For the love of her vampire suitor, Karl, Charlotte has forsaken her human life. Now her only contact with people is when she hunts them down to feed. Her thirst for blood repulses her but its fulfilment brings ecstasy.
The one light in the shadows is the passion that burns between her and Karl. A love that it seems will last for eternity – until Karl’s former lover, the seductively beautiful Katerina, is rescued from the Crystal Ring. For nearly fifty years she has lain, as dead, in the icy depths of the Weisskalt. Now she wants to reclaim her life… and Karl.
In despair, Charlotte turns to the prima ballerina Violette Lenoir, an ice maiden who only thaws when she dances. Charlotte is fascinated as she has been by no other human, longing to bring joy to the dancer. But her obsession opens the floodgates to a far darker threat than the vampires could ever have imagined. For Violette is more than human and if she succumbs to the vampire’s kiss it could unleash a new terror.
There’s a line towards the very end of the 1994 film version of Interview with the Vampire. At the tail end of the movie, Lestat drops in on Daniel (literally) who is listening to Louis’ tape as he drives out of San Francisco. Lestat looks at Daniel and says “Louis, Louis, still whining, Louis.”
That’s kind of how I felt about Charlotte in this book. And Karl. And to an extent the new girl on the block, Violette. Gah. It manages to be both annoying and dull to read.
So much of this book is Charlotte being upset at Karl’s defense and seeming infatuation with Katerina, or Karl being upset and confused that Charlotte and Katerina don’t get along, or the pair both longing for the other. It’s so bad that even the other characters eventually find ways to try and get them together because no one can stand it anymore. And problem is, it’s all so dull.
The story does exist for a purpose: to push Charlotte into the arms of the ballerina Violette, but even then, that isn’t interesting. There isn’t a reason for Charlotte to be captivated by her. She’s pretty. She’s aloof. She hates men because her father was abusive. She doesn’t have much depth beyond that.
Alongside that story is one about humans who are into mysticism and somehow can tap into the Crystal Ring and gain some control over the vampires and it’s all to set up a story about bringing about Lilith, mother of the vampires back and meh. It should be interesting and somehow isn’t. If I had to pinpoint it on something, I’d have to say that one of the previous book’s strengths – that gothic flair – just doesn’t work here. That book really was about Charlotte and Karl and it worked as they slid into obsession. Now though, it’s just too slowly paced to keep my interest.
Clearly, the series has its fans else a new book wouldn’t be coming out in October. I think those more into the gothic sub-genre will enjoy this more than I would, and for them I’d say go ahead and check it out. The rest of us though…
Verdict: Skip It