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Series: Lives of the Mayfair Witches #1
Rating: 2 of 5 stars
On the veranda of a great New Orleans house, now faded, a mute and fragile woman sits rocking. And the witching hour begins…
Demonstrating once again her gift for spellbinding storytelling and the creation of legend, Anne Rice makes real for us a great dynasty of witches – a family given to poetry and incest, to murder and philosophy, a family that over the ages is itself haunted by a powerful, dangerous, and seductive being.
A hypnotic novel of witchcraft and the occult across four centuries, by the spellbinding, bestselling author of The Vampire Chronicles.
So this book’s a weird one.
The paperback format is 1,207 pages, you say? The audiobook version of it read in less than 4 hours. It’s left me feeling a lot like I missed something.
The Witching Hour begins chronicling the life events of Deidre Mayfair through the eyes of a clergyman (whose name I forget). Then it jumps to Michael Curry, a man whose near-death experience endowed him with psychometry (receiving knowledge relevant to an object, or person, through touch), and chronicles his life. Then it jumps to Rowan Mayfair, Deidre’s daughter who was given away at birth, who saved Michael from drowning, who is a doctor. Then it jumps to them making love “over and over again” (in the vein of Wow, that escalated quickly”), and Michael checking out a house in Louisiana, where they both grew up, to investigate a man “all dressed up despite the sweltering heat” who kinda haunts his childhood memories.
Rowan doesn’t go because she’s sworn to herself to never go to Louisiana, “the place of her birth,” so Michael, after falling promptly in love with Rowan after what felt like the first few days of their relationship, goes alone. He sees the man from his childhood, in the same house from his childhood that he used to see the man in. (This man is also present in the life chronicles of Deidre, Rowan’s mother.) Rowan’s mother dies. She high-tails it to Louisiana anyway. Cue first eyeroll.
Michael meets a man from on organization called the Tapestry or something to that effect. He shows Michael a book that chronicles the generations of the Mayfairs all the way back to the fuckin 1660’s or some shit, and then we get the rundown of it all. There’s a demon named Lasher who was summoned by the first Mayfair witch in the book, Susanna (?), who is the fancily dressed man that’s been mentioned before again and again. He’s followed the witches of this family for generations after falling in love with her, dying to become human again, only he can’t, so there’s a lot of visuals of dead men with hardons humping the women (and men) of the Mayfairs.
So Rowan and Michael get together and figure all this shit out (she reads the book, too) and then decide to get married. Everything’s fine and dandy until Lasher latches onto Rowan and convinces her to fuck him. “Hard.” And it’s so stupid because she’s so convinced that she’s gonna be the one to stop this “Devil” and being a “healer, damnit,” and she goes and gets herself involved with him while Michael is away. So when Michael comes back, he tries to help her with her struggle, and she fuckin knocks him out, only to get herself impregnated with Lasher’s weird demon baby that grows in a matter of like seconds/minutes. So Michael assaults the kid that’s really a fully grown man, hating Rowan with damned good reason, but Rowan ends up running away with the kid-thing, having successfully given Lasher the human form he’s been after all these generations.
…That. All that. In less than 4 hours. And the strangest part is that half of that was given to me, as a reader, the same as I have given it to you, reading this review: through pure, unremarkable “telling.” Only a select few scenes in this book were actually, well, written (though I will say this, they were creeeepy).
So maybe this just isn’t the series for me, what with the whole serial-life-chronicling that went on detailing decades of stupid women, but I have been shown that Anne Rice writes some freaky shit, and I’m hopeful I’ll find something of hers that isn’t laughably shortened by its own poor choice of storytelling.