Memnoch the Devil (The Vampire Chronicles #5)

ISBN: 0345409671
ISBN 13: 9780345409676
By: Anne Rice

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About this book

"STARTLING . . . FIENDISH . . . MEMNOCH'S TALE IS COMPELLING."--New York Daily News"Like Interview with the Vampire, Memnoch has a half-maddened, fever-pitch intensity. . . . Narrated by Rice's most cherished character, the vampire Lestat, Memnoch tells a tale as old as Scripture's legends and as modern as today's religious strife."--Rolling Stone"SENSUAL . . . BOLD, FAST-PACED."--USA Today"Rice has penned an ambitious close to this long-running series. . . . Fans will no doubt devour this."--The Washington Post Book World"MEMNOCH THE DEVIL OFFERS PASSAGES OF POETIC BRILLIANCE."--Playboy"[MEMNOCH] is one of Rice's most intriguing and sympathetic characters to date. . . . Rice ups the ante, taking Lestat where few writers have ventured: into heaven and hell itself. She carries it off in top form."--The Seattle Times

Reader's Thoughts

Cecilia

This is not a vampire story, rather it reads more like a lesson in Christianity. Almost the entire book consists of Memnoch taking Lestat on a journey outside of time as a witness to creation, the crucifixion, the crusades, etc. If you would rather not have a religious lesson, then move on. I for one did not enjoy this book as much as I have enjoyed the other books in this series; however, it is still beautifully written with loads of wonderful imagery, so for that it gets an "it was ok" rating.

Carrie Slager

I really didn’t see why so many people were upset about this novel until I actually read it a few times. Now, however, I can see why it has been deemed offensive—or even blasphemous—and why Anne Rice, now a born-again Christian has repudiated her Vampire Chronicles. Especially since this one. Memnoch the Devil doesn’t tell the conventional church-approved story of Satan’s fall from heaven. No, it is Satan, or Memnoch, who tells his side of the story.From a theological perspective, this is a very interesting book. In it, Anne Rice has combined both old and new Christian ideas from many denominations with a bit of Jewish theology. Memnoch’s justification for his rebellion reminds me very much of the character of Satan from John Milton’s Paradise Lost. Without getting into all of the nasty little details, let’s just call this novel experimental theology and leave it at that, shall we? I’m not going to bring my personal beliefs into this review.From a less biased, more literature-focused perspective, Memnoch the Devil is not exactly the greatest novel ever written. Lestat is a cardboard cutout by now, the plot is slow and predictable and Memnoch is the only redeeming thing, character-wise. Memnoch is complicated, yet sympathetic in a bizarre way if you put your religious beliefs aside while reading this. But other than Memnoch, this novel doesn’t have much going for it.As usual, my warning: Memnoch the Devil contains mature content including bad language, explicit sex scenes and violence. Personally, I would not recommend it for anyone under the age of 14, but it really depends on the reader’s maturity level.I give this book 2/5 stars.

Lisa

** spoiler alert ** I was initially horrified with the premise of this book – as part of the Vampire Chronicles I expected that it would be another tale of vampirism, or of Lestat, but instead it focuses mainly on the story of Creation and the great misunderstanding between God and the Devil which leads to the Devil ruling over Hell as related by Memnoch (the aforementioned Devil) to Lestat in a journey of earth, Heaven and Hell. I wouldn’t normally choose a book that focuses so much on religion (unless as an argument against it, which in retrospect this seems to be) and was a little put off by this as I seem to find it far harder to suspend my disbelief for religion than for vampires, but soon found myself sucked in despite myself.Incredibly well-written (as usual) and compelling, I found the telling of this tale to be extremely imaginative and surprisingly plausible (surprising to me anyway, as a staunchly stubborn atheist). Memnoch was a hugely sympathetic character and whilst I could understand a little of God’s reasoning around the time of the crucifixion, I couldn’t help but agree wholeheartedly with Memnoch’s point of view and thought that God seemed less a benevolent, all-knowing and wonderful creator than a petty asshole for most of the time, struggling to justify himself for all of the suffering that abounds on earth and pretending like that was part of the plan all along. I realize that this might be due to bias as it’s Memnoch’s telling rather than God’s, but I don’t think I’d have thought any differently had it been the other way around.Come the end, I turned out to be heartbroken about Armand (I don’t think I’d realised how much I liked him up until that point!), and with Mael about to suffer the same fate I was just as angry as Lestat at Memnoch and God for how he’d been used.As Lestat signs off, he can rest assured that he still keeps that place in my dreams that he hopes for from his reader, as a fabulous and classic character that I’m sure will stick in my memory for many, many years to come.

