5.0 out of 5 stars Faith Restored
For a long time I had almost given up on finding a writer as good as Anne Rice. Setting her work as a standard made the quest for interesting and inspiring literature virtually impossible. Having read everything Rice had written, I floated on a sea of insipid and rather tame books for about a year, until I found this book, and I have to say, it has knocked Anne Rice...
Published on Dec 1 2003 by headfuk
3.0 out of 5 stars Starts out great, but grows tiring...
I love vampire stories! I WAS also one of the "goth" crowd in high school...many yrs ago, before it was labeled such. So when I stumbled upon this book and started reading, I couldn't believe I had somehow missed it when it came out over 10 yrs ago! I was instantly hooked. I consider myself to be an open-minded individual, so the gay tendencies of the characters did...
Published on June 6 2004 by Shannon B. Paul
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4.0 out of 5 stars here's a review, as a means of trying to avoid that tricky analysis of judith butler i have due tomorrow.,
this is one of those books you read in your teens and you just feel like, you know, somebody *gets* it. like, what self-respecting goth kid didn't want to run away from home and somehow magically find a new and better family who actually understood them? come on.
well, i didn't, but i was weird in that i actually liked my family. or maybe my family was weird. who knows.
point being, i freaking love this book. it reminds me of being that sad kid that deep down you never entirely stop being, and you know, i always wanted to be a vampire when i grew up. i find it kind of intriguing that pregnancy becomes a kind of STD, though i find it somewhat irksome that three out of the four female characters we are introduced to (the fourth appearing rather momentarily as a kind of clever but benign grandmother figure) all fall pregnant, and die. i dunno, i guess i would have liked to have seen a bit more female strength and fun subversion of sexuality that we saw the male characters get to experience. but i liked it. a good, fun, sex-and-blood-and-drugs romp.
4.0 out of 5 stars Tired of the lazy minds,
By A Customer
Long have I cherished this book, but it's clear that in her late 30s, Poppy Z. Brite has grown up and is doing more sophisticated work now. Still this is a beautiful document of a moment in time so many of us lived through. However I grow so tired of the lazy minds that insist Lost Souls 'borrows' (to quote another review) from the works of Anne Rice. This is a silly and simpleminded comparison. Other than a New Orleans setting and elements of sexuality, the two writers have nothing in common can I see. I like both. However, Brite has stated many times that she has not read Rice and does not believe her an influence, and it seems rude to basicly call her a liar, which is what you do if you insist on making this comparison.
As well, as much as I enjoy the works of Rice, I feel she stopped growing as a writer. She seems stuck on the same subjects, style, ideas. Granted she is a good 20 or 25 years older than Brite, but I still find more refreshing an author who can go from vampire rhapsodys to restaurant comedys in only 10 years.
3.0 out of 5 stars Starts out great, but grows tiring...,
I love vampire stories! I WAS also one of the "goth" crowd in high school...many yrs ago, before it was labeled such. So when I stumbled upon this book and started reading, I couldn't believe I had somehow missed it when it came out over 10 yrs ago! I was instantly hooked. I consider myself to be an open-minded individual, so the gay tendencies of the characters did not bother me. I also liked her twist on vampires as being of another race altogether...
However, after reading about two-thirds through, I had grown tired of the vampire life-style that Ms. Brite created. It is extremely dark and depressing.
After being a long-time fan of the vampire world and reading and fantasizing about how "cool" it would be to "be" one, Ms. Brite's story changed all that. I realized that whereas other tellings of vampire stories have the reader feeling as if they would love to be one too, this story had the reverse effect...at least for me. It is a much more "realistic" telling of the horrors, sadness and loneliness that it would truly be like. She does not romanticize this world at all. She shows exactly what callous evil beings vampires truly would be if they DID exist.
I also grew tired of Ms. Brite's extreme over-use of the word, "spider". As a noun, an adjective and even a verb! Either that's talent or that's over-kill. To her credit, there were many passages that were almost poetic, they were written so well.
