Blood Communion by Anne Rice (The Vampire Chronicles: Book 13)

In 1976 Interview with the Vampire reshaped what vampire stories could be, blending historical fiction, horror and elements of erotica; allowing vampire fiction to move away from pulpy beasts, one dimensional killers to more complex and captivating characters. Rice's Vampire Chronicles popularised the concept of sympathetic, but not to be pitied vampires.

The influence of this long running series cannot be disputed; derivatives and clones of The Vampire Chronicles abound. But does Rice have anywhere left to go? The answer is thankfully yes, Blood Communion expands and progresses The Vampire Chronicles to a possible conclusion which provides satisfaction to long term fans.

For those unfamiliar with the world of The Vampire Chronicles, each entry after the first book - the classic Interview WIth The Vampire - has the framing device of the books existing within the world coupled with recap by the vampire serving as narrator for the individual book. This provides an easy entrance for the fresh reader. And thankfully the recap doesn’t bog down the opening for fans of the series.

Lestat is the narrator for Blood Communion and as fan favourite has narrated the most entries in the series. The book opens with a condensed, although biased and with the flair fans are familiar with, run-down of the events from Interview With The Vampire through to the present.

Blood Communion follows Lestat as he and his inner circle form a court and refuse for vampires, and Lestat adjusts from being the Brat Prince to Prince Lestat, leader of the vampires. Of course not everyone readily agrees and accepts Lestat in this role. Leading to murder, arson and kidnappings as the hands of an unknown foe, with powers rivaling Lestat.

The central conflict is relatively quickly resolved and we get to see Rice show some great scenes of violence and horror; reminding the reader of the duality of her vampires; while they are lavishly dressed, beautifully articulate and express love, ultimately they aren't human, they are blood drinkers. The self aware combination of horror and humanity makes for captivating characters. And it is these characters and the rich historical background they have which has provided The Vampire Chronicles with its longevity.

While the purple prose throughout the book, particularly the third act, can slow down the plot, it gives a sense of indulgence and decadence fans of the series will enjoy. However the casual reader may not enjoy the detailed descriptions of a vampire's stunning outfit every time they walk into the room.

Being a fan of The Vampire Chronicles myself, I thoroughly enjoyed Blood Communion. Causal readers of the series can easily pick this up as can a reader completely new to the world. However Blood Communion is definitely more satisfying for the seasoned Vampire Chronicles reader, and serves as a rewarding conclusion to the series. 

However, who's to say that the lovable rogue Lestat can't find more ways to get in trouble? 

9/10 Being a fan of The Vampire Chronicles myself, I thoroughly enjoyed Blood Communion

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