Dev

I deeply admired "Interview' w/its rich writing style of place and period, and its dispassionate portrayal of characters like Claudia, who after being a 6 year old vampire for decades has become a steely-eyed predator(ahem instead of a 100 year old vampire vegan w/an insatiable desire to...sit through high school english again and again). The Vampire Lestat was equally good w/a wonderful shift in perspective that gave a great new spin to the character an events that transpired. The books that followed were slight but entertaining affairs, but this latest is awful. A thinly disguised telling of Anne Rice's personal mythology of the Abrahamic religions. Nothing new: The Devil is a misunderstood humanist, while God is a brutal patriarch who walked the walk but never forgot he was the Big Cheese.There's no need for Lestat, no need for Vampires. Just a long, very long, explanation by Lucifer about the nature of reality.

Carlos Lavín

It would be a bit pointless to be reading Rice's books without having a notion of her journey through being catholic->agnostic->catholic->bitching about catholic church. Since last book of the series, The Tale of the Body Thief, Rice seems to be trying to write down and refine her thoughts on the way she perceives the catholics' religion, God, the Devil, and the moral obligations underlined by them. In the previous book this is somehow a secondary topic (barely touching the idea of the imperfect God and the learning Devil), the tale being more focused on Lestat's chance at redemption, at being human again and at finding out and really understanding what exactly it means to be human.However, on Memnoch, Rice goes full-crazy-bitch on our asses. She gets insanely ambitious with the bases she's trying to cover and basically redefines the whole catholic story of creation/evolution, giving it a twist more alike to what she thought of it at the time. On this story she's focusing even more on her idea of an imperfect, violent, careless God ("why does he let all the shitty things happen" is a recurring question) and a learning and caring Devil, him being the one out of the two that actually tries to "end suffering". Hell, Lestat is basically a secondary character from chapter 6-7 onto 21-22. But, to stop us from missing him, we do get some nice lines such as the Devil saying: Hell is where I straighten things out that He has made wrong. Hell is where I reintroduce a frame of mind that might have existed had suffering never destroyed it! Hell is where I teach men and women that they can be better than He isWith this out of the way, Rice does fail quite a bit on this one. Since the last book you get the feeling that she was starting to shift towards a more dialogue-driven plot (with huge 30 page chapters of a conversation between Lestat and someone else, something not common in say, The Queen of the Damned, that had a lot of narrator-action), and this book comes to reinforce that. When you pair this huge "dialogue" chapters with the unnecessarily long story of creation, and Lestat interrupting the Devil every couple lines to whine about something (he keeps on getting more and more beaten down by it all, more desperate, purposeless.. he basically becomes a deeper version of Louis), it ends up as a damn slow book.Again, her take on God and the Devil is an interesting one, and her portrayal of God reminded me to what Saramago wrote in his The Gospel According to Jesus Christ, but still, she could have maybe cut off the 30 page chapter describing heaven. Because, seriously, who cares what heaven would look like...There's light, everyone's happy, end chapter. Take us to hell, lady!But ah, the end of the book. If there's something Rice knows how to do is end a book. This one felt like she thought it would be the last book in the series, before she started reheating all the other vamps and telling their stories (and come on, they're not Lestat so again, who cares), and the final lines would've been great series-ending-lines:(view spoiler)[ I want you to see me now. I want you to look at me, as I present myself, and as I swear to this tale, as I swear on every word of it, from my heart.I am the Vampire Lestat. This is what I saw. This is what I heard.This is what I know! This is all I know.Believe in me, in my words, in what I have said and what has been written down.I am here, still, the hero of my own dreams, and let me please keep my place in yours.I am the Vampire Lestat.Let me pass now from fiction into legend. (hide spoiler)]Awesome.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>

Megan Anderson

Awful.I almost didn’t finish the book, which is saying something because I ALWAYS soldier through books even if I don’t like them. I have enjoyed every previous book in the Vampire Chronicles. I probably wouldn’t have finished this one if I hadn’t brought it along with me during my 3 hour blood glucose test. The beginning of the book is fine, but the majority of the book is a monologue by Memnoch on Creationism. It isn’t that Rice’s take on the creation of the heavens and the earth and the battle between God and the Devil isn’t interesting. If you gave me a summery of it, I’d love it. But it just goes on and on while absolutely nothing happens. Very little plot, very little characterization. Maybe I wouldn’t have noticed it as much if I hadn’t been reading it for three hours straight. I’m hoping the next one won’t be as awful.