I'm sure if this had been around and I had read it when I was into my whole "deathie" phase 18 yrs ago, that this would have been a much better read for me.
I did finish the story and was sad to say good-bye to the character of Ghost. I would love to see a story dedicated to him. I think that would be really interesting.
I would only recommend this book to readers who only wear black on the outside and/or the inside.
For those who love vamp stories, but want lighter fare, try the Southern Vampire series by Charlaine Harris. Fun to read and humorous with a great heroine, Sookie Stackhouse!
2.0 out of 5 stars I expected more.,
I had heard several rave reviews about this novel so I read it and was disappointed. What you must keep in mind I am 29. I think had I read this book at 14 or so, I would have been enthralled with it.
It borrows liberally from superior works, most notably Anne Rice's Vampire Chronicles. There was a lot of extraneous expository writing that felt like a waste of time reading, overused adjectives (apparently everyone in Poppy Brite's world has "spidery" hands, smokes clove cigarettes, lives in proximity to kudzu trees). And of course it had the typical "let's kick some vampire ass" ending.
Lost Souls is almost entirely a landscape of young, beautiful, skinny, white males, mostly making out with each other or killing people in graphic detail. It just comes across more as titillation rather than trying to say something about the human condition or go beyond being entertainment in the same vein as rock videos. One reviewer mentioned it as being like fan-fiction, and I got that vibe as well. It also makes the fatal mistake of trying to make vampire rock stars, which is tantamount to trying to run a car on water instead of gas. It's a great idea if it could work, but alas, it never does.
The book also takes "Goth culture," for lack of a better term, a bit too seriously for it's own good. Besides the occasional sarcastic quip from Steve, the book doesn't acknowledge any of the complete absurdity of some of the situations described, the way a good "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" episode would. It is very much written for the serious, Marilyn Manson-listening, dressed-in-black set. It doesn't really try to transcend it's genre, so it's difficult to recommend such a book to anyone who doesn't fall into that category. Even then, I'm sure many self-proclaimed "Goths" would cringe at the thought of reading this.
That said, I will grudgingly give Brite some points for her additions/twists to the vampire myth (Mostly the pregnancy- vampire hybrid ideas - I can only hope they were of her own invention and I'm giving her credit justly) Ghost, I thought was particularly nicely rendered as a character. There were some interesting visual ideas (Christian as a roadside rose stand vendor comes to mind). I managed to make it to the end at least, and take the time to think enough about the book to give it a review, so I think that shows that I have a least a modicum of respect for it.
Bottom line- I wouldn't recommend it to readers older than 20-25, and who aren't already interested in vampire fiction.
5.0 out of 5 stars Faith Restored,
For a long time I had almost given up on finding a writer as good as Anne Rice. Setting her work as a standard made the quest for interesting and inspiring literature virtually impossible. Having read everything Rice had written, I floated on a sea of insipid and rather tame books for about a year, until I found this book, and I have to say, it has knocked Anne Rice firmly into second place. It's not often you find a book that made me feel the way this one felt. It was like coming home. I'm ordering the rest of her books right now.
The characters are fantastic, you fall in love and loathe them all at the same time. The story is rich and sometimes poignant, it has kept me thinking since I read it. I half wish I'd never read it so I could read it again and feel that wonderful feeling of discovery and empathy. It allows you to feel things and embrace ideas most books would edge around and hint at. It's a wild, beautiful, sexy and exhilarating read. If you haven't read it, I'm jealous. Get it now, and be ready to fall in love.
