[Review] Prince Lestat and the Realms of Atlantis: The Vampire Chronicles & some thoughts on the VC TV show

Brace yourselves! It didn’t take me a full year to muster the courage and read Anne Rice new offering to the Vampire Chronicles shrine. I bought the book as soon as it became available on Google Play and in close to four hours or so, I had grasped exactly what the heck was with the whole Atlantis mixture with the undead Court.

Was it a better book that Prince Lestat? Was it necessary to add this twist into the whole beautiful mess this series has become? Stick around. It might be a fun read. Also, there are some spoilers here and there. You’ve been warned.

When we’ve last seen Lestat, he had accepted the responsibility of carrying the core of the vampire existence aka Amel and be the leader of the merry band of morose vampires. After reading PLROA (short for Prince Lestat and the Realms of Atlantis) I do believe we’re witnessing the spiritual growth of the main character, hero extraordinaire, Lestat de Lioncourt. 

It’s been quite the journey, from the antagonist portrayed by Louis in IWTV to the responsible leader of the Coven in PLROA. 

If in Prince Lestat, Amel was displeased being stuck inside Mekare, now we finally learn who Amel truly is – hence the whole Atlantis tale. But as the story unfolds, we get the best and the worst of Rice writing. If you’re hoping to get a strong villain or at least someone who might pose a threat to Lestat, sorry, there isn’t one. Rhoshamandes remains an unsavory addition to an already crowded group and the other vampires are merely there to be mentioned or pop up, only to vanish into the night. At least, Cyril and Thorne have something to do. They’re now the bodyguards of the Prince, a task as fun as Happy being Tony Stark’s bodyguard after the Avengers 2012 NY debacle. But they offer a few enjoyable banters. Also, it’s nice to hear Marius voice an opinion and be delegated to be more than the official Maker of new fledglings – ’cause turning a human into a vampire seems like a phd feat for our vampires, hey, take a look at The Originals, they pop out a vamp every two episodes, it’s not hard, just pop your vampire cherry making mojo and have some fun with it. 

I’ve mentioned a few months ago, the fact that Anne seems pleased with creating a monarchic ruling with the Articulate Coven, a move which was done so elegantly in the Vampire Masquerade RPG and borrowed by Charlaine Harris for her vamps. As far as I’m concerned, I feel it’s a good move and it creates the possibility for a villain to show up and claim the throne from Lestat. Rhoshamandes seems like the logical choice but damn it, he’s as convincing and charismatic like a newb on AO3 writing his first smut. How about resurrecting Santino?How about bringing back Nicolas? The point is, Anne added many vampires and destroyed some really good antagonists for Lestat. 

Lestat needs a Big Bad at this point. Let me say it again, The Vampire Chronicles need a villain, a purpose for the Court to become stronger or fade from existence. Why not Talamasca? Create a rebel faction, like the Hunters to the Watchers from the Highlander TV Series. A band of mortals who know about the supernatural and who want to control and destroy it. Bring forth a leader to this group, give him a backstory and let him/her loose.

This is what make the past books have a slow pace – and this one as well. Sure, there was Akasha, Raglan James, Memnoch but they felt like the monster of the week and Akasha was mostly a disappointment in terms of a big baddie. She started strong but faded into delusional makeshift of holding to the power. 

PLROA needed a strong villain but gave us a backstory to Amel while wanting to create a new disaster in the making for the vampires. 

At least, Lestat finally got his happy ending with Louis. A make-up which took close to two centuries but hey, Louis finally had a few good lines and actually was part of the action, not just lurking in the shadows, reading Dickens and looking fabulous in everything Lestat wants him to wear. Don’t even bother to ask about Armand and the others, most of the vampire simply show up in order to exchange some lines with Lestat, reiterate the fact he has the responsibility of the whole kin on his shoulders and then see to their matters. Oh, whatever happened to some nice banter between Armand and Lestat? Viktor and Rose, the two wannabe Edward and Bella Cullen of the Coven feel as fake as all the Mary-Sues out there and honestly the new “species” aka the big threat to the vampires with all the buzz around them simply feel like a device created by Rice to tale her version of the Atlantis mythos and give something to do to Amel before showing him off from the tale. I honestly expected day rings for walking into the light, vamps enjoying burgers for the first time and drinking Starbucks, actually swallowing the beverage. 

