Vittorio The Vampire
by Anne Rice, fantasy (2000)
Ballantine, $6.99, ISBN 0-375-40160-1

After hitting an all-time low with The Vampire Armand, Anne Rice bounces back somewhat with Vittorio The Vampire, second in the New Tales Of The Vampires series. Not quite up there, but judging from the quality of Ms Rice's recent outputs, it's still a cause for celebration.

Vittorio isn't a member of the once-cool-now-sissified clique of Lestat, David, Louis, and the other whiners. Which is good, for Vittorio doesn't whine as much as the sissies. Unfortunately, in the grand tradition of the Anne Rice style, his story is yet another Me and My Life In The Past ramble. This time we go back to 15th century Florence, Italy where Vittorio is the angelic beauty and muse of a painter Filippo.

Vittorio's family is butchered by vampires, but beauteous Ursula decides to let him join their ranks and starts a love-hate-but-lots-of-sex relationship with him. Then Vittorio runs away to become an avenger of small children (or something), and then onwards he goes until he soon cloisters himself from the world and tells the world his story.

This story could've been grand, could've been epic, but it is also bland. There's none of the richness of Florence in the 15th century that could've made the story alive, there's little memorable trait to distinguish Vittorio from the other losers in the Court Of The Ruby Grail that Vittorio eventually destroys. Unlike Louis in Interview With The Vampire who can hold the story together with the strength of his character, Vittorio is bland and hold little character or power. And sometimes the story will go on for pages without one single dialogue. Ugh - it only adds to the monotony.

But there is at least a semblance of readability here, compared to the godawful The Vampire Armand. Once Anne Rice is a gifted lyrical author, and there are glimmers of the old Rice here, especially in the last few chapters which did bring a tear in my eye. Unfortunately, whenever the author is on the verge of reeling me into her story, she starts her self-indulgent rambling about heaven, hell, earth, God, and Devil (ENOUGH ALREADY!) and loses me completely all over again.

Rating: 66

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