3.0 out of 5 stars Poppy Z Brite: Not so Bright.,
I'm an avid fan of Anne Rice's "The Vampire Chronicles." This being a well-known fact among my friends, a couple of them had recommended Poppy Z Brite's work to me, thinking that I would enjoy it. When browsing through this site in search of a novel of her's, "Lost Souls" seemed the one I was most likely to favor. Why? Simply because the topic was vampires, and that is a topic which intrigues me. So that's the one I decided upon. Now, the character of Zillah transfixed me immediately. I even went so far as to compare him to my beloved Lestat, my favorite Ricean vampire. And I'm not going to provide a synopsis on each character, but I will say that I think the book's true potential was in the character of Zillah. And so by killing him in the novel, Brite killed the potential. In fact, the entire ending kills the rest of the book. I don't think Brite is necessarily a poor writer. I think the book was well-written, most of the characters believable, and the dialogue pretty. And her concepts are not conventional, which I like. But she seemed to place the supreme character value on the young boy Nothing, rather than on Zillah or even Christian, another elusive and enigmatic figure in the novel. And she made the mistake of taking on two of, what I will term, "party perspectives." We go from Christian, to Ghost and Steve, to Nothing, Zillah, Molochai, and Twig. Which works...multiple perspectives aren't bad, if used wisely. (Rice did it effectively in Queen of the Damned, going between far more characters than Brite does in this novel), but she took both parties sides', if you will. She made and ending that was meant to be unsettling in its unexpectedness and seeming indifference, but IS in fact unsettling only because it is inconclusive and boring. She left it open-ended, which is fine (hell, it's expected, we're dealing with vampires here) and there were indeed some implied tragic aspects. However, she tried to make a balance between seeming good and seeming evil. She attempted to create an ending where the "good" guys and the "bad" guys could both "win." And that, in my opinion, is never effective. Or at least I've never seen a case in which it has been. She made Zillah the central bad character, Ghost (and Steve, in a way) the central good characters, and Nothing the main confused, able to sway character. But they all (with the exception of Ghost, perhaps) lack substance. Zillah had inherent charm because he was beguilingly evil, the archetype of a vampire, in that respect. But the guy had charisma too. But Nothing lacked much. Had she developed said characters more fully, making them worth our concern, the ending might have been favorable, and in fact redeemed the rest of the book, had the rest been utter garbage.
5.0 out of 5 stars Brite strides boldly where Anne Rice fears to tread,
Lost Souls, Poppy Z. Brite's first novel, may be shockingly perverse to those not already immersed in the darker waters of fiction and life, but with its lurid omnisexuality wrapped in a blood-encased poultice of horror, it stands as a mesmerizing achievement, lending ever newer blood to the world of vampirology. While some may chide Brite's vampires for being so awfully unlike the debonair charmer Count Dracula or even the grossly disfigured Nosferatu, herein actually lies the strength of the novel. In Brite's world, good and evil do not exist, and if they do, they are oftentimes quite difficult to tell apart. There is not one character in this entire novel who is even within earshot of the bells of Normality, no one whom in all truth could be called a hero in the traditional sense. This is a world encased in darkness; even the sunlight filters through halfheartedly, as if it realizes it is just fooling itself when it pretends it can wash away the darkness with its feeble rays of light. The characters are exquisite yet deeply tainted, some by blood, some by drink and drugs, and some by the shiftier shadows that like to entomb the mind of man insidiously and secretly.
If nothing else, one cannot say these characters are forgettable. We first meet Christian, a centuries-old vampire running a bar in New Orleans. One Mardi Gras night, a trio of his brethren come into the bar and entrance him with their modern ways of dalliance, unrestrained pleasure-seeking, and vitality. Christian is both literally and figuratively cold and dead inside, but the vampire trio are electric and unrestrained. Twig and Molochai are almost childlike in their recklessness, but Zilla is something special. His mysterious chartreuse-enlivened eyes do all but breathe fire through their entrancingly hypnotic gazes. A young girl in the bar that night falls under Zilla's spell, and many months after Zilla and his friends have left New Orleans, a baby is born. The baby grows up in Maryland, knowing he is different from everyone else; his name is Nothing, and at fifteen he sets off on a journey of self-discovery. His first destination is Missing Mile, North Carolina, home of the underground musical group Lost Souls?, but he meets up, as if by fate, with Zilla's band of marauding vampires and finds the family he has been aching for all his life. He and Zilla share their bodies as well as their feasts of blood, and Nothing has little trouble adjusting to the life he knows he was born to lead; he is a vampire. Steve and Ghost, the members of Lost Souls?, enter the picture because of Nothing's strong identification with their music. Ghost is the most remarkable character in the novel, a young man blessed with a gift of seeing into the minds of others, both alive and dead; his gift can be a curse at times, though, because he knows the pain of everyone. Steve is his best friend, a perpetual drunk with a bad temper that caused him to lose the one girl he had ever loved. All the roads of each character meet in Missing Mile, and the events and tragedies set in motion lead the reader from there back to New Orleans, ending in a climax I found remarkably well done.
