Monday, August 17, 2015

AR: The Blood Canticle Review

Let's all pause for a second to marvel at what we are about to receive. This is one of the CLASSIC examples of an author going batshit and flying off the wall, right up there with LKH's infamous Dear Negative Reader rant. But Anne Rice was there FIRST - I think she was the first author to basically go batshit insane on the Web and make a total fool of herself. Many have done so since, but she was among the first.

And it is magnificent. Magnificently crazy and arrogant.

Oh, and like the infamous Dear Negative Reader rant, this one is one uninterrupted paragraph. Joy.

Seldom do I really answer those who criticize my work.

Usually I just hire a hit man.

In fact, the entire development of my career has been fueled by my ability to ignore denigrating and trivializing criticism as I realize my dreams and my goals.

Translated: I'm a super-awesome successful bestseller BECAUSE I refuse to listen to constructive criticism, not DESPITE it! LALALALALALALA CAN'T HEAR YOU LALALALALALALALA...

However there is something compelling about Amazon's willingness to publish just about anything,

Uh, no they don't. Yes, some crazy offensive shit does slide under the radar, but you can usually pick those out because they are the only ones of that type. And usually they are removed from the major books as opposed to small-time works.

The negative reviews of Blood Canticle are not like that, because there are a LOT of people who posted negatively about it, not just a couple crazy-ass trolls. And posters can only post their reviews ONCE. It isn't like they're flooding the place with a bunch of faked-up reviews just to drive down the ranking because they hate Anne Rice.

and the sheer outrageous stupidity of many things you've said here that actually touches my proletarian and Democratic soul.

  1. Yes, because nothing says "proletarian and Democratic" like trying to shut down a restauranteur because you don't like his decor.
  2. Also, who the hell talks about themselves that way?
  3. And nothing is more obvious than a person pretending to be gracious and intelligent, while slinging out insults at the critic's intelligence. You can almost hear Rice grinding her teeth with fury.
  4. And "proletarian" seems like a funny choice of words, considering that Ms. Rice then spends the whole blog looking down on others. And that she's RICH AS HELL.

Also I use and enjoy Amazon and I do read the reviews of other people's books in many fields. In sum, I believe in what happens here.

... or rather, she does as long as you don't say anything she doesn't like. You know, like any reviews that aren't all sunshine and flowers.

Now, I'm going to pause here and take a look at the wonderful page for Blood Canticle. What is the reviewing sitch? Well, as of the time I write this, the book has exactly three stars, and just under four hundred reviews. More than 1/4th of those reviews are ONE-STAR reviews.

Now, that is a pretty bad sign for an book. For an author who has a massive fanbase, that is a HORRIBLE score. To give you an idea, guess what the rating is for Narcissus in Chains, the infamous Laurell K. Hamilton book that instantly divided her fandom, her series, and her from her sanity, and tossed Anita Blake on the slippery bodily-fluid-smeared slide to being an egomaniacal whore. That's right, three stars!

Now, do some quick fractional work to figure out the proportions of these different rating groups... and you will see that Narcissus in Chains, a book that turned a once-promising series into insane plotless masturbatory fetish Sue porn... has FEWER ONE STAR REVIEWS THAN BLOOD CANTICLE! The archetypical horrible urban fantasy book is actually BETTER LIKED than this one!

And again, NO BOOK I can think of has been downrated this heavily JUST because people are mean. When a book is downrated this heavily, it's because IT SUCKS COLD DEAD VAMPIRE BALLS.

And so, I speak.

We know. The question is, how do we get you to shut up?

First off, let me say that this is addressed only to some of you, who have posted outrageously negative comments here, and not to all.

"In other words, Dear Negative Reader..."

You are interrogating this text from the wrong perspective.

  1. And a literary meme is born!
  2. Uh, how can you interrogate a text? Do you tie it to a chair under hot lights and punch it in the face until it tells you everything it knows?
  3. Stop sounding like my fucking English teacher!
  4. Nope, nope. There is no way that sentence works.

in·ter·ro·gate verb /inˈterəˌgāt/
interrogated, past participle; interrogated, past tense; interrogates, 3rd person singular present; interrogating, present participle
Ask questions of (someone, esp. a suspect or a prisoner) closely, aggressively, or formally
Obtain data from (a computer file, database, storage device, or terminal)
(of an electronic device) Transmit a signal to (another device, esp. one on a vehicle) to obtain a response giving information about identity, condition, etc

Indeed, you aren't even reading it.

