Andromeda M31's Reviews > Memnoch the Devil

Memnoch the Devil by Anne Rice
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Mar 11, 2012

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In which LESTAT gets a WHIRLWIND TOUR of HEAVEN, HELL, and ALL CREATION.

I was a huge fan of the Vampire Chronicles when I was in high school. Now in my mid to late twenties, I've slowly been rereading them, and I can say I fairly dreaded the reread of this book.

The beginning of this book is as dull as a convent. Lestat is stalking a supervillain Mafia Man named Roger who, like all of Anne Rice's supervillians, collects ancient relics of some religious significance. Roger's daughter, Dora, is a television evangelist who Lestat falls in love with, as he was like to do in the previous Chronicle Installment, Tail of the Body Thief, with the atheist nun Gretchen.

Do we care? No. What we care about is that Lestat himself is being followed by a powerful supernatural being who proclaims himself: Memnoch, the Devil. (somewhere in this Armand and David Talbot show up to discuss faith and religion.) Memnoch takes Lestat to Heaven to meet God, then to Earth to see rise of humanity and the beginning of Hell, and finally to Hell itself to offer Lestat the chance to work beside the Devil and prepare souls for Heaven, thereby giving Lestat the final chance to redeem himself. Memnoch's tour seems hell bent on proving that the actions of Christ 2000 years ago have resulted in nothing but war and slaughter, and God is to blame for the endless suffering of humanity. Lestat, being Lestat and not one to forgo worldly pleasures even for the chance of eternal bliss, runs screaming out of hell being pursued by the souls of those he has killed, and winds up back on earth but in possession of a sacred religious object he has acquired on his mystical journey: the Veil of Veronica. Handing the Veil to Dora results in a resurgence of religious faith in her and her followers. Her church, now in possession of a sacred object, perhaps proof in the existence of God, attracts devotees from all over the world. Armand, stunned at the revelation of the Veil, self-immolates in front of Dora's Church.

And finally, after the religious fervor has infested the human and vampire world (it is hinted Mael also sacrifices himself to the sun, "Once a priest, always a priest."), Lestat receives a letter from Memnoch, by way of Maharet for some inexplicable reason, thanking him for a service well done. Lestat is left chained up in a church turned into a raving madman, wondering, between God and the Devil, whose pawn he was and to what purpose he was used.

This book is a mess, plot wise and phisophically. Why does Memnoch want Lestat working for him? Lestat is hardly a great evil character. Rice depicts all human existence throughout all time as suffering, living without purpose outside the light of God. She blames all religious wars on a God WHO glorifies suffering, but it's hard to blame god for fanatical religious devotees throughout history. Surely, religious wars have never been God's fault, it HAS only ever been Ours. Also, Memnoch in human form is made responsible for the Rise of Civilization, which bothered me a great deal. Having a supernatural origin for humanity's greatest triumph is a cop out.

Memnoch is a bit of a dud as a Devil or a Demon. He's dull, whiney, and absolutely no fun. He is more Christ like than Christ, for it is Memnnoch who sacrifices himself by living in hell to save the lost and scared souls of the world. It is Memnoch that goes down to earth and teaches humanity lessons of love. The characterization of God, is, er, lacking in characterization? He is clearly the Bad Guy, but he is also clearly representation of a Catholic God. There is no room in this book for any Eastern or Modern philosophy.

This book marks a severe departure from the previous Chronicles work, and begins Rice's return to her Catholic Faith. In a way this is the last of the first set of the Chronicles. Lestat is abandoned by Rice as she ventures out to other Children of the Millennia in her later boks, Lestat returns to narrate over a decade later. I just don't know why she had to write this book after the Tale of the Body Thief, as they dealt with the exact same theme: Lestat being offered redemption, and saying NO I WANT TO BE A VAMPIRE. It just felt like a retread on everything else that had gone before.

But the book felt superbly epic compared to the smallness of the Body Thief. Ending with Lestat chained in the basement of a church is almost how I wished this series could have ended. I wish Lestat has not been given back his eye, as having a physical scar allows him to actually seem older and wiser, instead of forever young and... insipid.

But, it's still Lestat and I'm probably going to have to reread the Blood Canticle at some point.

I AM HERE, STILL, THE HERO OF MY OWN DREAMS, AND LET ME PLEASE KEEP MY PLACE IN YOURS. I AM THE VAMPIRE LESTAT.

LET ME PASS NOW FROM FICTION INTO LEGEND.
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