Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles have enthralled readers for generations. From the initial publication of Interview with the Vampire in 1976 to the Fall 2014 publication of Prince Lestat, vampire and horror aficionados have eagerly devoured Rice’s tales of the beautiful damned. Now, one of Rice’s most intriguing characters speaks with her own voice for the first time: pampered child vampire Claudia, a seductive vixen in a doll’s body and would-be patricide. Her story has been told before—both Louis and Lestat have shared their versions of the tale—but now Claudia tells her own story. While devotees of the Vampire Chronicles will recognize the characters and events as the story unfolds, the unholy family is seen as never before as the doomed child vampire seeks meaning in a world which has no place for her among the living or the dead. “I have no human nature,” the desolate Claudia cries to Louis; she is that which should have never been, and Claudia’s Story captures both the heartbreaking struggle of the lost child’s search for belonging and the vengeful woman’s dreams of conquest and triumph.
Ashley Marie Witter rises to the challenge of translating Anne Rice’s rich and seductive vampire world into a graphic format, and she does so brilliantly. The sepia tones of historic photographs dominate the art and its only colors are the deep, vibrant reds of blood and the fiery orange of flames. The art is lush with detail; Claudia’s elaborate costume dress, the drama of New Orleans architecture, and the Gothic monstrosity of Paris and its Theatre des Vampires come vividly to life, drawing the reader into Claudia’s tormented existence. The characters, too, are exquisitely captured: Lestat’s predatory arrogance, Louis’s passive gentleness and gentility, Armand’s powerful seductiveness, and Claudia’s dark maturation. Even as her body remains childishly tiny, the passage of years is seen in her expressions and her eyes as she ages from pampered child princess to vampire seductress, forever trapped in a body that binds her powers.
Yen Press has rated Claudia’s Story for older teens. Readers unfamiliar with Interview with the Vampire may be surprised or disturbed by the implied sexuality of the relationship between the adult Louis and the child-like Claudia, even though the power in the relationship is clearly hers. Also of note is a brief glimpse of a nude female victim of the Theatre des Vampires, as well as the casual violence of vampire feedings.
Readers of the Vampire Chronicles should embrace this new chance to revisit their beloved characters, while readers unfamiliar with Rice’s masterful mythos will find Claudia’s Story a brilliant entry point for its lush and seductive world.
Interview with the Vampire: Claudia’s Story
by Anne Rice
Art by Ashley Marie Witter
Yen Press, 2012
Publisher Age Rating: Older Teen