The Tale of the Body Thief
Published 1992 448 pages
Reviewed by Sandra
Summary (from the book jacket)
Vampire-hero, rock star and seducer of millions, Lestat is an immortal extraordinaire...
But Lestat yearns to be reborn a mortal. Tormented to the depths of his vampire soul he wanders aimlessly across the globe from Amsterdam to the Amazon jungle, until he meets the one being who can grant him his wish. He is the Body Thief, more sinister and evil than any daemon. But when Lestat surrenders his vampire body he discovers what he'd so long ago forgotten: the awkwardness and anguish of being human...
After so long in exile, Lestat has become unhappy with his lot, mourning his vampire self - it hurts and torments him inside, yet still eats at him even when he kills, he attacks the cruel, evil and loathsome types of men and women who stalk the night. He is prone to feeding on those who do not deserve to be killed so he can live, and it is this reason he grows despondent and depressed with himself. Part of the reason for his low self esteem is boredom and the fact he has no friends to speak of, only David Talbot, the head for the Talamasca order of psychic detectives who he has grown fond of. Lestat had asked David to join him as a fellow vampire, but he refused Lestat’s offer of the Dark Gift. Just as with Armand's lover not allowing him to give him the Dark Gift at first, Lestat has the same problem with David even if he has promised to spend eternity with him.
Lestat becomes deeply depressed and leaves on a journey to the Gobi desert thinking of suicide as the only thing to end his pitiful life, but something happens he thinks is the work of a higher power – so he returns to David. Much to Lestat's surprise he meets a man, Raglan James who says he can swap bodies with him so he can wander around as a different person in order to end his period of depression. David and his vampire friends think this is a foolish thing to do, but Lestat decides to take Raglan up on his proposal. What Lestat doesn't take into consideration is that Raglan intends to keep Lestat's body for his own and disappear with it, leaving Lestat abandoned and in constant search for his own body. In changing bodies, Lestat in effect becomes human and suffers the drawbacks of his hasty decision soon after.
The point of this novel is to show that Lestat cannot accept his vampire nature and his reason for killing. It is the killing innocents part that gives him the greatest grief as he sees it as unnecessary even though to drink blood from one such person is pure ecstacy for a vampire. Unlike the previous novels in the Vampire Chronicles, this one highlights just how vulnerable Lestat can be, and how foolish he is on agreeing to swap his vampire body with that of a mortal. In times of uncertainty Lestat searches for David and talks the hours away about his thoughts on changing bodies - he knows it is risky, yet he desires to atone for his sins as a vampire in a human body. What he is has troubled him for several years, and it is this inner turmoil that leads him to make such an irrational decision. Once in this human form though, Lestat learns how fragile it is to be human after and this knowledge cures him of his stupidity for making a deal with the Body Thief.
For the reader it will be interesting to notice the transition for Lestat from vampire to human, and how bad he feels later when his vampire friends reject him in society for what he has done. This particular tale gets the reader deeper into how Lestat feels and what he needs from his life even if he does make certain stupid decisions with it. It picks up the pace from the previous novel and makes a nicely written thriller that admirers of Anne Rice will surely enjoy.
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