The Vampire Armand
by Anne Rice, fantasy (1999)
Ballantine, $7.50, ISBN 0-345-42930-3

Once upon a time, Anne Rice wrote the amazingly chilling yet wonderfully poignant Interview With The Vampire that revolutionized the dying vampire genre. She created vampires that are actually vulnerable, sensitive, and of course, beautiful. I love Louis and Lestat, and I read all of the Vampire Chronicles available then.

That was then.

Now, her vampires need therapy sessions. They no longer have fun seducing silly mortals and meddling with evil immortals. No, they sit down and reminisce about how they became Vampires and then whine, whine, whine over the fact that they aren't perfect.

The Vampire Armand is amazing in its metamorphosis of Armand from an enigmatic and absolutely evil villian in previous books to a whiny, petulant brat with S&M tendencies. Really, it must be seen to be believed. The whole chunk of this plodding, tiresome tale is Armand's reminiscences of his grand old days of ancient Europe-Asia to the present where he is totally castrated into a whiny candidate for the Ally McBeal show.

What happened? When I first met Armand he has no qualms, no mercy, no conscience. Now, he's a complete ditz running around complaining that his life isn't perfect, he doesn't understand God, he doesn't understand everybody. Lestat makes an appearance, completely emasculated and sans wit or even the narcissism that I love about him. David appears too, but David has always been the annoyingly verbose one. And for Louis... let's not go there. Louis hasn't been the same since Anne Rice turned him from a wonderfully insecure vampire in the first book to the spoiled primadonna now who goes around complaining that life isn't going his way.

Will the real Anne Rice please come back?

Rating: 27

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