The Vampire Lestat (The Vampire Chronicles, #2) - Anne Rice,  Simon Vance The year is 1984, and Lestat is the famous lead singer of the group, The Vampire Lestat. He stumbles upon a simple little book, "Interview with the Vampire", starring Louis, his ersatz lover of sorts (because vampires don't exactly have lovers the same way humans do). So Lestat sets the record straight and tells the tale of his life as a vampire.

When people say this is better than [b:Interview with the Vampire|43763|Interview with the Vampire (Vampire Chronicles, #1)|Anne Rice||873132], they are not kidding. This book is light years better than "Interview". I almost wish this book never ended, it was so good. I already have book 3 lined up to read - and normally, I would give myself a break, just so I didn't burn out.

What makes "The Vampire Lestat" so good? Just about everything - from characters, to setting, to writing, to mythos. About the only thing I can critique is that at one point, not long after Gabrielle is turned and we meet Armand, the story kinda stalls and gets a bit dull. Oh, and when Marius is telling his story, I kinda got confused and thought we went back to Lestat's POV. But honestly, those are nitpicks - I enjoyed myself thoroughly with this book.

Lestat is a WAY better protagonist than Louis. He's not so whiny, so pathetic, so useless. He's a master of his own life - sure, he contemplates whether he is evil and tends to choose victims who are evil (those women Louis says Lestat seduces? They are prostitutes that cheat sailors and probably kill them). He is a passionate being - he cares enormously for Nikola and Louis (some of the sweetest interactions in the book) and his mother (though his love for her gets a bit creepy in the "I don't think we should be kissing our MOM this way"). He is a curious being - he searches all over the Mediterranean for Marius and the source of answers. He is a powerful being - his powers attract the attention of Armand and Marius and when others can't stand being a vampire, he is able to press on.

The rest of the cast is beautifully done as well. Gabrielle, Nikola, Marius, Armand, and even Louis all get dimension. They are real people, with real desires - Gabrielle to be set loose to live alone. Nikola to balance his "wicked" pursuit of the theater with his religious beliefs. And so on. And so forth.

The story was engaging and exciting. I was enthralled with the depths of the mythos, a perfect balance of complex and yet simple - not a list of rules sloppily tacked together when the author needs to add a new challenge to her characters, but actual rules that make sense in the world and seem to originate naturally from the circumstances. And the addition of Akasha and her brother - I can't tell you how deliciously creeped out I was! I loved it!

At this point, I'm just gushing. Honestly, I really loved this book and am SO GLAD I didn't give up on this series. If you like your vampires wicked and blood-thirsty, you definitely need to check out this series!!