The Witching Hour by Anne Rice review

To kick off Horror Book Week, I will start with a novel that was recommended to me by a good friend. We are both huge Stephen King fans, and so I usually heed his advice on books.
He suggested The Witching Hour by Anne Rice.

I was familiar with Anne Rice from her Vampire series spawning multiple movies. Who doesn't remember pasty-faced Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt playing Daddy-Daddy to a weird little 10 year old Vampiress?

Is this from the remake of To Wong Foo? (To Wong Foo Two)

When reading a horror book, I hope to glean the following things:
Gore, suspense, action, tragic hero, decent ending, and more gore.

I knew what to expect when getting into this book. Weighing in at over 1000 pages, I realized that large portions of the book would be dedicated to character development, back-story, and descriptive narratives. Little did I realize that 94% of the book would involve these. Don't get me wrong, Rice is a tremendous author, and can paint a picture around a story like none else. But some of the detail seemed un-necessary, like someone wanting to describe the moss and trees on a Louisiana homestead to a blind person from another dimension. Some things can be described with less verbiage.

The book tracks the genealogy of the Mayfair Witches throughout the past few hundred years. I will admit that the back-story is the most interesting portion of the book. The story that takes place in the "present" is far less entertaining, and very predictable.

Heading towards the end of the book, I would have rated this a strong 3 to 4-star horror book. And then Rice excretes an ending that is truly disappointing.

Stephen King wrote in his Gunslinger series, that the ending of the books were like the "spurt at the end." It's more about the journey than the ending.
If I look through these King-eque colored goggles, than the book was great.

Unfortunately, I left the goggles at home. After 1000 pages of story-line and slow plot development, you would hope that the crescendo of action would climax in a series of twists, turns, and gore. The gore is spot on....but that's about it.
The ending is too quick, and is the equivalent to a "to be continued" on a TV show. It's like she wrote the book as an advertisement for the next installment in this series. (Lasher) I was very disappointed.

I'll put it this way with a series of bad metaphors:

If you enjoy long Sunday drives past the cornfields of Nebraska, followed by a nice cup of coffee, this book will run at your pace.
If you like a 5 hour church service that serves oatmeal at the end, this book will fit your pace.

But if you enjoy a healthy splash of Tabasco sauce in your Chili, this may be a little slow.

This book haunts its way to a 2-star rating. It missed the mark because of its flaws.


MeatWad said...

I'm amazed that your review mentioned nothing of the no-less-than 600 pages of ghost on witch porn that glues this masterpiece together. That was the big surprise of this book in my eyes. Kudos to Anne Rice, BTW. Porn with your gore is like a twofer.

Anonymous said...

I love this book. I re-read it on a trip to New Orleans and used it as a sort of travel guide to visit most of the landmarks mentioned. You can even walk right up to the house on First Street (which, if I'm not mistaken, Ann Rice used to own). She described it to a "T" right down to the wrought iron roses. So cool!

Matt said...

Meatwad--I like to keep those portions of the book for my secret time.

Las Vegas--Your opinion is skewed. You went to NO to see her house, and obviously were a big fan to begin with. If you take a casual fan with no vested interest in Rice or NO....it's a bore.
Now on the other hand----Las Vegas is no bore!!

Lisa C. said...

I am a King and was a Rice fan, and found this book an utter waste of time.. I actually have STOPPED reading Rice... Got tired of the disappointments.. The First two of the Vampire chronicles, and I think The Mummy were her best... Nothing else lived up to those... Some of the others would have come close except for the same sex partnering..

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