Review On: The Tale of the Body Thief by Anne Rice
Series: The Vampire Chronicles (Book 4)
When I first heard about this book, back when I had no idea that it was part of the Vampire Chronicles, I was intrigued and curious as to how the story would pan out…it being an Anne Rice novel and all. When I found out that it was part of the series, I had my theories on the book, how the story would pan out and who would be the characters involved. I never imagined that the story would turn out the way it did though, and to a great extent – I am overwhelmed and happy with how the story turned out, though I was somewhat disappointed with how the book ended.
(Beware: Spoilers ahead)
We all know the main character of the Vampire Chronicles series – Lestat de Lioncourt, who we meet and get to know through the first three books. Here in this fourth book, we find out more about Lestat, this greedy vampire who wishes to be human. Here, we also meet The Body Thief, a completely new character, who offers Lestat the one thing he wants but cannot have – to be human again. Lestat having already been a vampire for over two hundred years, has almost anything he wants, but feels that his humanity was taken from him too soon in life, so he carries with him a feeling he cannot quench, the memory of being alive. So when the group who became so close-knit to fight Akasha (from Queen of the Damned – book 3) finally find themselves drifting apart (as it is said in previous novels that vampires don’t usually like hanging out with their own kind), Lestat finds a friend in David Talbot – the man who has at countless times refused the Dark Gift he so willingly offered. After being denied numerous times, and lonely and suffering from dreams of the past, Lestat decides to end his life (like so many countless vampires before him who got tired of immortality) and goes to the Gobi Dessert where he allows himself to rise into the sunrise. He almost dies and burns himself all over but finds that he cannot die, so he is lost in torment over what he has lost, his memories, and the death that even he cannot attain. So when the offer from The Body Thief comes, Lestat cannot resist the offer, it is too tempting, especially for a vampire like himself who loves risks and adventure. He knows that it is dangerous, and that The Body Thief cannot be trusted, but naive Lestat wants to be human so bad, or at least temporarily, that he takes on the offer. And when Lestat falls into The Body Thief’s trap and finds himself human, mortal and weak and dying and far from the memories of his being human, Lestat joins together with his good friend from the Talamasca to recover his body and find the rampaging Body Thief who is now in the body of the great and infamous Vampire Lestat.
At the start of the book, we meet David Talbot who has become a very good friend and confidant to Lestat, apparently in the time between the previous book and this. When Lestat’s interest in David wanes because David has in countless times turned down the chance to become a vampire, Lestat decides to end his life (like the man who turned him into a vampire). When that doesn’t work out, we find that Lestat has become desperate and his curious and adventurous self cannot help but accept Raglan James’ offer – the offer to temporarily switch bodies. Lestat, after consulting the other vampires and David who suggest he not go through with the offer, decides to do it and makes hasty preparations for his temporary life, only to find out that he had been tricked by James. One, James means for him to die as a human because he is left without proper clothing and food. Two, James doesn’t bother coming back to switch bodies with him, even though they promised to switch bodies for only two days.
Lestat at first finds himself glorifying in his human state, and goes out to look for food and eventually finds himself in a company of a woman whom he has intercourse with (who was initially interested in him, but later on isn’t when Lestat refuses to use protection). It is later on that Lestat finds himself getting sick and almost dying of pneumonia. He is saved however by a missionary, to whom he finds a connection, and later offers the something she was looking for. When he is much better, Lestat goes to New Orleans to find Louis to help him, but discovers that Louis is unwilling to help him get back his body or help him by turning now-mortal-him into a vampire. And neither are the other vampires. Luckily, Lestat finds an ally in David, who earlier had told him that James was a former member of the Talamasca and was kicked out for his personality.
With Lestat and David together, they finally track down James, who has situated himself on a cruise ship. Before they get on the cruise ship, Lestat and David train together to help Lestat find a way to get his body back. With training from David, Lestat is able to learn how to rise above his body and how to try and invade the body of someone else. When they’re finally prepared, David and Lestat hatch a plan to take back the latter’s body, and they succeed. Lestat finds himself back in his body and rushes to his safe-place to wait for the sun to set before he and David disembark from the ship. Only, when Lestat wakes up, he finds that both James and David are gone. Later, Lestat finds David who finally says yes to taking the Dark Blood from him, only to find out that David’s body is being inhabited by James. Lestat ends up killing James (in David’s body), and later finds David who is the young body that James had initially stolen. But what happens then is not the end of the story…