Ashley Wilson

This book was the worst book of this series. It took me over a year to finish reading. I didn't want to stop reading it because I knew that the information in it was crucial to reading the next books in the series so it took me over a year to finish it and start back on the track with the rest of the series.I do not like the religious aspect of this book at all. Lestat is not a religious character. He is supposed to be a bad-ass vampire stronger than the rest but this book paints a picture of him that I am not too fond of at all!!!That being said, you still need to read it before you read the other books in the series.

Allison

At the time that I read this book I was an agnostic, pagan, ex-catholic, confused about religion person. Anne Rice's technique and passion is so persuasive that I was a true believer after reading this book. And this was before she converted back to Catholicism! She is just so powerful, her narrative technique is, I want to say, loving towards her reader. I think her love for the characters she's created makes that happen. Anyway, this one is a must for followers of the chronicles and fans of Lestat. My copy of this book is signed by the author and it was a pleasure to meet someone who's imagination was so unhampered that she could walk into the judeo-christian mythos with a vampire. I would say that this book forshadows her eventual work with the Jesus story.

Daetaya

...and the Catholic Church thought that The Da Vinci Code was blasphemy!! Well Mr. Pope and Bishops, wake up and smell the coffee!! Read it and weep.

Gregory Spiker

In Memnoch the Devil, Anne Rice has allowed herself to indulge in an orgy of purple prose. We hear so much about the lush greenery of the early Earth that we begin to forget what the story is about. And because of this, not much actually happens in the story. If this book were made into a film, in fact, it would probably be no more than 20 minutes long.Aside from that, this isn't much of a "vampire chronicle." The purpose of this book seems not to be to tell a tale of the vampires, but only to further Rice's latent agenda to besmirch Christianity. Albeit, there's nothing wrong with that in itself; but I was expecting to hear about vampires, and instead I hear about nothing but God and The Devil.If you plan to read this book (and perhaps you should if you plan to read the rest of the chronicles - which are worth a read, btw), I would highly recommend skimming through the 250-some pages at the middle of the book, paying close attention only to the beginning and end of the tale.

Arun Divakar

When a writer pens down a plot based on the evergreen bestselling book, people are bound to sit up and take notice. This I suppose was Anne Rice's idea behind Memnoch the Devil. I haven't read even one of the Vampire Chronicles and the only other Anne Rice book I read to date was a load of crap named 'Violin'. Memnoch surprised me with its vast scope but starting off with an intriguing plot thread, it soon degenerated to a very flat and predictable ending.Consider this, the devil taking along a vampire on a tour of heaven,hell and earth through the bloody alleyways of history to explain to the vampire why he should take sides with him against god. Interesting isn't it ?? So it was, till about midway through the book and then it was like a trapdoor opened somewhere and the entire stage and actors vanished and were replaced by puppets. There are dialogs galore about the nature good and evil, god and devil, salvation and damnation and all things spiritual from a Christian concept. Needless to say I was gripped with this style of story telling as I am not familiar with the concept of Christianity as a whole ( I am yet to read the bible). Even to someone as uninitiated as me, the plot seemed to meander after sometime and the conclusion was an obvious one. The concept of the devil has always posed a lot of questions for me, the fact that such an antithesis exists to the concept of god has baffled and interested me. I hoped to find some answers, but now I have more questions...

Adam

I couldn't get past the second chapter. I liked the stories in books 1 and 2. Rice introduced so many colorful characters, who dealt with vampirism in different ways, that I was sure that she had a pile of good stories in wait. Unfortunately, when I picked up this book (thinking it was #3, not #5) I saw that she had taken the series in a different direction. Rather than show us how different humans adapted to the vampire life, she built up an increasing grand and complicated plot-line that has to be explained at the beginning of each book. Even worse, she extended the supernatural phenomena in her stories. This always bugs me --- when I read fantasy, I want a distinct fantasy with its own logic, so that we can then explore the implications of the fantasy. I can't stand it when the author constantly adds additional fantastic elements (e.g. the body thief)... as if vampires weren't interesting enough.

Tamcamry

• This is the kind of book that if it isn’t done exactly correct then it doesn’t make any sense at the end. I guess Lestat is used by the devil and all that, but how does that fit in with anything that was shone to Lestat? Even if it is all lies, the question is why? If Memnoch or God or anyone needed to get the veil of Veronica out to the public there were many easier and less time consuming way to do it. Why waste all this time and answer no questions? Again, it just doesn’t make much sense. Rice does manage to raise a few philosophical questions about the nature of God and the devil. When you think about it, why would Satan want to be completely evil? He was a being created to be beautiful. Why would God create him if he knew he would rebel? Who knows?

E.p.

