Vampire Armand, The

Anne Rice
In the latest installment of The Vampire Chronicles, Anne Rice summons up dazzling worlds to bring us the story of Armand--eternally young, with the face of a Botticelli angel. Armand, who first appeared in all his dark glory more than twenty years ago in the now-classic Interview with the Vampire, the first of The Vampire Chronicles, the novel that established its author worldwide as a magnificent storyteller and creator of magical realms.        Now, we go with Armand across the centuries to the Kiev Rus of his boyhood--a ruined city under Mongol dominion--and to ancient Constantinople, where Tartar raiders sell him into slavery. And in a magnificent palazzo in the Venice of the Renaissance we see him emotionally and intellectually in thrall to the great vampire Marius, who masquerades among humankind as a mysterious, reclusive painter and who will bestow upon Armand the gift of vampiric blood.        As the novel races to its climax, moving through scenes of luxury and elegance, of ambush, fire, and devil worship to nineteenth-century Paris and today's New Orleans, we see its eternally vulnerable and romantic hero forced to choose between his twilight immortality and the salvation of his immortal soul.

Reviews

Reviewed: 2017-08-29
Book Description In the latest installment of The Vampire Chronicles, Anne Rice summons up dazzling worlds to bring us the story of Armand--eternally young, with the face of a Botticelli angel. Armand, who first appeared in all his dark glory more than twenty years ago in the now-classic Interview with the Vampire, the first of The Vampire Chronicles, the novel that established its author worldwide as a magnificent storyteller and creator of magical realms. Now, we go with Armand across the centuries to the Kiev Rus of his boyhood--a ruined city under Mongol dominion--and to ancient Constantinople, where Tartar raiders sell him into slavery. And in a magnificent palazzo in the Venice of the Renaissance we see him emotionally and intellectually in thrall to the great vampire Marius, who masquerades among humankind as a mysterious, reclusive painter and who will bestow upon Armand the gift of vampiric blood. As the novel races to its climax, moving through scenes of luxury and elegance, of ambush, fire, and devil worship to nineteenth-century Paris and today's New Orleans, we see its eternally vulnerable and romantic hero forced to choose between his twilight immortality and the salvation of his immortal soul.
Reviewed: 2015-07-06
On my seventh re-read of this book, I feel like I'm finally ready to say something about it. I went through several reviews and apparently this book either falls between complete love for it or complete contempt for it, and I think this applies to Armand as well.

In my personal experience, every time I pick up this book I find something new and unexpected. Yes, it may be contradictory. Yes, it may be too sexual for some eyes. Yes, it may be a bit blasphemous for some believer. And finally, yes, it may be focused on the religious and prone to digressions on the topic but I honestly think there's a wonderfully simple explanation for all this and it falls on Armand's own character, and a very intriguing and interesting character he is, indeed.

"Let me try, and let him hurt me, and then be satisfied, and turn away." – page 368

Andrei, Amadeo, Armand is simply driven by the martyr complex [and very close to the Borderline Personality Disorder]. Early negative experiences, misconceptions about the nature of self, life in general or others, a constant fear and sense of insecurity, a maladaptive strategy to protect the self, a persona to hide all of the above. For him self-sacrifice and suffering are the only way to achieve something, either action or response from someone, the torture towards others are the demonstrations of the tortures done to him, he obtains pleasure in the moral and physical torments, more towards himself than to others. His suffering makes him proud. That is the basic core of Armand.

"I have so little ability to synthesize knowledge; I deal in the immediate with a cool intensity. What was it like in Paris? Ask me if it rained of the night of Saturday, June 5, 1793. Perhaps I could tell you that." – Queen of the Damned, page 190

He lives in the moment because he is tied to the environmental circumstances that will dictate his suffering and his salvation through suffering. The loss of external structure leads to profound changes in affect, cognition and behavior in him. The emptiness he often feels when he appears to lose all (His mortal world, Marius, The Coven, Louis, Daniel) is just an unstable self-image and that is why every single time this character appears in the Vampire Chronicles, he is different. Every character that describes him in past books has a different approach to him. Everyone sees a different shade of him because he changes with every change in environment and interaction. Even in this book, his autobiography, he is never the same in his real convictions. Defiant pious little Andrei in the Monastery of the Caves, sexual and curious pleasure and pain/love and hate seeker Amadeo in Venice, self-tortured, externally violent and numb Armand in the Paris’ Coven, and utterly lost-and-found Armand in the centuries to come.

It is interesting to note that throughout all of the Vampire Chronicles he is the only one who changes names, and they are always names given to him by others. David may change bodies but stay the English scholar. Lestat may go to Heaven and to Hell but still be the Brat Prince. But Armand is known between them as the Boticelli Angel, the one who is known on the outside but never on the inside completely understood, by himself and by others.

Bound to his mortal youth, self-tortured and driven by martyrdom, he is contradictory out of his own nature. Attached still as every other character in his immortality to his mortal world, a world of denial and absence in the land of his birthplace Russia and a world of possibility and endless abundance of his adopted Venice, the contradiction and duality in personality is forever present. Driven to the extremes as any youth is prone to do: pleasure-pain, passivity-aggressivity, total acceptance-complete defiance, and most importantly and exposed outright in this book, hope-hopelessness.

I could continue talking about Armand’s character and its twists and turns, rise and falls, and yet the picture could never be complete. This book may not be strong in plot development for we see only a further expansion of the stories told in several books past, but this is and will always be my favorite book of the Vampire Chronicles. And I may contradict myself in the future, who knows. For now I know that Armand holds a spell over me as strongly as he did five years ago, when I first read this book, and he will continue to hold it, who knows for how long.
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