Anne Rice was a popular American author that is famous for her tales of modern gothic fiction.
During her years as an author, she was very prolific and is probably best known for her vampire series, The Vampire Chronicles, which consists of 13 books.
She is also the author behind the popular Mayfair Witches and Ramses the Damned series.
With so many successful and genre-defining books to her name, choosing the best Anne Rice books to read can be a difficult task.
Although there are many standalone novels in her bibliography, so many novels are part of a series and need to be read in order.
If you’re looking to read some Anne Rice but don’t know where to start, then this article is for you. I’ve picked the 12 best Anne Rice books that you must read.
Interview With The Vampire
Arguably Anne Rice’s most famous book, this is the one that kickstarted the long-running Vampire Chronicles series and reinvented vampires for a new generation.
There are 17 books in the Vampire Chronicles series and this is the book to start with.
The title is completely literal as the book sees the vampire Louis de Pointe du Lac recall his life story for a human interviewer, Daniel.
Louis is over 200 years old and he tells Daniel about the most important events of his long life.
The majority of them revolve around the enigmatic Lestat de Lioncourt, a vampire and Louis’ sire.
Unlike Lestat who takes great pleasure in his life as a vampire, Louis struggles with the need for human blood.
This leads to many clashes between the two vampires and the eventual addition to their odd family of Claudia, a five-year-old girl that is turned into a vampire.
The book is equal parts dark and romantic and makes the vampires of the story into alluring monsters.
- Interesting cast of characters.
- Reinvented the idea of vampires.
- Louis can be an occasionally dull narrator.
The Vampire Lestat
This is the second novel in The Vampire Chronicles series and for many readers, it is the best of them all.
Lestat de Lioncourt was introduced in Interview With the Vampire through the eyes of Louis as an antagonist and cruel master, but in The Vampire Lestat, Lestat takes center stage and leads the reader through his life in his own words.
Lestat began his life as an aristocrat in pre-revolutionary France and has many tales to tell of the centuries of his life.
Many of the vampires that were introduced in Interview WIth the Vampire have their stories fleshed out and it is fascinating to see Lestat move through the times while also remaining outside of ordinary human life.
The Vampire Lestat also shines a light on vampire society as a whole and gives a fascinating explanation of how vampires came to exist.
Rice creates a rich vampiric world that is told through the eyes of Lestat and the other vampires he meets.
- Lestat is a fascinating and complex character.
- Delves into vampire lore and history.
- Lacking an overarching plot as it is just events from Lestat’s life.
Queen Of The Damned
This is the third book in The Vampire Chronicles series and relies heavily on the reader having read both Interview With the Vampire and The Vampire Lestat as it picks up where the latter book left off.
Unlike the previous books in the series, there is no single character that is the main focus of the story. Instead, it jumps around several different characters to tell a complex story.
The titular Queen of the Damned is Akasha, the mother of all vampires.
After a sleep lasting six thousand years, Akasha awakes and wants to take Lestat for her own, putting the entire world of both vampires and humans at risk.
Rice weaves an elaborate story that takes place across the globe and across several different periods of time until it all comes together in a satisfying conclusion.
- The different plotlines are well-worked.
- A great variety of characters.
- The use of multiple POV characters can be jarring.
The Witching Hour
From vampires to witches! The Witching Hour is the first book in the Lives of Mayfair Witches trilogy and is the starting point for this story.
If you decide to read The Vampire Chronicles and make it to some of the later books in the series, you will see that some characters from this trilogy appear.
Rowan Mayfair is a skilled practitioner of neurosurgery and she is also part of a family line of powerful witches.
When she saves Michael Curry from drowning, the experience not only grants him extrasensory powers but leads to the pair falling in love.
Curry is able to see Lasher, a demonic spirit that has haunted the Mayfairs since Suzanne of the Mayfair summoned Lasher in the seventeenth century.
It’s Lasher that is responsible for the prosperity of the Mayfairs in the centuries that followed but the demon has its own motives, something Rowan will soon find out.
Despite the supernatural and fantastical setting, the Mayfair family is easy to relate to and has many of the same problems and issues that any regular family does.
Rice builds the horror of Lasher throughout the book and raises the stakes until the climactic ending.
- Full of fascinating detail.
- Beautiful descriptions of New Orleans.
- The slow pace at the beginning of the book can be difficult to get through.
This is the second book in the Mayfair Witches trilogy and follows the story that began in The
Witching Hour, so make sure that you have read that book before tackling this one.
Rowan Mayfair has disappeared and Michael Curry has no idea where she is.
After a battle with depression and a short relationship with Mona Mayfair, Michael dedicates himself to finding Rowan as he is convinced she didn’t leave of her own volition.
