Prince Lestat and the Realms of Atlantis (Book)

princelestat-andthe-realmsofatlantisWritten by Anne Rice

Published by Knopf

Following the release of Prince Lestat (review) in 2014, Anne Rice announced that a sequel was already in the works; and soon thereafter it was revealed that the storyline would also somehow incorporate Atlantis, a subject that had long been near and dear to her heart. Honestly, I was a bit worried… who wanted to see Lestat put on the back burner while Rice explored the legends and history of a lost continent that may or may not have even existed?

Well, I needn’t have been concerned because per usual, Rice was able to work her magic and weave both tales together brilliantly in her latest novel, Prince Lestat and the Realms of Atlantis.

But I’m getting way ahead of myself here because it isn’t until just past midway through the book that Rice fully turns our attention to that locale, and the build-up is one of the most complex, creative stories told by the author to date. And one of the most difficult to discuss without revealing too much, which is why this review is intentionally vague and on the short side.

Things start off with an introduction to a character we’ve never heard of before – Derek – who is being held captive in a Hungarian dungeon by a vampire named Roland. Roland is visited by a few other vamps that we came to know in Prince Lestat, chief among them Rhoshamandes, who still holds quite a grudge against the Brat Prince. Something is a bit “different” about Derek, and Roland thinks they can use him as a bargaining chip to get back in Lestat’s good graces.

From there we catch up with Lestat and just about everyone we’ve grown to know and love over the course of Rice’s Vampire Chronicles: The regulars like Armand, Marius, Louis of course, David, Gabrielle, and Pandora all make appearances (although some are a bit too brief for my liking; another 20 or so pages with them would have been welcome) along with the newer names like Seth, Fareed, Gregory, Sevraine, Benji, and Gremt. They’ve all formed a council of sorts – the Court – to maintain order and, most importantly, keep Lestat safe now that he contains the “core” known as Amel.

Soon it becomes known by the Court that there are others out there like Derek, and here PLatRoA veers into the areas of science fiction and page-turning mystery. Lestat and many of the other vamps keep having the same dream over and over about the destruction of a world that is unknown to them. It seems to somehow involve Amel and these “different” beings. There’s much discussion, debating, and general confusion among the Court as to how best to deal with the situation. All of the abovementioned individuals have an opinion, and as you might expect, Lestat listens and then does pretty much whatever he wants, all leading up to a climax that brings us full circle with the events that brought about the creation of blood drinkers in the first place back in Queen of the Damned (my personal favorite of the Chronicles).

And that’s all I have to say about the “plot,” and while it might leave a lot of you who want to know more rather frustrated, let me reassure you that ignorance is bliss. I will reveal that just about every major character has his or her “moment” in this book and is given an opportunity to shine. The only exceptions are Rose and Viktor, who are relegated to the background, a move that’s sure to please those who aren’t especially fans of the fledglings (and from reading Rice’s Facebook page, it’s obvious there are a lot of them).

As for the Atlantis element, it is seamlessly woven into the narrative and given such vivid life that it feels absolutely real and imaginable. Should Rice decide to delve even deeper and release a spin-off/companion book about that world, called Atalantaya here, I’ll be the first in line for it!

It’s important to note that if you’re someone who is unfamiliar with Rice’s work and thinking about jumping in with PLatRoA, you’re going to be pretty lost. Yes, there are appendices and an intro that fills in a few of the blanks; but to fully appreciate the history, relationships, and entanglements of these characters, and to derive the most pleasure from how things play out, it’s best to start at the beginning. Names from the past – Magnus! Quinn! Mona! Memnoch! – are dropped in casually, and without the knowledge of how everyone is connected, you’ll miss the emotional whammy the rest of us experience.

And there’s plenty of emotion on display here – I shed more than a few tears over the course of the novel – and philosophical discussions that harken back to Rice’s earlier works and add to their rich tapestry of pondering life’s purpose and meaning, resulting in a more than satisfactory ending that perfectly lays the groundwork for the next installment, which, happily, Rice is currently working on.

My only complaint – and it’s a minor one – is that I want to know more about the ghosts! Maybe in the next one…

I stated above that Prince Lestat and the Realms of Atlantis is a “page-turner” so don’t let the mention of deep conversation, metaphysics, science, history, etc., dissuade you from giving it a read if that’s not your cup of tea. (But, really, if it’s not, what the hell are you doing reading Anne Rice anyway?) The other elements of Rice’s writing are there as well – the rich, vivid descriptions of her characters and the places they visit along with the humor and humanity she imbues them with, all wrapped up in the unsettling uncertainty of who – and what – Derek and his companions represent. Whether they be friend or foe is something you’ll need to find out for yourselves. My lips are sealed.

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Debi Moore

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