After finishing The Vampire Lestat last month, I eagerly started reading the third book in the series, The Queen of the Damned. And put it down just as quickly as I had picked it up. Where as the entire reason I loved The Vampire Lestat and Interview was the character of Lestat (he has become one of my favorite literary characters), he was really only used for the introduction and conclusion. This book annoyingly switched narrators constantly, rarely staying with my favorite characters for longer than a chapter. I’m a very opinionated reader, and I hate when authors switch narrators so I have to not only read about a character I hate, but I have to hear the story from their point of view!

The Queen of the Damned

This book did have many positive qualities. I enjoyed seeing Lestat a little less arrogant. The story also goes further into the history of vampires than The Vampire Lestat did, which I really enjoyed. The addition of a mortal history was also greatly appreciated. And I especially enjoyed seeing more development in characters only briefly mentioned in the previous two books. Even with the addition of a character I hated, I loved reading about how all the histories of vampires from around the world are tied together by their mysterious origins.

But I just can’t get over how much I hated the queen of the damned herself, Akasha. I thought her idea to save the world was a cheap, poorly developed scheme for someone who had 6,000 years to do nothing but think. Even after her characters was explained, I detested her stubborn ignorance. As a result, I suffered through every chapter about her even though those ones featured my beloved Lestat. As the boy likes to say, I enjoyed the parts of Queen of the Damned that didn’t actually have the queen in them.

Despite my rather unwarranted hatred for the queen, I enjoyed this book. Just not enough to ever need to read it again, or recommend it to people other than as the necessary end to the three-part beginning of The Vampire Chronicles. But I’m glad I finished this book, as it was well worth it once the story was complete.

Because of the minors I have (Political Communication and Sociology), and the interest that lead me to those minors in the first place, I love books about people, their struggles, and how they fit into the large social movement. I especially enjoy studying the lives of women in the early 1900s and their movements to become independent and educated…and in the process get really upset about all the stupid things the larger society did to prevent their freedom from the traditional patriarchal social structure, which is why I was interested in the book Typhoid Mary: An Urban Historical.

Typhoid Mary

Mary Mallon was an Irish immigrant living and working in New York as a cook. She was identified as having typhoid, a deadly and much feared disease with no known cure at that time, and unknowingly infecting the households she worked in. The story is amazing: an Irish immigrant making a life for herself as a strong and independent woman. The life she escaped in Ireland, and the success she had in America is a tribute to her strength and dedication.

The writing in this book, however, does no justice to the subject. I found it to read more like a tabloid story than a well researched, historical account. The tone is very sensationalist, and even sarcastic in parts. The only part of the book I enjoyed was the 4th chapter, “The New Woman.” It explains the reason American society was changing, and how women were able to start the process of becoming independent and step out of their traditional roles of mother and house wife. The reason I liked this chapter is because it relates to another book I’m reading on the subject.

If you like historical, scholarly books, don’t read this. If the story of Mary Mallon is interesting, find other, more serious and credible sources. It’s worth looking into.