone that literature always borrows and alters what has come before. If I learned anything in my studies, I learned that there’s not really much “new” out there, and that that’s okay–writing is a conversation between texts, always.
But I still had to kind of laugh when I realized that the feeding on animals thing that had seemed so original to my 14-year-old self had been written years before I was even born. And the idea of the eeriness of a vampire child? Yeah, that too.
Beyond seeing the little ways that this novel had inspired the things I read as a teen, this book was not at all what I expected. Since it says “EROTIC” in giant letters on the back cover, I was a little nervous that this would be a sex book.
But, while I spent the first half waiting for inevitable vampire/human sexy times, this moment never came. The eroticism was eerily present in the very blood lust itself, only tinged with sexuality that is never fully realized. I got pretty nervous about the whole Claudia having an adult brain in a child’s body thing, but thankfully (seriously, thank you, Anne Rice), this never came to anything like what my twisted mind feared.
I certainly enjoyed this adventure into earlier vampire stories, and the memory of my fascination with the creatures of the night, but after about the first half, I was much less gripped by the story. As Louis began to lose his humanity, as he and Claudia became bored of one another, I became a bit bored of the story. I could feel that it was tending in a direction I wasn’t going to like, and it slowed my pace considerably. I am still glad to have read the book, but I confess I was deeply unsure what to make of it. I’m aware that it is the first book in a series of related vampire stories, but I’m not sure that the ending left me with anything human (ha ha) to cling to in the characters that would make me want to continue.
Do I recommend this book to you? Yes, absolutely, if you’re even a little bit interested in vampires or creepy things. Will I judge you if you aren’t infatuated with Louis by the end? Not in the least.