Somehow my brain led me from Flowers in the Attic to a slightly higher quality of incestuous gothic horror trash I read at a young age, The Witching Hour.
Anne Rice. I know. I actually stopped reading her regularly ages ago, sometime around the time they stopped editing her. Or a little past, because I made it to Memnoch the Devil, aka the book where Lestat was tempted by Lucifer and met Jesus. Because he’s JUST THAT SPECIAL, guys. Not only did the queen of the vampires want him, but THE ACTUAL DEVIL. Let’s go meet Jesus! Sporfle.
I was, like, 16 at the time, but I was having none of that shit. And I realized somewhere in Tales of the Body Thief, a book that probably should have been a short story, that I actually kind of hate Lestat. Trainwreck syndrome, it’s a curse.
But, The Witching Hour. It’s perhaps my favorite of the two Anne Rice novels I like enough to reread. It’s crazy and atmospheric and the best part is the history of the family in the middle of it all, the Mayfairs. The book is maybe 75% history and exposition and basically a dude reading a file, but it’s really wonderful. Rice did (does?) this sort of thing a lot (my #2 is Queen of the Damned, mainly for the vampire origin) but never as well as she did it here, and I eat it up with a spoon.
(Also, I totally forgot there’s a character in it named Stuart Townsend, which is hilarious because, well.)
There are sequels, but they’re pretty awful and I can’t recommend them. Though I admit it: I’m reading Lasher now. I know better, I know! But I still had it laying around for some reason, so I am.
But The Witching Hour… Oh, man. I wish she’d done more like this.
Also, I’m pretty sure this book will be the reason I finally watch a season of American Horror Story. Witches! New Orleans! I can’t resist. Damn it, Anne Rice.