... yes. Yes, I did. See, I did this thing where I focus my eyes on words and sentences, and derive meaning from them. That's reading. I couldn't possibly know the book sucked unless I had.

Oh wait, Rice is transparently using the "I bet u haterz didn't even read it! U SUK!" approach.

You are projecting your own limitations on it.

"If you don't like my book, then you hate it because you didn't really read it and because YOU'RE STUPID! SO THERE!"

And you are giving a whole new meaning to the words "wide readership."

... did she just call her readers fat? Yeah, stay classy.

And you have strained my Dickensean principles to the max.

Her principles have poor socioeconomic conditions and lots of poverty-stricken people?

(And it's "Dickensian," O bestselling brilliant Artist who don't need no editor)

I'm justifiably proud of being read by intellectual giants and waitresses in trailer parks,in fact, I love it, but who in the world are you?

"You're not a bestselling author so who cares what you think?! BLEEEEEAAAAHHHHHHHH!!!!! NEENER NEENER! YOU SUCK!"

Now to the book. Allow me to point out: nowhere in this text are you told that this is the last of the chronicles, nowhere are you promised curtain calls or a finale, nowhere are you told there will be a wrap-up of all the earlier material.

.... no, we weren't told in the book. Of course, Rice herself tells us AT THE END OF THIS REVIEW, which makes this weird rant of hers - which doesn't seem to be in response to anyone else's comments - totally pointless.

And it turns out that she wasn't done with the Chronicles... despite later declaring they were no more. I guess the money wasn't rolling in.

And it warns you specifically that if you did not enjoy Memnoch the Devil, you may not enjoy this book.

Actually, it didn't. You just spent a few pages bitching and whining about how other people didn't like Memnoch the Devil and dared to criticize your pseudoreligious claptrap instead of orgasming over its brilliance.

Also, Blood Canticle has VERY little to do with Memnoch the Devil. There's really nothing in common at all, except that they both involve Lestat and shallow religious meanderings. As far as plot, message, content, etc, they basically have nothing else in common.

This book is by and about a hero whom many of you have already rejected.

Actually, few if any people had rejected him before this book. A lot of the disappointment with the last few books was because people wanted more Lestat and only got a few crumbs. Merrick had him waking up, reviving Louis, and... that's it. Blackwood Farm had him just listening to the main character's life story and... I dunno, playing Angry Birds.

Unfortunately, Lestat spends a lot of Blood Canticle serving as Rice's mouthpiece, so she can babble about Roman Catholicism (which she's since turned her vitriol on), throw tantrums and talk like the kids these days. People rejected him in this because he sounds like a fucking idiot and because nobody likes being told that they're morons who can't handle the Deep Lit-ra-choor that Rice shovels out.

And he tells you that you are likely to reject him again.

Uh, no. He's a fictional character, so he isn't telling me anything. YOU are telling me that, because you're sulking because people didn't uniformly praise your latest.

And this book is most certainly written -- every word of it -- by me.

Sadly, I can believe that. Anyone egotistical enough to have a tantrum on like this is certainly egotistical enough to write crap like Blood Canticle.

Also, she just admitted that Lestat is her self-insert. A few sentences ago, she said the book was "by and about" Lestat.... and here she says it was written by her. So, who is it?

If and when I can't write a book on my own, you'll know about it.

... yes, yes we do.

And no, I have no intention of allowing any editor ever to distort, cut, or otherwise mutilate sentences that I have edited and re-edited, and organized and polished myself.

Well, I am totally on board with her on that! I mean, it would be a great injustice if anyone were allowed to MUTILATE such brilliant gems as "I don't deconstruct nothin'", "lapping his blood as if he was a Popsicle" and "It's time to boogie!" Imagine what we would have missed out on if anyone were allowed to edit such beauty!

I fought a great battle to achieve a status where I did not have to put up with editors making demands on me, and I will never relinquish that status.

