The Queen of the Damned - Simon Vance (Narrator) Anne Rice (Author At the end of [b:The Vampire Lestat|43814|The Vampire Lestat (The Vampire Chronicles, #2)|Anne Rice||3241580], Lestat, narrowly escaping an attack at his opening concert in San Francisco, was getting read to sleep during the day when a figure hovers over him. This book picks up immediately - Lestat narrates what happens in the days that follows. To do this, he backs out and we get third person POV from some sideline characters - Baby Jinx, a young vampire girl who is on her way to Lestat's concert; Khayman, a thousands-year old vampire just awakened; Daniel, the young interviewer from [b:Interview with the Vampire|43763|Interview with the Vampire (The Vampire Chronicles, #1)|Anne Rice||873132]; and Jessie, the young niece of a mysterious woman, Maharet, who gets involved in this paranormal agency, the Talamasca. Through these people, we see the rise of a dream of red-haired twins. Who are the twins and can they stop the destruction Akasha promises to enact - or will they help it?

Rice's Vampire Chronicles has been a surprise to me - I thought, based on my impression of other (Anita Blake) early vampire novels, that I would hate these books. I was ready to give up on trying to get through "Interview", but I gave it one last shot - a shot that gave great payout as I adored that book. Surprisingly, I found I liked the sequel, "Lestat", just as much, if not more.

I guess I shouldn't be surprised to stumble upon one of the books in the series that doesn't float my boat; nothing good lasts forever, right? But I really wanted to love this book. And unfortunately, I didn't.

Before I get too much further, I want to set the record straight: I did NOT hate this book. In fact, I rather enjoyed myself at parts - when Lestat was narrating, for example, the new character, Baby Jinx, Lestat's exchange with Akasha over who should rule and the destruction of society as we know it, and the story of the red-haired twins. Very fascinating stuff. My problem isn't over the content - it's how it was presented. And how it was presented just didn't jive with me.

One problem I think was that the story wasn't told from Lestat's first person POV. It's not a common thing to find first person done well, but Rice used it adeptly both in "Lestat" and "Interview", and when this book talks from Lestat in first person, it is again, superb. However, to show what is going on from people other than Lestat, Rice pulls out into a third person POV. It wasn't necessarily bad, it's just that most of the characters whose view we follow aren't particularly interesting or important to the story. As much as I liked Baby Jinx, for example, her story really didn't do much to further the plot. Same with Daniel, for the most part. And while Jessie does play a role in the story, did we really need to get into the details of her life? (OK, I'll be upfront: she was probably my least favorite character so I really got tired of reading about how awesome she was and how everything seemed to revolve around her.)

Telling so many stories in the first two sections really hampered the pace. The first 50% or so is painfully slow as we follow several relatively new characters and the events that lead them up to Lestat's concert. Like I said above, some of their stories are integral; others are dubious. Me? I had trouble switching back and forth between all of them and found myself wondering why we were bothering.

The second half is much, much better. We hear the story of the red-haired twins from one of the twins, Maharet. Her story also includes the origins of vampires and the eponymous "Queen of the Damned", Akasha. This portion was quite a bit more interesting - unfortunately, I found myself wandering at more than one point. I'm not sure why that is - was I getting bored of the Chronicles? Was I no longer in the mood for a slow, deliberate story? Part of me thinks that if this book had been 100% (or nearly) Maharet's story and POV, I would have liked it better.

Maharet's story switches with Lestat's POV as Akasha tries to convince him to join her and her new world order. Again, this was pretty interesting stuff - and yet, I found myself getting bored again!! What is my problem??? Why wasn't I enjoying this as much as "Interview" and "Lestat"?!

I don't quite know the answers to these questions; maybe the lack of enjoyment of this book is my fault. Maybe I wasn't in the right frame of mind. Maybe I need a break from the Chronicles so I can fully enjoy the mythos and surroundings (which continue to be top-notch). I feel bad I can't pinpoint it and even worse about not enjoying this book.

Despite my feelings, I am not saying to avoid this book like the plague. I do think it has some great parts. If you do decide to read this, just take heed that there are a lot of new characters and new character POV along with a slower pace. Keep plugging until the second half, which gets much better.

No matter my feelings for this book, I will continue this series. It continues to have promise and be one of the best portrayals of vampires I've read. I'm just going to take a break so I can come back to this excited and interested in Lestat's mischievous schemes.