The moment Anne Rice said she’s no longer going to write about vampires, witches and bitches, and that she would instead be writing about Jesus Christ’s early years, I knew there’s no way I would enjoy any of it even if she cuts out all those descriptions of Italian curtains, Greek chairs and Roman marble columns. I think I actually miss her extensive cataloguing of various furniture in her books. And it’s true, I did not fully enjoy Out of Egypt, the first in her Christ the Lord series, a series that couldn’t be more different from the Vampire Chronicles and Witching Hour.
If you’d ever read or had been fascinated by her alternate universes of vampires taking nutrition from menstruating nuns and ghost granddaddies impregnating granddaughters, then you probably earn the right to be a little miffed that the genius behind such concepts is now satiating the very demographic that her old series’ followers isn’t from. In short, she’s gone Chistian and there’s no turning back.
Out of Egypt shows an improvement in her prose, though. Gone are the long descriptions of inanimate and unimportant objects, and trading that for slightly better characterization of the book’s anti-Lestat, Jesus Christ. I was worried that she’d make Jesus speak tons of Egypt’s fine sands, gorgeous Egyptians, silky smooth Egyptian hair, and ornate sandals. That was not to be the case as Jesus in this book is a 7-year old, slightly clueless boy who mysteriously but skillfully heals dead people, just as skillfully and stealthily he kills them.
The only people Jesus is killing in this book, I would imagine are the old Rice fans. But if you take the time to realize the radical shift in faith it took her to write this, then it might not be too hard to accept that she just had to change and that there are other vampire books to be had anyway. The Twilight series, for example. But that would probably suck for you. If I were to be my old spiteful self, I’d probably think that this series is Anne giving the finger to those who maligned her, her faith and her skills as a writer, when the final V-Chronicle book came out and many called her, well, a witch and other unflattering names.
Say what you will of Anne but her immersion in the things that fascinate her are undeniable and all we could do, the followers or followers-turned hecklers, is to wait to get amazed again, even if it looks like it’s going to take quite a long time.