Her work is PERFECT. PERFECT, DAMN YOU ALL! How could you be such barbarians as to demand that her perfect golden prose be raped by those evil editors? Don't you all KNOW that the best fiction in history was unedited? Authors are BETTER when they aren't edited! YOU BASTARDS! HOW DARE YOU TOUCH A SINGLE WORD OF ANNE'S DEATHLESS PROSE! Go read Violin and repent of your sins!

I swear to you all, that book has scarred me for life. As a friend of mine said, it's like taking acid and going on a haunted-house rollercoaster ride while someone plays the violin. Even Servant of the Bones wasn't that bad, and that book was a swimming pool of crap.

For me, novel writing is a virtuoso performance. It is not a collaborative art.

  1. "Virtuoso" is not the same thing as "solo," lady. It merely means that a person is incredibly talented at something.
  2. Additionally, virtuosos DID take outside input, you know.
  3. And for someone who presents herself as an Expert on the Arts, you should know that.
  4. Also, editorial involvement is NOT the same thing as collaboration. Again, YOU SHOULD KNOW THAT. Any author should! If you are an author, you should know the terminology of your profession!
  5. What's the difference? Collaboration is writing WITH someone. Editing is having someone let you know, "This speech sucks," "This chapter is padded to hell," and "this contradicts something you wrote in the previous book."
  6. For example: a good editor could have pointed out how master hacker Lestat somehow LOST all his techno-knowledge by the end of the series, when he can't figure out email. EPIC FAIL.
  7. Also, is it just me, or are the authors most opposed to collaboration and criticism.... usually the batshit insane ones who are convinced that we dumb peons are just too stupid to recognize their genius? Add Anne Rice to the hall of shame!

Back to the novel itself: the character who tells the tale is my Lestat.

... as opposed to someone else's Lestat?

I was with him more closely than I have ever been in this novel; his voice was as powerful for me as I've ever heard it.

Considering that Blood Canticle really, really sucked, that is not a great argument for letting your Stu take the wheel.

I experienced break through after break through as I walked with him, moved with him, saw through his eyes.

... which sounds suspiciously similar to what Laurell "I buy my characters presents" Hamilton does.

What I ask of Lestat, Lestat unfailingly gives.

"Especially if I ask for underwear, kittens, or DVDs."

For me, three hunting scenes, two which take place in hotels -- the lone woman waiting for the hit man, the slaughter at the pimp's party -- and the late night foray into the slums --stand with any similar scenes in all of the chronicles. They can be read aloud without a single hitch. Every word is in perfect place.

Here are some quotes from those hunting scenes:

  • Drug slobs. All of them drug slobs.
  • "Let's rock, baby."
  • "Stick to the pelvic moves, fancy man."
  • Oh, baby, you're no liar, don't expect me to give a hoot about the things I've done, never, how could I, I'm not God, honey bunch, well, then, who, the Devil, oh, sweet, I told you, didn't I, I don't believe in you, I hate you, keep it going, I am, I am, as much as I can bother to despise anyone, I love this!
  • Take me, Oh Twinkling Downtown Lights, Take me!

Yes, clearly none of those lines could have been improved. They're PERFECT. Like Edward Cullen.

The short chapter in which Lestat describes his love for Rowan Mayfair was for me a totally realized poem.

Yeah, and it would have worked wonderfully IF LESTAT EVEN KNEW HER. The biggest problem with this is that she depicts Lestat as having real and "true" love for a woman he's exchanged maybe five lines with, after pulling the "I can tell she's a smart deep awesome wonderful person JUST BY LOOKING AT HER FACE!"

Seriously, that is Twilight-level romance. And it sucks. Especially when you consider that ROWAN MAYFAIR IS RICE'S SUE!  You can write the most beautiful prose in the world about someone's love, but it doesn't mean a thing if the only emotion behind it is "duuuuurrrrrr she's hawt!"

You don't get all this? Fine.

We GET it. We just don't like it. There's a difference.

But I experienced an intimacy with the character in those scenes that shattered all prior restraints,

Which should terrify us all, since she's been known to write "letters" from Lestat to people she hates.

Also, good for you if you felt close to your main character during the writing of this book. But guess what! You're SELLING the damn book. In that sort of arrangement, you're supposed to think about what is satisfying for the READER, not just yourself.

But who am I kidding? This is the woman who wrote the entire Violin novel to exorcise her creepy-as-fuck issues with art, her husband, her daughter, her alcoholic mother, and every other thing under the sun. It reads like a drunk person wrote it.

and when one is writing one does have to continuously and courageously fight a destructive tendency to inhibition and restraint. Getting really close to the subject matter is the achievement of only great art.