Did I like this book? Yeah, it felt more structured than Prince Lestat and what made me appreciate it was the sense of actually growing up with Lestat, accepting responsibilities and seeing beyond his sole needs. Maybe it’s the fact, like many other readers out there, I grew up with this character. I went from the brash teen to the somewhat cynic adult, to finally accepting the growth, the tasks, the burdens and cherishing the experiences. 

PLROA closed the ties and began a new chapter in the life of the vampires. Might as well accept it as it truly is, a new stage in Lestat’s undead existence. A more grown up approach to the immortality and the mythos of the Articulate Coven, a departure from the romantic ’80s, a fresh start from the jaded ’90s and a new journey into the unknown of this century. I might not agree with Anne on many plot twists and character decisions but like many from the fandom, I can’t let go and I will always return. 

Now that I got that out, let me share a few thoughts on the news which broke the Internet for the VC fandom aka the return of the VC book rights to Anne Rice. Anne and her son, Christopher also created a page, The Vampire Chronicles  and the fans are part of the creative effort – sharing thoughts on who should be cast for which part. 

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source: http://i-want-my-iwtv.tumblr.com/

What we know so far?

Anne and Christopher are working on a treatment for a pilot episode and the series is hoping for a Netflix, Game of Thrones treatment – that means, we will have blood, gore, nudity, homo eroticism, sex, the whole nine yards as it should have if one read the books. 

Since the early 2000s, I was convinced the books are suited better for TV rather than the movies approach and fuck, I feel vindicated after all these years and many discussions with friends and fandom members, that Anne has decided to take this step. Yes, The Vampire Chronicles will make for a great HBO, Starz, Netflix or Showtime TV show. We do live in the Golden Age of television and just think how it will be to get 8 or 10 episodes from Netflix and binge watch them.

The Vampire Chronicles fandom is truly the embodiment of patience – we’re not the only ones but this article is my own personal rant and I want to showcase how it feels to wait and hope you won’t bite the dust until the series hits the television – and we have to wait some more. 

Although there are rumors claiming Anne and Christopher are already receiving phone calls and televisions are exciting about this project, this takes time. Writing the scripts, discussion with the networks, pre-productions, casting, filming. We’re looking at three years of waiting and here comes the spiny thorn – not that Thorne 😉 – of the fandom. The actors who will play the beloved characters.

Anne has never been shy of voicing her opinions on who should play her characters and the fans gave her new suggestions. If you take a look at the Vampire Chronicles Facebook page, there are already threads for casting Lestat, Louis, Armand and Akasha. It all comes down to finding the right, age appropriate actors who can stick for four, five seasons and look the part. I’m still not totally decided on my VC casting hopes – I do have a list put together years ago but damn it, that’s the wishful thinking list not the logical approach. It all depends also on the budget. The series will raise a hefty price on the special effects, decors, costumes. Will it be a more British centric cast or a whole United Nations approach? Don’t get me wrong, even Lestat enjoys a good rant with an English accent but it would be great to see diversity – not politically correct casting choices, sorry but I don’t think it’s necessary to make a Latino Louis. It feels like Anne and Christopher know what they want from this project and we can only hope than in a few years we’ll have the best TV show we can hope based on the Vampire Chronicles. 

Anne voice her opinion for Matt Bomer as Louis, sorry, he looks awesome but she’s close to 40 years old. Sure, Matt doesn’t look the age but how about thinking about the fact the actor who will play Louis needs to appear youthful for at least 4 or 5 seasons – depending how the books will be structured into seasons. Yes, Matt Bomer was also on my list as Louis for many years but damn it, time flies and we’re not immortals – hence my hope of either live a long life or be able to haunt my home and watch Netflix in case I bite the dust and don’t see this show while I still breathe. The same goes for Lestat, last time I checked, Anne wanted Christ Hemsworth for the part. OK, these are her choices although for the life of me, I don’t see Hemsworth in his full Thor physique doing pirouettes at the Renaud theater. It will be a fun time ahead when the cast will be put together. In the mean time, keep your fingers crossed, read PLROA and bring in constructive ideas for the TV series. Now if only Vampire Masquerade would be so lucky.

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