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Cry to Heaven

3.83  ·  Rating details ·  17,801 Ratings  ·  601 Reviews
In this mesmerizing novel, the acclaimed author of THE VAMPIRE CHRONICLES and the LIVES OF THE MAYFAIR WITCHES makes real for us the exquisite and otherworldly society of the eighteenth-century castrati, the delicate and alluring male sopranos whose graceful bodies and glorious voices brought them the adulation of the royal courts and grand opera houses of Europe, men who ...more
Kindle Edition, 578 pages
Published (first published 1982)
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Oct 19, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was the first time I really understood what a brave writer Anne Rice is. I had read many of her books and appreciated her style, but this book took me to a dark place that I dreaded going and figured she couldn't possibly go...but she went there, just as she promised. When I met her, this is the book I had her sign (even though she was touring in support of a different book).
Aug 10, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My husband is a big fan of Anne Rice's early works, but he won't read this one, for obvious reasons (just read the first sentence of the book and you'll understand). I thought the whole book was wonderful; I love stories of transformations, and the main character changes so much from the beginning to the end that he becomes a completely different person. Heck, it's almost as if he becomes a different species. Anne Rice spends a lot of time describing the gorgeous exotic world of the Venetian cas ...more
Jul 19, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, historical
I don't even have words to begin to describe the sorrow and poignancy of "Cry to Heaven". The novel's protagonist is Tonio, who is unwillingly castrated in a series of events riddled with deceit and betrayal. Enraged and tormented, at first Tonio refuses his fate, but as the novel progresses he is slowly transformed into an ultimately triumphant figure. Lush, sensual prose and an ending that will hold you by the throat, this is a book that will stay with you long, long after it is read.
Laurel LaFlamme
May 06, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Laurel by: Dianne Marriott Mistrot
Cry to Heaven was the second Anne Rice novel I ever read. The subject matter is intense (sometimes graphic) from PAGE ONE; yet too fascinating to put down!

What I did NOT now until way after the fact, is Anne's work in this well written book is historically correct and highly researched.

Among other things, Cry to Heaven is a story of life-long revenge! It's steeped in rich historicity of 18th Century Opera, the Church, the history of the "Castrati" -- and some other sexuality explicit, yet appa
Danny Tyran
Oct 18, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: historical-novel
In my opinion, Cry to Heaven is definitely one of Anne Rice's finest books. Beautifully written in the lush, gorgeous prose for which Rice is famous, Cry to Heaven is rich in detail and presents a fascinating look at the lives of Italy's 18th century castrati. The protagonist, Tonio is extremely well-drawn and memorable. His struggles to come to terms with both his life as a whole and his sexuality in particular are nothing less than soul-wrenching. I found the erotic scenes, criticized by some ...more
Jun 19, 2007 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: angry lesbians
Oh my God!!! Castrati!!!

Unless the idea of men who have had their balls cut off having sex will sustain you for however many hundred pages this book was, you will find it deadly boring. And the writing was painful, too. It made me wish for a good castration to take my mind off the pain of her stilted dialog.
Amber Lehman
Mar 07, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
“Read sometimes for the story . . . Don't be like the book snobs who won't do that. Read sometimes for the words - the language. Don't be like the play-it-safers that won't do that. But when you find a book that has both a good story and good words, treasure that book.”
― Stephen King

I came across the above quote on another author's page. When I read it, it struck me immediately that it summed up my experience with latest book I'd read. It has been a long time since I've read a book that affect
Lauren Smith
One of the most boring books I've ever read. It's a dreadful soap opera about sex and revenge, involving a bunch of dull, melodramatic assholes. Most of it is completely predictable, and while you're waiting for the obvious to happen, you have to trudge through chapter after chapter of angsty whining in infuriatingly purple prose. Anne Rice offers no twists, no surprises. There is plenty of sex, which might have been fun if Rice didn't describe it all in ridiculous euphemisms or equate rough sex ...more
Jul 09, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I found "Cry to Heaven" to be as rich, baroque and sensual as the previous works, I've read, by Anne Rice. [The Mayfair witch series]

A young boy was brutally castrated because of a struggle for power in a Venetian household of the 18th century. After a life-time of study and vocal training, he eventually becomes a star of the opera in Rome. The public is entranced by his remarkable voice and stunning good looks. He can play both male and female roles with authenticity, and is larger than life o
Nirmala mcafee
Feb 06, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Adults
Recommended to Nirmala by: Samantha
Cry to Heaven is a gem! I couldn't believe that this subject would interest me in the way that it did. Although I read Rice's early works, I soon grew tired of the Vampire series. I wasn't going to give her another chance until my niece swore to me that I'd enjoy this book. She said it was one of her favorite books! I read it to be more "connected" to her. What a great decision. I flew through the book! It is amazing. What a story. I passed it on to my husband and he, too, was riveted. It is mor ...more
Fenriz Angelo
DNF on page 170 - Hmmm i just have a hard time reading this, the premise sounds interesting but it's not catching up my attention enough to read it instead of read the other book or play videogames, and it being a paperback is making it 300% harder so... nope. Atm i need a book to really capture me.
Alice Lee
Jul 12, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
I absolutely adored this one. When Anne Rice is good, she is really good (of course when she's bad, she's pretty deplorable).