Just read those words a few times.

  1. So apparently inhibition and restraint are not only BAD in Riceworld, but DESTRUCTIVE.
  2. It destroys your great art to not splatter your every crazy impulse, thought and desire all over your book. If you hold back anything that might piss off, gross out, annoy or bore your readers, then you are DESTROYING GREAT ART! If you give any thought to your readers instead of just spraying the crazy around, you are
  3. That same attitude, I might add, is what gave us such classic scenes in other fiction as Bella's Alien uterus-chewing birth scene or Anita Blake banging high schoolers.

Okay, sarcasm over.

This is just a WRONG attitude from an artist. Yes, it's necessary to really immerse yourself in what you write, and to have a lot of passion for it. If an author doesn't have passion for the story they're telling, it probably won't transfer to the reader. This applies to a lot of art throughout history.

Here's the problem: DISCIPLINE is necessary in any art form. You need to have inhibition and restraint in ANY art you do, just so you don't bore the freakin' pants off your audience. For example, the shittastic direction Michael Bay got rid of HIS inhibition and restraint in the making of Transformers 2. To say it was not "great art" was an understatement.

In fact, if Michael Bay flung away all restraint and inhibition, all his movies would be nothing but explosions and naked writhing women - not great art.

Does this woman SERIOUSLY think that abandoning inhibition and restraint in your stories immediately makes them "great art"? Because I could show her a lot of people who didn't use enough inhibition and restraint in their work, and turned out massive piles of steaming crap - Breaking Dawn, Danse Macabre, Batman and Robin, Birdemic, Battlefield Earth, and other legendary turdpiles. You can find Anne Rice's definition of "great art" on any number of fanfiction sites where overheated teenagers spew their Sue fantasies into prose just the way she suggests.

Great art requires talent, depth AND discipline as well as passion and a willingness to really delve into stuff. And more than that, it requires an awareness of who it's aimed at - I mean, when Michaelangelo made the Sistine Chapel, he didn't depict Noah as wearing a "Kiss The Cook" apron or Adam as having a cockroach head.

In short, if you're too great an Artiste to bother writing for your audience, then you're too great an Artiste to get money for your "great art."

Now, if it doesn't appeal to you, fine. You don't enjoy it? Read somebody else.

You stupid poopie-heads! You suck! Get lost and read something else! Something for STUPID people who don't like Great Art because they're STUPID!

Seriously, even LKH PRETENDED to be humble when she told "negative readers" to ditch her books. Rice is just flat out telling people to get lost.

But your stupid arrogant assumptions about me and what I am doing are slander.

  1. That's libel, not slander. It's all written down, not broadcast or spoken. Or she could use the blanket term: "defamation."
  2. An author should know the difference.
  3. Additionally, any form of defamation has to be proven to be a LIE. Assumptions are not lies, nor are purely subjective viewpoints.
  4. Also, what are these assumptions she's talking about? The assumption that she's tired of the Chronicles and wanted to wrap it up hastily? Well, she herself says "thank God" about finishing them later on. That Lestat was used as a sock puppet? Lady, that da troof. That the Chronicles are a cash cow? That's opinion.
  5. In fact, I'm glancing over the reviews on amazon, and they're remarkably forgiving of the author. They rip the book to shreds, but they hold Rice responsible for no more or less than HER OWN WORDS, including this infamous rant.
  6. The only vaguely personal "assumptions" about Rice that I've seen are that the book suffered because during its writing, Rice's husband was dying of cancer.
  7. In fact, a recurring pattern in these book reviews on amazon is that they are disgusted by the book because they expected better of Rice, and they WANTED her to do better. They loved the characters, especially Lestat, and are grieved that they are not up to snuff.

And you have used this site as if it were a public urinal to publish falsehood and lies.

Falsehood and lies are the same thing, o author who needs no editor.

And what are these lies she keeps whining about? I get the feeling there aren't any, since she won't specify any. But she won't get any sympathy if she complains about "mean opinions from poopie-heads!"

but for what it's worth, be assured of the utter contempt I feel for you,

So she's taking the graceful approach, huh? Lady, none of the "negative readers" will be ashamed of themselves if you say that to them. In fact, it will make them MORE determined to say what they they think, and now they won't feel at all bad about it.

especially those of you who post anonymously (and perhaps repeatedly?)

