TVC: The Style: Queen of the Damned (QoTD)

Clash of Old and New
As mentioned in my previous post on “Queen of the Damned”, what I like most about QoTD is how it alternately hurled us back and forth between the mystical and distant reign of Akasha and the world of the modern vampires.

Through the use of multiple narrative perspectives, the dizzying cacophony of voices that reverberated through the novel lets you peep into the lives and minds of the other vampires in the series. Not only do we revisit old friends, we are also introduced to a whole cast of new characters who each bring their own personality and experiences to fully flesh out the Vampire Chronicles universe. And of course, Rice’s ever-lavish descriptions (e.g. Lestat’s glittering rockstar career, the technology-filled sanctum, which Marius had built to house Akasha and Enkil, etc.) further helped to reinforce this point.

In this ensemble, I have tried to emphasise the novel’s skilfully woven juxtaposition between the past and the present, the old and the new. The simple gold jewellery, almost austere-looking white dress and the sandal-like heels echo the relaxed silhouette of ancient Egypt. On the other hand, the overall minimalism of the outfit, the nearly monochromatic palette, as well as the edgy details (i.e leather, studs, cut-outs) symbolise the glamorous world of rock stars and electric lights.

Queen of the Damned: Clash of Old and New

Feminine Mystique
The main narrator of QoTD, Lestat, is male. Indeed, it seems that most of the vampires that populate the Vampire Chronicles are male. Yet, whilst the Vampire Chronicles series has been criticised for being overly male-centric, in QoTD, at least, the overarching plot is driven by the acts of 3 immensely powerful female vampires.

Akasha presents a fiercely proactive, strangely naïve and brutally straightforward solution to supposedly end all the problems in the world. At the same time, Maharet shows us another way of leading the vampires: caring, wise, logical, and possibly a little too reticent to effectively deal with the tumultuous events that unfolded in QoTD.

Arguably, neither style is perfect and it is only when Mekare combined the traits from both, that the deadlock in the vampires’ council meeting could be resolved. Mekare acted logically and without illusions (insomuch as she could) to bring down Akasha, by sending out streams of telepathic images to communicate her story with vampires all over the world and slowly but surely making her way to the vampire council meeting. Simultaneously, she acted simply but violently to exact her revenge on Akasha.

In this outfit, I have combined elements to represent the two competing ideologies. Akasha’s desire to build a “warrior goddess” cult-like following presumably arose from her queenly status in mortal life, as well as the god-like worship of royalty in Ancient Egyptian culture. This is symbolised by the ornate gold details, and the “hardness” of the materials used. The dominance of the various shades of red (which could represent life, victory, anger and evil in Ancient Egypt, depending on the context), is also apt in describing Akasha’s attitude throughout her campaign.

On the other hand, Maharet’s “Earth Mother” model of leading the vampires seems to be rooted in her spiritual powers as a witch. The use of white (which represented cleanliness and purity) and green (which represented nature, growth and regeneration), as well as the various floral accents, reflects her strong links with the natural world.

Queen of the Damned: Feminine Mystique

Part 1 of my post on the “Queen of the Damned” can be found here: The Book: Queen of the Damned (QoTD).

The first of my series of posts on the Vampire Chronicles novels can be found here: Interview with the Vampire.

TVC: The Book: Queen of the Damned (QoTD)

New year, new look!

To usher in 2015, I decided to revamp this blog, based on the feedback, which I have received from my friends. The main changes include:

1. The blog theme/ background has been changed so that the font and colours are easier on the eye.

2. I will divide the blog contents for each book into 2 blog posts. Posts titled “The Book: (insert book name)” will cover the summary and/ or my opinions on the book, while posts titled “The Style: (insert book name)” will cover the outfits which I have put together based on the themes and characters in the book.

3. I will try to cut back on my coverage of the plots to avoid boring people and/ or accidentally giving away spoilers.

Hopefully the above improvements will provide a more entertaining and user-friendly experience for everyone. Now on to the fun part!

Summary
The first book that I am going to cover for 2015 is “Queen of the Damned”, which is the third novel in Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles series. It is set in the 1980s when Lestat has awoken up from his deep slumber. Carried away by the modern world, Lestat shocks and delights vampires and humans alike by becoming a rock star and telling the world about the origins of the vampires through his memoirs, songs, and music videos.

What he did not count on was how his actions roused Akasha, the titular character and nominal “mother” of the vampires, from HER far longer and deeper slumber. Unfortunately, she arose with a dark and obsessive purpose: to rebuild the world from scratch to create a sort of dark Eden where her chosen vampires will rule the night. Believing that human men are the source of the violence, poverty and generally all that is wrong in the world and that women would be more receptive to her teachings on how to improve the world, she plans to cull their numbers to obtain a world with a heavily skewed gender balance. Akasha also set out to destroy the “rogue” or “trash” vampires who did not fit into her scheme of global domination.

The main plotline of “Queen of the Damned” follows how various vampires, both old and new, came together as a council to find some way to stop Akasha. We also learn about the complete story of the origins of the vampires from the horse’s mouth. Moreover, we are privy to Lestat’s mental torment of simultaneously loving Akasha and being chosen as her King for the new world, versus wanting to stop her from destroying the world that he loves.

Opinions
This is my favourite book in the series, because of the sheer energy and exhilaration of its atmosphere. Not only does the novel tear its way to and fro between the mysticism and bloodshed of ancient Egypt and the chaos and shining lights of the 20th Century, it also lets us in the minds and lives of the “secondary” vampires, who normally don’t get much of a look-in.

I especially liked the chapters depicting the relationship between Daniel and Armand. While it was a surprisingly domestic vignette, centred on human hobbies and acquisitions and revealed much more about them than we have ever known, the almost dark and violent undercurrent throbbing in every interaction between them reminds you that you are fully ensconced in the Vampire Chronicles universe.

Part 2 of my post on the “Queen of the Damned” can be found here: The Book: Queen of the Damned (QoTD).

The first of my series of posts on the Vampire Chronicles novels can be found here: Interview with the Vampire.