Swissmiss's Reviews > Servant Of The Bones

Servant Of The Bones by Anne Rice
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Apr 28, 10

Read in August, 2009

** spoiler alert ** This started out as a five-star book for me. Already after the first few pages, I was ready to give it the highest rating. I was immediately fascinated by the story, by the characters. I like stories that build on history, as long as they don’t get too long-winded about it, which this one didn’t. The historical aspects were really only background, with the main story springing from the imagination of the author. However, I do have to admit that there were a couple of passages that summarized human history that I skipped over because they were preachy. Yeah, yeah, we know about how terribly humans have destroyed the environment, etc. That was not the point of the story, and didn’t need to be in there. Those were only really short parts, though, so I can forgive them.

As I got further into the story, though, several other things started creeping up on me that dampened my enthusiasm. The first was, I realized that this book was probably just a carbon copy of Rice’s famous Interview With the Vampire. I have never read that book, nor seen the movie with Tom Cruise, but I believe it is based on the same template: An immortal, supernatural being pours out his biography, along with the story of his struggle between good and evil tendencies, to a sympathetic listener who mainly remains in the background. Seen thus, as a sort of ‘spin-off’ (although not a sequel), the magic of the story is already slightly lessened. I was unable to admire the originality of the concept because it was no longer original.

The second thing that bothered me was that although the book started out from the listener’s point of view, and his insights and reactions were an important part of the initial chapters, suddenly he was dropped completely and the entire remainder of the story, up to the last chapter, was solely from the speaker’s point of view. I felt that this turned the listener into nothing more than a gimmick to allow the speaker to pontificate -- which of course he was, but at the beginning at least, he was allowed his own opinions, and could have served as a counterpoint, devil’s advocate, or voice of reason at crucial points throughout the narrative. So I felt that the author had just let him go out of laziness, and his absence was felt.

The thing, though, that I really didn’t like about this book, was the last third or so, especially the sex scene and the premise that Asrael’s (the protagonist and speaker) entire existence of over three millenia was forever changed and clarified by his ‘love’ for two women he met at the very end, one of whom he saw only for one second before she died, and the second one (her mother), whom he spent barely a single day with. He decided, seemingly on the spur of the moment and with nothing more than a brief glimpse into each of their eyes, that he loved them so completely and utterly that his entire character was changed, and the meaning and course of life made clear in those instants. Gag.

Also, details like... why was it so important that Esther wasn’t Gregory’s biological daughter? It was mentioned over and over again, but the point was never made clear. In fact, if she had been his biological daughter, her murder would have made more sense. Or the whole thing with Asrael’s will: On the one hand, he was supposed to be in some way subject to the will of his summoner, yet he was able to act completely independently of them, even to kill them, despite them telling him not to. But maybe that’s just me being dense. In any case, things like that that didn’t seem to make sense or be consistent also lessened my pleasure in this book.

All in all, though, it was a good story, it definitely kept my interest, the characterizations were consistent and vivid, and the climax was, although not entirely surprising or innovative, satisfying and tied up all the loose ends.
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