This is a theology book disguised as a vampire book. Anne Rice has always used vampires as surrogate "others" to describe very human feelings, desires, and questions; likewise she has always used vampires as a way to explore religion and the meaning of life. This installment of the vampire chronicles is over the line though. Clearly the themes of vital life-force and what a soul is are closely tied with the vampire legend as she has developed it. However, this book doesn't give a clear explanation of how vampires fit into the grand scheme of things or why this is a vampire chronicle. She also raises more questions than answers as to how this tale has meaning for the immortal stars of her chronicles. Rice's talent is for organizing story line and complex lineages, as she has done with vampires, spirits, and ancient peoples very cleverly. She capitalizes on that talent in Memnoch to describe the organization of heaven/hell and all associated supernatural beings.spoiler from here: Religions other than Christianity have a view point of a circular heaven and hell. That if you go far enough into hell, you arrive back in heaven. This is the tale that she works into Christianity. Rice has been searching for a "why" things happen through all of her vampire books. She struggles with this idea of the savage garden, that life is beautiful for it's chaos and that even things that are fundamentally horrible are beautiful at their core for their place in the big picture. This is essentially the theme of the book: should these horrible things that happen to people occur as part of the beauty of life, or should we be shielded from bad things as God's chosen sentient beings. This is the argument between Memnoch and God in this book. It's up to the reader to pull the answer together for him/herself.

Fangs for the Fantasy

Memnoch the Devil takes Lestat on an extremely long tour of the past, creation, angels, evolution, the passion of Christ and more – because he has a job proposition for the Brat PrinceMemnoch the Devil, also known as “the Bible according to Anne Rice” or “Anne Rice’s theological musings”. Perhaps even “Memnoch lectures you endlessly while Lestat practices his melodrama”.What it isn’t, is much of a story or a plot. For a story or a plot to happen, well, things have to happen. Things do not happen. Oh there’s something tucked at the beginning. There’s something tucked at the end (a teeny tiny something). But that’s itThe rest of lecture. Info-dump. ONE LONG INFODUMP! One horrendously long, unbelievably unnecessary info-dump. An info-dump that I cannot even imagine having even the slightest relevance to the series. It really is just one long exposition on what the Bible could mean or a spin on it or on the nature of god. It’s a vast amount of world building that is utterly irrelevant to anything the vampires do in their daily livesIf Lestat weren’t being dragged around to occasionally declare himself impressed/awed/horrified it wouldn’t be relevant at all. The vampires are utterly superfluous to this story. All of the characters are utterly superfluous to this story. It may as well have been one long the logical lecture – inly told in the most long winded, dullest way possible.I’d like to write more on this since it is the vast majority of the book, but there really is nothing more to say. It’s just a big splurge of theological theory pretending to be a novel. It’s completely irrelevant, not very interesting and probably better suited to analysis in a seminary than actually read as a novel in the ongoing vampire series.But looking at the bits that actually involve the vampires rather than some of the dreariest and long winded exposition I have ever had the displeasure to ready, and it’s not much better or more sensible. Perhaps because these little add ons have just been forced to try and drag this info dump into her worldLestat fell in love with his victim – I can buy that’s imply because within 10 seconds of meeting just about anyone, Lestat falls in love with them. It’s what he does, it allows even more pointless melodrama. So we get a really long and pointless backstory on this man and some books he read (which seem to be more part of the endless theological debate that basically comes down to “sex and pleasure and love are not bad things. Suffering is not valuable.” Seriously, that’s this entire damn theological diatribe that took an entire book to relate summed up in one sentence) which is never gain relevant. This goes on for countless pointless pages where we learn the pointless minutiae of someone who DOES NOT MATTERAaargh, this is something I’ve seen in Anne Rice’s novels time and again - especially n Queen of the Damned and The Witching Hour - every character briefly mentioned will get this endless examination of their lives. We do not need this much detail about every irrelevant side characterAnd there’s Dora, I’m going to leave aside the bizarre menstruation feeding, and just ask what is wrong with this woman?! Lestat comes to her having killed her dad and she starts calling him darling? Where did darling come from? What? Why?! And she goes from not caring about relics because they’re just physical objects and faith comes from within, to being completely enraptured and obsessive about... a relic. Her characterisation didn’t even begin to make senseWe do have the “everyone is bisexual” continuation – since even Lestat’s victims were. But it’s, again, not conveyed well. For a start the whole religious monologue that consumes this book puts the love for men and women as a dramatic holy amazing experience – and it’s always men and women. The divine heterosexual is really strong there.And his new bisexual victim, Roger, slept with women and… boys? Why are we expressly saying “boys” there? And the only partner we learn any detail about is, of course, a woman – which is very reminiscent of the same problems in The Tale of the Body ThiefRead More

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