lone_she_wolf (lone_she_wolf) wrote in bookish,

Review of Memnoch The Devil

Now for Anne Rice's most controversial of novels, Memnoch The Devil.

Some people love this novel while others hate it. I used to hate it. Then I read Blood Canticle and realized there are far worse things out there...

It's not so much that Memnoch The Devil has a bad premise. It's actually very intriguing. The Devil tells his side of things to a vampire. This can be very interesting. I just feel it would have been better if Anne Rice wrote this as a stand alone novel without using her pre-established characters.

The character of Lestat existed in a world that could easily be our own. There was no certainty as to who or what created the universe, just like our world. People of any religious background could see Lestat existing in their own real world. Now for a lot of people it seems Lestat exists in a solely Catholic mythos, completely segregating the non-Catholic fans who had liked to imagine Lestat in their reality.

Lestat goes on a journey of Heaven and Hell and comes back quite worse for ware. An eye got ripped out but he manages to get it back later. For a while it's unclear whether Lestat really went on this journey or if he had some sort of break down or was tricked by powerful spirits in an elaborate illusion. Anne Rice, today, hints that it was all real. It was better ambiguous, Anne.

As I said. The plot itself isn't too bad and for the most part Lestat still behaves like himself (unlike that being in Blood Canticle). But there were certain things I definitely did not like.

1. I don't like how this book isolates itself from non-Catholic fans as I already explained.

2. The start of her sloppy lack of editing.

3. In Memnoch The Devil it was Lestat's left eye that got ripped out and was then given back. (Trust me, this is not something I'd forget or get confused- Believe me.) In Blackwood Farm and Blood Canticle Anne says it's his right eye. The only explanation for this would be that Quinn has no sense of left or right and Lestat's extremely forgetful.

4. In Memnoch The Devil Louis requires a magnifying glass to view the details of illustrations drawn by mortals. I know Louis is weakest of the vampires but he still is supposed to have eyes stronger than a mortal. What happened to all his talk of vampire eyes?

5. In Memnoch The Devil Lestat made a vow never to kill anyone, human or vampire, ever again. But by Blood Canticle he's developed Armand's personality traits in that he kills rogues and rule breakers who need guidance even when they beg for their lives. Anne Rice has forgotten this vow.

6. If older vampires turned to dust in Memnoch The Devil how did Louis survive going into the sun in Merrick without an infusion of more powerful blood to begin with?

7. In Tale of the Body thief and Memnoch The Devil Lestat claims that he had slept with many villagers by the time he was fifteen. Yet I could swear he was sixteen when he lost his virginity to the female actress in the troupe he had almost run away with in The Vampire Lestat novel. He never spoke of making love again in his autobiography but it was ambiguously implied what he and Nicolas must have done together. I'm sure Lestat WISHES he had been that promiscuous as a mortal but it seems to me he had been very anti-social until he had gotten to Paris, was able to truly be himself and let himself go. You saw what it took for him to make his ONLY friend, Nicolas.
Also, in Memnoch The Devil Lestat said that many villagers came to the castle claiming he had impregnated their daughters. But in Tale of the Body Thief Lestat became very concerned that he might have accidentally impregnated that one woman waitress he slept with while temporarily turned mortal. So I doubt he would have simply ignored it if he had gotten someone pregnant in his mortal life.
On the same note, in Memnoch The Devil, while in Hell Lestat had a vision of himself accidentally killing someone in a bar fight while drunk as a mortal. Considering Lestat's mortal obsession with mortality and goodness, somehow I doubt this would have happened without him telling us before. Also, it seems like Anne Rice is confusing him with Louis. Lestat never got into bar room brawls as a mortal. When he got drunk he got maudlin and sentimental, not violent, that's a different type of drinker all together.

The vampires are becoming too saintly. Lestat's been through Heaven and Hell and all of creation, or at least the character thinks he has, we're supposed to assume he has and trust it. And Vittorio sees angels. Vittorio reminds me of the little boy in The Sixth sense. 'I see dead people. This isn't exactly a mistake but with all the spiritual content the angst from the vampire's uncertainty about the fabric of reality and the nature of good and evil his horribly compromised. A certain human-ness is gone. Anyway, didn't Anne hint once that she wanted to do a story where the government or a laboratory might learn about The vampires and capture them and try to figure them out or worse. That could have been a good novel, maybe even more believable than Memnoch The Devil. The novels are just getting too spiritual and history orientated and not so much story orientated. And People are now just buying them, no matter what happens in them, just because it has Anne Rice's name attached to them and out of loyalty they feel they should love them, especially if Anne Rice says that Memnoch The Devil is her greatest work and that she is no longer happy with what she had done with The Queen of the damned- even though that novel had explained what happened in The Vampire Lestat, it told what became of the boy reporter, it united all the vampires, it explained where The vampires came from and it introduced The Talamasca- all and all I'd say that's pretty damned good!

I did like that in Anne Rice's version of Hell all you needed to ascend to Heaven was to learn to forgive.

One scene in Memnoch The Devil that I felt was completely unnecessary was the scene of Lestat drinking the blood from the character, Dora's, Sanitary napkin. What was the point of this? Was Anne Rice going through her monthly cycle when writing this and wanted imagine a way to end it a lot faster?

Another bit that felt... well, just wrong to me is when Lestat is talking to Roger, the ghost of his crime boss victim, Lestat asks Roger why he didn't let the old captain have his way with him when he was a boy. What the...?!? Anne?! Since when does Lestat want little boys to have sex with dirty old men who try to molest them?! This felt very out of character to me. It came out of no where and nothing in the earlier books would imply Lestat having an inclination in favour of this. In fact he has once said that nothing justifies the suffering of a child. And you don't think that sort of abuse would cause suffering?!

Finally the most horrific thing about Memnoch The Devil that I think Anne Rice, herself, doesn't realize. Her depiction of The Devil and God imply that The Devil is not all evil and God is... not that nice. In fact he's kind of petty and cruel. But this is the adventure that makes Lestat become a pious Catholic by Blood Canticle? He was raging against it at the end of Memnoch The Devil. What the Hell happened?
Lestat used to have a steadfast belief in good and evil. If he couldn't believe in anything else he believed in good and evil. It seemed that this was an important and truth faith, the faith in the capacity for goodness. This is a beautiful thing to have faith in. But as of Memnoch The Devil he lost it. He gained a religious faith but to me, it seems, he lost the more important faith. The faith that Good can still control the hearts of man.
What good is it to believe in religious deities if you cannot believe in goodness? This has caused Lestat to become cold in the later books and unrelatable. He obsesses with his new-found religion but real faith. The faith in anything good or decent seems lost. This is more important than any other faith you can have in beings governing the universe. In fact I feel belief in God REQUIRES faith in goodness first. So this new found religious piousness in the character feels shallow... empty... And Anne Rice, herself, doesn't seem to realize it.

Anyway, That's my opinion of Memnoch The Devil. Take it or leave it.

I prefer the original first three Vampire Chronicles. Interview with the vampire, The Vampire Lestat, The queen of the damned, and for comic relief Tale of the body thief but I'd stop there. This is the start of the decline at least for Lestat.

Tags: genre: fantasy, genre: fiction, genre: horror, review, xxx author last name: r-z

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