Rice in short form after the lengthy Blackwood Farm (2002), this time featuring characters shuffled together from the Vampire Lestat series and the Mayfair Witches series.
Rice allows Lestat to narrate for the first time since 1995’s Memnoch the Devil—which, according to Lestat, was the largest-selling entry in the entire series (probably because Tom Cruise’s Interview with the Vampire had come out the year before, reinvigorating the series and filling new readers in on the first novel). It’s not fair to expect Rice to write as impressively as she did 28 years ago (although there are long, beautiful, well-researched passages in her historicals), but the fact remains that Louis, the brooding, reluctant vampire of Interview, is Rice’s best narrator, far superior to Lestat, who runs off at the mouth and whose prose has none of the sweet grip of Louis’s. Canticle picks up where Blackwood left off, with beautiful nymphet Mona near death in young Quinn Blackwood’s arms. Lestat is on hand, still reeling from seeing Satan and God in person in Memnoch, and now set on being a saint. Despite his unflagging vanity, Lestat has also absorbed the main quality of Louis: revulsion toward the Curse. Though having met God and now seeking redemption, Lestat goes on sucking blood—but only of bad guys! He's helping God sweep mankind free of misbegotten hellspawn. For Quinn, Lestat gives Mona the Dark Trick, and then the three of them go to New Orleans to induct Mona into her first thirst-quenching. Meanwhile, Lestat has fallen headlong for Rowan Mayfair, the witch and neurosurgeon who finds Lestat attractive—attractions forced on both of them by Rice. And where is Morrigan, Mona’s monstrous full-grown Woman-Child, fathered by Rowan’s manly husband Michael?
Though one wishes to give the recently widowed author a free ride, Blood Canticle is as gaily slipshod, gushy, and first-draftish as Merrick.