At the same time, Rowan is traveling through Europe with the reborn Lasher and is in contact with colleagues back in the States as they try to discover more information about Lasher.
The demon has used the Mayfair family for years to try and become reborn and strong and Lasher’s plans still haven’t been fully realized.
- Great insight into all of the characters, including Lasher.
- Intense storytelling.
- Some of the book content might offend.
The final book in the Mayfair Witches trilogy, Taltos finishes the story that started in The Witching Hour and continued in Lasher.
When Rowan hears that an old family friend has died, she blames the Talamasca and travels to London to learn more about his death and punish those that are responsible.
While there, she meets the Taltos Ashlar, who also has his own reasons for wanting revenge against the Talamasca.
At the same time, the Talamasca has its own plans for Ashlar and another Taltos it managed to find.
These plans are buried beneath a layer of conspiracy that results in several Talamasca members losing their lives. Will the plans of the Talamasca come to fruition?
Taltos brings together the plot lines of the previous two books and explains the background that has previously been missing.
It wraps up the story while leaving the reader wondering what might happen next.
- Good character development and voices.
- Gives many answers to questions left unanswered by the previous books.
- Less emphasis on the witches makes the book suffer a little.
The Mummy Or Ramses The Damned
Like The Witching Hour, this is another book that starts a brand new trilogy. In this case, however, the backdrop is ancient Egypt as the main character is a resurrected mummy.
In the early 19th century, an Egyptian tomb was discovered that claims to house the body of the pharaoh Ramses II.
The archaeologist that discovers the tomb doubts this claim, but he falls dead before he is able to finish his research.
Instead, the mummy was sent to London where it is held by the British Museum.
Decades later, the archaeologist’s daughter and heir to his belongings, Julie, regains custody of the sarcophagus and it is placed in her house.
Unbeknownst to Julie, the mummy isn’t your average mummy and he soon awakens where he takes on a new life in Edwardian London as Dr. Ramsey.
He begins a relationship with Julie but cannot forget the life he once led in Egypt.
Eventually, Dr. Ramsey’s two lives start to interact in ways that could threaten both him and Julie.
The Mummy or Ramses the Damned is a work of horror that also relies heavily on romance.
The relationship between Dr. Ramsey and Julie is at the heart of the book and it is Ramsey’s desire for love and companionship that drives much of the plot.
There are two novels that act as sequels to this book. Both of them were written by Anne and her son, Christopher Rice.
- Rich descriptions of the time period.
- Dr. Ramsey is a well-developed character.
- The female protagonist is a little weak.
Although set in the same world as The Vampire Chronicles, this book can be read without reading that series.
Pandora is mentioned in The Vampire Chronicles and some characters from that series do appear in this, but the story still largely stands on its own.
Pandora is a two-thousand-year-old vampire who has lived a long and vivid life.
he is convinced by fledgling vampire David Talbot to recall the events of her life and this is where the book begins.
Her life story begins in Imperial Rome and flows through France and New Orleans.
She speaks of her relationship with her vampiric sire Marius and explains the complicated events and feelings of their time together.
Pandora allows the reader to see the world through the eyes of an ancient and wise vampire.
It is at times part historical fiction as there are vivid descriptions of life under the rule of Caesar Augustus.
It’s also a story of friendships and a desire for life in an ever-changing world.
- Well-researched and well-written chapters set in Imperial Rome.
- Skilled character study of a millennia-old vampire.
- Slow-paced and without much action.
Servant Of The Bones
This is a true standalone novel that has no ties to any of Anne Rice’s other works.
It’s a novel of horror and historical fiction and like many of Rice’s works, tells the life story of the central character.
In the case of Servant of the Bones, the protagonist is Azriel, a spirit that is a mix of an angel, demon, genie, and ghost.
Azriel was born an ordinary mortal man in Babylon but was transformed into an immortal genii that has to serve and obey his Master.
Through the course of the book, he recalls his life from his mortal days in Ancient Babylon, through centuries of development in Europe, and to the modern day in Manhattan.
Azriel is trying to understand his place in the world and why he has been called to the modern world once more.
When a young woman dies before his eyes, he is determined to discover the reasons behind her murder.
- Full of fascinating history that is richly described.
- Includes many relevant themes.
- Much of the book is Azriel’s life story and has no distinct plot.
Cry To Heaven
My next choice for the best Anne Rice books is another standalone novel.
It sees Rice dip into historical fiction once again to tell a coming-of-age story that follows the two protagonists from their childhood through their adult years.
The book is set in 18th-century Italy and follows two characters. The first is Guido Maffeo, a peasant boy who is castrated at the age of six years old.
