SUMMARY: The Vampire Lestat, a rock star, is preparing for a concert in San Francisco. Across the globe, various individuals, mortal and immortal, are disturbed by a chilling dream of red-haired twins, which they cannot explain. The Queen of the Damned is walking. Death is everywhere. The destiny of both mankind and vampires is at stake.
This book was for the most part a slow read for me, but some things are so good they are better when savoured slowly, and this was such a case due to mainly two reasons.
First of all, the stories of various characters in the beginning seem rather loosely connected. However the different parts soon come together, forming each on their own and as a whole a compelling plot.
Secondly, Rice’s writing tackles many philosophical and ethical themes, which made me pause frequently, reread a paragraph, and think about the issue it deals with. I like it how Rice exposes various questions without giving her answers but rather leaving it to the reader to come to their own conclusions. In this way she deals with feminism, nature of genders, warfare, poverty, inequality, the potentials for peace in the world, and how people justify means to an end. There is a lot of symbolism in The Queen of the Damned, drawing parallels to history and religion.
The most surprising theme in The Queen of the Damned was cannibalism. Although this is an occurrence normally considered revolting, Rice provides a logical background to the concept, which makes it virtually consecrated.
There is nothing black and white in this book; the characters are not simply good or evil, but rich in complex personal features. Akasha aka the Mother is a perfect example of such a character. Thus, one cannot hate her and can certainly see her reasoning despite knowing she is wrong.
Finally, the solution of the main conflict in the book is simple, yet unforeseen and therefore ingenious. Hence, I was satisfied with the ending which at the same time left me craving for more.
RECOMMENDATION: The Queen of the Damned is an amazing book, because it reaches beyond the borders of paranormal into philosophy and ethics, and I highly recommend it both for its plot and characters and its power to make you think of several timeless issues. However, it contains explicit scenes of violence, and if you have a sensitive stomach, you should probably not read it before meals.