This review is spoiler-free.
In 2003, Publisher's Weekly called Blood Canticle a novel that was "either a befitting end or a new beginning" for The Vampire Chronicles, and Anne Rice as its Queen. Now, here we are, more than a decade later, marveling over that new beginning—a triumphant return to "The Devil's Road"—Prince Lestat.
Not since The Queen of the Damned (1988) has there been such an undertaking in the Chronicles; new faces and stories very quickly endear themselves to the reader by virtue of an immediate and rich sense of familiarity, while long-mysterious minor characters (e.g., Interview With the Vampire's "musician") are finally and fully described in a way that isn't merely faithful to the canon, it enriches it from start to finish. All of this is masterfully tied together not only by an elusive collectively heard "voice", but a passionate, ceaseless, need for vampires around the world to congregate, share, learn, and, above all else, survive.
While this is not a novel without great loss, its broad spanning themes of change, renewal, refocus, honor, and unity are what truly prevail—and linger on—after the final page is read. For every vampire in the Chronicles, and every reader who can't help but follow their exploits across time and around the world, we have in this book a brand new series of adventures—ultimately embracing light, knowledge, and progress, instead of so much darkness, death, and hell. And as Rice has promised her fans at least one more novel (tentatively titled Blood Paradise), this new beginning is nowhere near the end.
Long live the Prince.