Merrick
by Anne Rice, fantasy (2001)
Ballantine, $7.99, ISBN 0-345-42240-6


What better way to spend Halloween season than to cuddle up with Anne Rice, right? Wrong. Anne Rice's latest money-suck on the unwary public, Merrick is perfect for Halloween only if I want to sleep through the night. This supposedly breathtaking crossover of Ms Rice's The Mayfair Witches saga and her The Vampire Chronicles only succeed in making me swear on the Used Book Shop Charter: Only Under $3.00 Do I Buy. I paid $7.99 for this book, and now there's a big SUCKER shining on my forehead like the neon sign on a Thai nudie sex club.

Most importantly, what happened to the characters of Lestat, Louis, and gang? Lestat is now some omnipotent archvampire, a complete contradiction of the no-bull anarchist in The Vampire Lestat and Queen Of The Damned. My dear Louis, grand and tragic in Interview Of The Vampire but completely obliterated into a whiny, petulant moron in the subsequent books, shows some signs of improving here, but it's not enough for me to get excited over. Worst, the story is told from the point of view of Anne Rice's worst vampire character ever. No, not Armand, but David Talbot, the annoying, whiny, indiscriminate free-loving, toadying Lestat butt-licker.

Merrick here is the rebel Mayfair witch asked by David to help Louis. Apparently, Louis now is haunted by the memories of Claudia (after so many books, now Louis finally remembers her? Did someone say "Plot contrivance"?) and will go mad unless Merrick help him.

I wish the story is as simple as that. But the author pads the story most painfully with David's ramblings, like how David lusts after thirteen-year old flat-chested Merrick, how he loves her when she grows up, how he loves her now, how he loves Louis, how he loves Lestat, how he loves everybody. Anne Rice must have watched too many episodes of Barney the Dinosaur.

All this love and smooches, with or without Merrick's growing breasts, would have been tolerable if there are rhyme and reason to the lovefest. But it's all padding. All Merrick needs to do is to go to Louis, cast the spell, and that's it. All Anne Rice needs to do to prevent being lynched by readers is to pad it with David's indiscriminate freelove - or maybe not, as I'm still mad enough after reading this book.

It's not even love in beautiful, poignant prose. It's all "I love her! How I love her!", in the eloquence of a horny boy discovering the joys of Pamela Anderson Online and his right hand at the same time. This is verbally transmitted diarrhea, David Talbot and Anne Rice style. As I scream in anguish and horror as the entire verbal tsunami crashes over me, I only hope other unwitting readers manage to have a better time than me.

Oh, the pain, the pain!

Rating: 47


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