Prince Lestat and the Realms of Atlantis marks a greater departure for the Vampire Chronicles than its predecessor. It fits less with Dracula than it does Madeline L’Engle, calling forth memories of A Wrinkle in Time, though it is not as well-executed.
Another non-human, immortal being has been discovered by the vampires, creatures from the far-off world of Brevenna. These Replimoids hold the secret of the tormented spirit Amel, who infected Akasha and made her the first vampire. After freeing one of the Replimoids from the cruel Rhoshamondes, Lestat presses them for knowledge, learning their whole tale in the process. Their story is both fascinating and too much–the vampires lose much of their mystery with the book’s revelations.
Longtime fans of the series may struggle with this installment–not only is the book much less dark than previous ones, the genre has changed from Gothic horror to science fiction. Realms of Atlantis focuses on technology and gives a semi-scientific explanation for the vampires, reminiscent of the Necroscope series and I Am Legend. Rice’s language is repetitive and unpolished, as well as plain compared to her usual passion and sensuality. The story never quite has enough tension. The villains back down easily and are only half-interested in the fight. It’s apparent that the Replimoids would benefit from being friends with the vampires, so their threat is minimal. The book is also too long, consisting mainly of exposition on Amel, the Replimoids, and their early home the lost city of Atlantis.
That being said, the story is unique and intriguing enough to be worth a read. It also contains one of Rice’s most disturbing scenes. However, if you’re looking for transgression, darkness, and dread, skip this book as well as the previous as they could very well constitute their own series.