... and proving that Anne Rice doesn't understand how amazon works. You are not PERMITTED to post repeatedly.

Also, how does anonymous posting make them worthy of contempt? Just because they're anonymous doesn't mean their comments are wrong or untrue.

and how glad I am that this book is the last one in a series that has invited your hateful and ugly responses.

Um... again, people loved most of the previous books. If the series had only invited "hateful and ugly responses," then it wouldn't have spawned one bestseller after another.

What they DIDN'T love was Blood Canticle, for the simple reason that it basically seemed like fanfiction. I mean, Lestat acting like a teen? Falling for Rowan? Going on a secret mission to find a Taltos colony? That DOES sound like fanfic.

Lestat's wanting to be a saint is a vision larded through and through with his characteristic vanity. It connects perfectly with his earlier ambitions to be an actor in Paris, a rock star in the modern age.

So what you're saying is that he's a massive attention whore, and fantasizes about literally any occupation or status that allows him to be adored.

In his conversation with the Pope he makes observations on the times which are in continuity with his observations on the late twentieth century in The Vampire Lestat, and in continuity with Marius' observations in that book and later in Queen of the Damned.

Whether they are or not, it doesn't change the fact that the saint fantasy comes out of ABSOLUTELY NOWHERE. At the end of Blackwood Farm, he's just sort of meandering around helping out the Blackwood kid and turning Mona into a vampire. Then immediately after, he's obsessed with the Pope, Juan Diego and being revered as a saint. YOU CAN'T JUST PULL THAT OUT OF YOUR ASS WITH NO FORESHADOWING.

Also, nobody cares if the OBSERVATIONS are in continuity if it's just a sockpuppet scene. It wasn't about "observations," but Ms. Rice voicing her own opinions.

So, Ms. Rice, please stop pretending that Lestat speaks independently of you. It's creepy.

The state of the world has always been an important theme in the chronicles.

Which is why at least 75% of it takes place in the distant past.

Lestat's comments matter.

Especially his thoughts on video games! THEY'RE DEEP! THEY MATTER, DAMN YOU!

Every word he speaks is part of the achievement of this book.

"I hear Hell's Bells calling me. It's time to boogie!"
- end of Chapter 1

Truly brilliant. I am swept away. If he hadn't said that, the book would have simply not worked.

That Lestat renounced this saintly ambition within a matter of pages is plain enough for you to see.

Yeah, but that doesn't mean that it's not shoehorned in, or that it doesn't suck all momentum out of the beginning of the story.

And no, that is not the end of the matter. He's still talking about Saint Lestat in the VERY LAST CHAPTER. On the last PAGE he says, "I wanna be a saint, I wanna save souls by the millions, I wanna look like an angel, but I don't wanna talk like a gangster, I don't want to do bad things even to bad guys, I wanna be Saint Juan Diego. . . ."

Nuff zed.

That he reverts to his old self is obvious,

Uh, no, he isn't reverting to his old self if he's still fantasizing in the last chapter.

... why do I have to tell the AUTHOR this?!

There is also the theme of the snare of Blackwood Farm, the place where a human existence becomes so beguiling that Lestat relinquishes his power as if to a spell.

It also has a lot of termites, and the windows on the west side leak during thunderstorms.

The entire relationship between Lestat and Uncle Julien is carefully worked out.

... and by "carefully worked out," I mean it has nothing to do with ANYTHING.

But I leave it to readers to discover how this complex and intricate novel establishes itself within a unique, if not unrivalled series of book.

  1. A series of BOOK? That's why people have editors, lady.
  2. Complex and intricate are synonyms. Again, editor wanted.
  3. Also, it boggles my mind that she claims her novels are "unrivaled." Are they good? Most of them, yes. Are they THE BESTEST EVER in literary history? HELL NO.

There are things to be said.

Things like "woozle," "pudding," "polka" and "asparagus."

And there is pleasure to be had.

... from other authors, apparently.

And readers will say wonderful things about Blood Canticle and they already are.

Things like, "the paper was so even!", "the binding didn't break!" and "the cover was pretty!" HA! That shows you!