Cry to Heaven is first and foremost, an intensely romantic novel. And Anne Rice is really best at crafting deeply romantic, decadent, excessively beautiful, homosexuality-laden erotica, which is exactly what this is, along with pedophilic elements. Her prose is deliberate, ponderous and Gothic (as if taking after Mary Shelley's style), the plot is very dramatic and, well,
Julianne Davidow
I have read some of the other reviews, and while I agree that this book is long, perhaps too long and drawn out for some, I deeply appreciate Rice's detail and elaborate descriptions of people, places, and emotions. It is through the richness of her prose that the full experience of each character is explored. I have spent a lot of time in Italy, have lived in Venice, so perhaps that has something to do with my fascination for this story. But it's more than that. The suffering, fortitude, and tr ...more
Dec 19, 2014 rated it really liked it

Beautifully written book. This was a long book and I did get little restless towards the end. (view spoiler)
Sep 11, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A sensual tale of revenge. I wanted to read a book set in Venice and I remembered I enjoyed this novel many years ago. This book recreates Italy (Venice ambience is done beautifully, but also Naples and Rome) in the 18th century really well, the historical aspects are spot on, the costumes, the music and visual arts, the places, the atmosphere all vividly described.
There’s a lot more sex than I remembered, a lot of drama (fit for the Opera, hehe) but it should have been edited to a shorter vers
Jul 28, 2007 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this book though at many points it read too much like a romance novel for my taste. If you can't stand "his throbbing member" lines then the plot will be lost on you, particularly if you're turned off by her sometimes S&M overtones. Also the plot was a bit predictable and at over 500 pages this novel could have been a much more worthwhile read had it been considerably shorter. That said, Rice's 18th Century Italy is a vivid world and it is an engaging work. I'd recommend her "Feast ...more
I have read this excellent intense novel more than once over the years. Our hero, Tonio Treschi is forcibly castrated as a teenager robbing him of his birthright and preserving his beautiful voice as one of the castrati.

"In all my life I have never wooed and suffered as I have over you. But there is love and love, and I am spent trying to separate the one from the other...."
- Guido to Tonio
Jul 24, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Ho hum. I read this book because I like historical fiction and opera, so I thought it would be right up my alley. I was wrong. In reading this book, I was reminded of why I did not make it far in trying to read any of The Vampire Chronicles. Characters are one-dimensional and unsympathetic, prose is corny, and the book is way too long. The main character, Tonio, goes through a horrific ordeal that truly changes the trajectory of his life, so I should be sympathetic, but I wasn't. I am no prude, ...more
Feb 05, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone with compassion and a heart
Recommended to Samantha by: My Aunt Jamise
Top 5. This is a truly captivating historical novel about 18th century Opera, life of the Castrati, and an unwilling participant. Cry to Heaven will lure you into the past. You will hear the music, see the streets, and feel the turmoil and plight of the characters. If you've ever felt out of place or like there was something different about you. If you enjoy history, but want a dramatic plot to go with it. If you want to be shocked and appalled while simultaneously feeling the muscles around you ...more
Mar 19, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I consider myself one of Anne Rice's biggest fans. Despite her great body of work "Cry to Heaven" hands down is my favourite of all her books.

The castrati of 18th century Naples is a world few know. Why would anyone give up so much for music?
Not willingly; as most of these males were castrated prior to puberty. Sent away by parents who dreamed of glory and fame and wealth and a path out of poverty.

