First in the Vampire Chronicles, this is in fact not the story about Anne Rice’s most famous creation the vampire Lestat, but the fledgling he creates in New Orleans, and the two hundred or so years that followed as Louis travels around the globe trying to understand his new nature. Louis is a wealthy plantation owner who is taken by Lestat after plunging into the depths of despair believing himself responsible for his brother’s death. However it becomes apparent to the younger vampire that his master has taken him for no other reason then the wealth he possesses, as he learns of Lestat’s narcissism and vanity, but very little about vampirism itself. In fact from the very beginning I found it hard to fathom how the author had thought to go on with the chronicle and Lestat’s central role in it given how unlikable his portrayal in Interview with the Vampire is. That said I’ve been told I need to read the Vampire Lestat before passing my judgment, but having now finished the book I still find it unlikely that it’s possible to redeem this character and their behaviour in the chronicle’s first instalment.
Despite my reservations this novel is one of the better portrayals of vampirism that I’ve encountered, plumbing the depths of the psychological changes a human would have to undergo to survive the horror of such an existence, and the subsequent struggle with madness they would have to endure in the centuries that would follow. So while I’ll still have to hold my judgment about Lestat until I’ve had a chance to read his side of things, I would certainly recommend reading Interview with the Vampire as an extremely good example of what vampiric existence could be like.