The second is Tonio Treschi, the son of a nobleman.
Guido’s beautiful soprano voice sees him become a star at the opera but like many castrati, he loses his voice during his late teens and is sent to Naples to become a music teacher.
A complicated and unexpected family revelation leads to Tonio being castrated as a young man and also sent to Naples, where he meets Gudio and studies with him.
Tonio struggles to accept his life as castrati, despite his musical talents. Instead, he becomes fixated on revenge against the man who ordered his castration.
- An interesting look into the world of the castrato.
- Immersive world-building.
- The main characters can be difficult to relate to.
The Wolf Gift
The Wolf Gift is the first of two books in the Wolf Gift Chronicles.
It’s more of a traditional gothic horror than the last couple of books I included on this list and delves into the classic horror monster of the werewolf.
The protagonist of the book is a young reporter named Reuben Golding who is sent to a secluded mansion to complete an assignment.
While there, he meets the owner of the house but their night together turns to horror when Reuben is bitten by a mysterious beast.
Now a werewolf, Reuben must contend with the transformations that run through his body.
It also raises even more questions about his place in the world, his nature, and whether there are more people out there that also share the wolf gift.
- Interesting take on werewolves that is different from the norm.
- Good character development.
- Some of the plot points are contrived and too easy.
The Feast Of All Saints
For my final choice of the best Anne Rice books, I’ve chosen another standalone novel.
It sees Rice go back to both New Orleans and historical fiction as she focuses on the Free People of Color that were not enslaved during the years when slavery was still legal in the United States.
The book is set in the immediate period before the Civil War and focuses on the lives of four different Free People of Color.
Of the four, the main protagonist is Marcel, a young man with a Black mother and a white father.
Marcel is sent to live with his aunt where he learns the true circumstances around the relationship between his mother and father.
When Marcel’s father dies, all of the plans for Marcel and his sister Marie are changed.
Marie’s impending marriage is canceled and a series of horrific events and quests for revenge begin to unfold.
This book was adapted as a Showtime movie and deals with several heavy issues such as racism and misogyny. It is a reflection of the time period that drives the story.
- Detailed insight into the Free People of Color.
- An interesting and weighty coming-of-age tale.
- Slow build during the first half of the book.
Before you choose the best Anne Rice book for you, you should take the following points into consideration.
Series Or Standalone
Many of Anne Rice’s best books are part of long-running series.
These books usually build upon the events of the previous books and reading them out of order can be confusing and will spoil the previous books if you choose to go back to them.
For this reason, I would recommend choosing books that are either first in their series or are standalone stories.
Although The Vampire Lestat is one of Anne Rice’s best books, it will have less impact if you haven’t read Interview With the Vampire first, for example.
There are several standalone novels in this list, such as Servant of the Bones.
The vast majority of Anne Rice’s bibliography can be classed as gothic fiction or horror.
They deal with different supernatural characters in ways that are dark and romantic in equal measure.
However, not every book is for every reader and the best book for you will depend on what type of supernatural character you prefer.
For vampires, try the books in The Vampire Chronicles, whereas witches take the stage in the Mayfair Witches series.
Mummies and Ancient Egyptian legends take the center stage in The Mummy or Ramses the Damned.
Other books such as The Feast of All Saints are historical fiction instead. Choose a book that suits the genre and characters that you prefer.
In this article, we introduced the xx best Anne Rice books that you must read.
During her career as an author, Anne Rice wrote a large number of books and most of them were in the gothic fiction and horror genre.
She is most famous for writing The Vampire Chronicles, a series of books about vampires that has been adapted into both movies and television.
There are several other amazing choices in Rice’s bibliography, including the immensely successful Mayfair Witches series.
Whether you are looking for a long series of books to lose yourself in or a standalone novel that will keep you enthralled, there is something for you in Anne Rice’s works.
In these 12 books, we’ve picked only a sample of Rice’s books. If you enjoy the books on this list, you will find there are still many more left to read!
Frequently Asked Questions
Let’s answer a few of the most common questions about Anne Rice.
How Many Of Anne Rice’s Books Have Been Adapted To Live Action?
If some of the titles in this list sound familiar, it may be because you’ve seen some of the many adaptations of Anne Rice’s works.
Books such as Interview With the Vampire, Queen of the Damned, Exit to Eden, and The Mayfair Witches have all been adapted.
What Other Names Has Anne Rice Written Under?
Anne Rice wrote two books under the pseudonym Anne Rampling, which are Exit to Eden and Belinda.
She also wrote The Sleeping Beauty Quartet as A. N. Roquelaure.
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