Between 1720-1730 this was a fad, a craze and according to Wikipedia over 4,000 boys were castrat
I have mixed feelings about Anne Rice books and Cry to Heaven was no different. It sounded up my alley and it's I've seen it recommended often. I really wanted to love it and at the beginning it kept me interested. Around halfway through it began to feel like it meandered and I wasn't sure where the story was going. Towards the last third of the book I began skimming. The main character's conflicting decisions and relationships just felt too all other the place and I lost interest in the story. ...more
One of my favorite books, not only from Anne Rice's collection of works, but of all time. A sprawling, romantic, erotic, vengeful tale of a young castrati opera singer who was castrated against his will as a child and sent to live the large life of an opera star, Cry to Heaven is a gorgeous, haunting story. One I will re-read throughout my life.
May 15, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A book for music lovers. Truly IMHO the best book Ann Rice has ever written. She gives the reader intimate details of the life of a castrati. A life most of us could never grasp of living. She makes you feel the joys and pains of this life. Deeply moving and thoughtful read.
Bailey Allison
May 29, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This book should have been cut in half. I greatly enjoyed Tonio's conflict and revenge story against Carlo, and the relationship that built between Tonio and Guido. BUT GOOD GOD THE FILLER IN THIS BOOK! I understand Tonio needed to practice singing, that he traveled and performed and was well liked. I DO NO NEED 3/5 OF THE BOOK TO EXPLAIN IT. And I'm not even sure if he and Guido broke up because the last 1/3 of the book is Tonio obsessing over Christina, some painter girl and Guido no longer ha ...more
Sep 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The blurb on the back of the book:


Their exquisite voices soured above the glittering world of courtiers and nobility. Those who achieved fame were showered with riches and sexual favours. But their success also had a terrible sadness.

TONIO, of noble birth, is the victim of a vengeful brother. Disinherited and forced to join the ranks of the castrati, he plans his revenge while striving to become the greatest of all singers.

David Mortensen
Oct 17, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
All of the seedy stuff you never knew you needed to know about being a castrati. Re-read the book several times.
Tonio Treschi is a growing boy, the heir a small but noble Venetian family, and he has the singing voice of an angel. Guido Maffeo is a grown castrato who lost his singing voice in adolescence and now teaches young castrati and composes music. When Tonio is castrated at the order of a jealous and vengeful relative, he is forced into Guido's care and banished from Venice. Guido takes him to the school for castrati where he himself was taught, and endeavors to train Tonio's voice and make him into ...more
Dennis Troy
Aug 12, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Lisa Marie Parker
Recommended to Dennis by: a friend
Anne Rice is an author who showed great promise in the early stages of her writing career. She then devolved into mass produced, contrived, poorly written dreck. I always found that very disappointing because some of her early work is quite good. This is one of those books.

Cry to Heaven is the story of a Venetian castrato in the 18th century. Unlike most castrati, Tonio wasn't cut as a child, but rather as a teenager - right before the onslaught of puberty & the inevitable change in voice. T
Sep 07, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dnf
This started out beautifully. The characters were intriguing, and I found myself worrying about Guido and rooting for Tonio. The writing was gorgeous and the setting was phenomenal.

And then about two hundred pages in it turned into a very flat soap-opera. Tonio became very flat. He sleeps around and swears he loves who he sleeps with until their gone. Then he can't stand them. He seems to also have a weird abusive thing going on, where he wants to hurt the people he supposedly loves. Guido turne
rating: 4/5

Marc Antonio “Tonio” Treschi, a son of a Councillor of Venice in the 18th century, leads a life of comfort while minding his tutors and taking care of his mother who seemes to suffer from depression. However, as he grows up he uncovers family secrets that veer his destiny from following his father’s footsteps into a world both amazing and terrifying, and resembling nothing of the future he had imagined; a world that could build him up or destroy him, a world where his path merges with
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Anne Rice (born Howard Allen Frances O'Brien) is a best-selling American author of gothic, supernatural, historical, erotica, and later religious themed books. Best known for The Vampire Chronicles, her prevailing thematical focus is on love, death, immortality, existentialism, and the human condition. She was married to poet Stan Rice for 41 years until his death in 2002. Her books have sold near ...more
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“And this time as the lashes come, try to think about the pain, instead of against it, because there is not one single aspect of life, past, present, or future, that does not tear your reason from you, to think on it. So think about the pain. This pain after all has its limits. You can chart its passage through your body. It has a beginning, middle, end. Imagine if it had a color. The first cut of the lash is what, red? Red, spreading into a brilliant yellow. And this one again, red, red, no yellow, and then white, white, white, white. . .Why have you incarcerated yourself in this palazzo of torture chambers, why do you not leave this place? Because you are a monster and this is a school for monsters, and if you leave here, then you will be completely, completely alone! Alone with this!

Don't weep in front of these strangers. Swallow it down. Don't weep in front of these strangers! Cry to heaven, cry to heaven, cry to heaven.”
“In all my life,” Ernestino said, “I have never heard a voice like that. God has touched you, Signore. But sing while you can, because it won’t be long before those high notes leave you forever.” 2 likes
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