There are readers out there and plenty of them who cherish the individuality of each of the chronicles which you so flippantly condemn.

Of course, many of them would cherish a book that is nothing but Anne Rice blowing her nose on each individual page.

They can and do talk circles around you.

Not if is any sampling. Aside from the raving loon who claims they pray to Anne Rice, there are pretentious morons who claim that their heritage makes them the final word on literary criticism, creepy rambling odes that claim her books are underpriced, and a bunch of alleged "reviewers" who are just there to screech at anyone who criticizes anything Rice puts out. Most of the reviews aren't actual reviews, but fanwanking.


Here's an example of those fans who "talk circles around me": u guys have your own opisnions,but you should keep those biased opinions to yourselves,because she does not deserve your crap,she is still the one of the greatest writers of our time id like to see you guys top that...........

Even some of the five star reviews on amazon admit that this wasn't her best work.

So yeah, clearly there is great intellectual superiority over people like me who tak reel gud.

And I am warmed by their response. Their letters, the papers they write in school, our face to face exchanges on the road -- these things sustain me when I read the utter trash that you post.

My obsessive, sometimes insane fans who will gobble up whatever shit I produce sustain me in the face of... LITERARY CRITICISM! BACK! Back, foul things who dare to judge a book on its own merits!

If this reaches one reader who is curious about my work and shocked by the ugly reviews here, I've served my goals.

That's the exact opposite of what happened.

Instead, her egotistical, whiny rant became a laughingstock across the Internet, and several amazon reviewers poked holes in her arguments. Instead of "shocking" prospective readers with the "ugly reviews," they regarded it as a pampered's author's tantrum, and were more likely to check out the negative reviews... and discover that they are completely valid.

Here's a hint: readers on the Internet don't like it when authors insult them. They don't like being called stupid merely because they dared to offer an opinion that hadn't been bought by a book company. They don't like people taking criticism with ill grace. And unlike back in the 80s and 90s when Rice's career was at its peak, now we have the means to spread word of authorial madness until it reaches meme status.

And it can never be forgotten. :D Congratulations, Anne Rice. You have joined LKH's crazy train of ungrateful, egotistical bitchery.

And the sad thing is, she doesn't really get this, even now. Over a decade later, and she's still prowling Amazon and granting interviews where she whines incessantly about the "bullies" on amazon who refuse to agree with her and leave negative reviews for things they didn't like.

And Yo, you dude, the slang police! Lestat talks like I do. He always has and he always will.

... and that's part of what bothers us. Anne, you were 61 when this book came out (according to wiki, which admittedly is not the best source). Nobody wants to hear someone old enough to be their grandma saying "Yo, dude." It's embarrassing.

And like Lestat's fantasies of sainthood, this came out of nowhere. There wasn't really any slang in Blackwood Farm. It feels like he's having a midlife crisis...

You really wouldn't much like being around either one of us.

No, I probably wouldn't. I definitely wouldn't if this rant was any indication.

And you don't have to be.

Nope, I don't. I shall instead spend my money on Jim Butcher books. He may not write "unrivaled" works of "great art," but he's a very good author who doesn't regard honest, disappointed fans as lying slandering idiots.

If any of you want to say anything about all this by all means Email me at

"I will spare a whole millisecond of my day to delete your message."

And if you want your money back for the book, send it to 1239 First Street, New Orleans, La, 70130. I'm not a coward about my real name or where I live.

... except that it was around this time that she moved away from New Orleans. I've also heard that she arranged to have no packages delivered - some poor schmuck tried to return the book, and got it back unopened, unrefunded, and with "Return to Sender" stamped on it.

... so yeah, she's just putting up a front.

And yes, the Chronicles are no more! Thank God!

One thing I can definitely agree with her on, if those last few books were any indication. Sadly, she later brought the series back, once the vampire craze had died down... and a whole new kind of WTFery with it.

Honestly, this whole rant is... pretty amazing. It's an example of how fame, money and flattery can go to a person's head and turn them into a pretentious asshat who screams abuse at anyone who criticizes their work. Rice sounds more like a 13-year-old fanfic writer who writes gothy Sues than a bestselling author who's been around for over thirty years.

And yes, this is actually WORSE than Dear Negative Reader. God have mercy, it is. Farewell!

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