My introduction to vampire fiction was Interview with the Vampire in 1994, when the movie came out. I was considerably too young to see the movie, according to my dad. I was eleven, so I can see his point. He saw it and decided that no, I could not go watch Brad Pitt and Tom Cruise with fangs until I was a little older (side note: a “little older” turned out to be maybe 13 when I saw it edited for TV). I decided to read the book. I’m a reader; I always have been.
This was the cover I had.
It was sleek, simple, and admittedly cheesy. I love it. I love the book. I loved the darkness of the cover that was part of the darkness of the book.
I read through the Vampire Chronicles like crazy. I read every single one. I read the New Tales of the Vampires. I had to buy a new copy of Vampire Lestat because my first copy was literally falling apart; it was held together by a rubber band. I must have read it every summer from the time I was twelve until I graduated high school at seventeen. Waiting for Merrick was torture. Blood and Gold gave a very shy, 18 year old me something to talk about with a new boy in college, who is now my husband. I wrote horrible poetry about Armand when I was going through an angsty poet phase.
I watched and re-watched both movies. I still hate Kirsten Dunst because she wasn’t Claudia enough for me. I love everything about the Queen of the Damned movie, but it annoyed me that so many minor characters were left out. I love the soundtrack. These books (and movies to a lesser extent) shaped my teen years. They shaped my writing. They shaped my world.
What are you thinking? This is the “preview” UK cover. It looks like a cheesy young adult romance novel.
I understand wanting to cash in on the popularity of Twilight, and to a lesser extent, YA supernatural romance in general. I understand that many of the covers of the Vampire Chronicles have changed to the stark black, white, and red covers reminiscent of Twilight. This is marketing, I get it. They’re edgy and abstract, so I can forgive them, albeit reluctantly. The same thing happened to Silver Kiss, another vampire novel I loved when I was younger.
But this photo-cover diminishes what Lestat has been since 1976. Lestat is the sexy vampire. He is the epitome of rock star, arrogant, vampire that everyone has copied since. Now, he’s being pimped out.
“They” say to never judge a book by its cover. Yes, I will be reading Prince Lestat because I still love Lestat. But, I’m judging this book, Ms. Rice, and I’m judging you.