Poppy Z. Brite is something of an acquired taste. The sexuality of her characters is strikingly extreme, and Zilla's band of vampires are particularly uncaring in their choice of partners; the life essence can be found in a fluid other than blood, and these creatures of the night delight in sharing themselves with each other as they race through life on a perpetual search for kicks. Drug abuse runs rampant among everyone in these pages, and the act of rape is consigned to one of those who comes closest to being a good guy. As disturbing as the intense erotic aspect of Brite's writing may be, however, it lies at the core of her vampiric creations. Zilla and his gang have no morals, no code of honor, no feelings whatsoever; there is not a trace of immorality found among them because they are completely amoral. Brite raises the world of vampirism out of its traditional trappings, and therein lies the magic that sets Brite apart as a shockingly new, amazingly effective voice in modern horror.
5.0 out of 5 stars Another Lost Soul,
Poppy Z Brite, the amazing Poppy Z Brite, wrote yet another amazing book, Lost Souls. Vampires, suave and scandalous, are the main characters of this book, along with two people of a different race, humans. This book smells of blood and altars, and Poppy's humid-New-Orleans-diction is truly a diamond in the ruff of other corny vampire novels. Nothing, the young teen with RIT died hair, feels like most teens, hoping that somehow he was adopted and has no relation to his parents. But his yearning for different birthparents came true when he found a note proving his 'parents' weren't blood parents. He ran away and coincidence turned to fate when he found his true father, a beautiful vampire named Zillah with chartreuse green eyes, along with two other vampires, mirror images of each other, Molochia and Twig. Everything in the book ties together, from drinking to the late Dylan Thomas, or red-x-voodoo-queens, and witches. Bauhaus music floods this book, serenading along with the Lost Souls? band of Ghost and Steve. Lost Souls is my favorite Poppy Z Brite book, along with her short story in that water erotica book (mainly because the pages of it are waterproof).I love it because of its wonderful, beautiful, horrifying bliss.
5.0 out of 5 stars A Lovely and Sensual Horror,
Lost Souls is my favorite vampire horror. It is more terrifying than Salem's Lot and definitely more alluring and bewitching than Anne Rice's Vampire Series. Lost Souls was written in 1992 but till today still transcends most contemporary horros in terms of plot and characters. Lost Souls shines with its own unique emotional intensity that most contemporary horrors sadly lack. Brite's Vampires are unique personalities and she did such a brilliant job describing and justifying their lusts that I sympathize with them - haunted Christian, amoral Zillah, mindless Molochai and Twig and of course Nothing who has to learn to live with his aloneness among his kind. I was hoping for a better ending for Nothing but I guess Brite knows best. Ghost is of course my favorite character and I seldom have any in horrors. I will remember Ghost because of his love for Steve, his care for Nothing and Anne and his genuine goodness and vulnerability. I only with there is more of Lost Souls but one is always wistful when a book is as great as Lost Souls... Lost Souls will remain my favorite as long as I continue to read...
4.0 out of 5 stars Pretty damn good,
This is an excellent book. Ghost and Zillah are definitely my favorite characters. I love Ghost's almost childlike vulnerability, his sense of "magic", and his relationship with Steve. Zillah is beautiful, seductive, and strangely refreshing in that he doesn't have the guilt complex that, for example, Anne Rice's vampires suffer from. Though he wasn't my favorite character, I felt so bad for Christian, especially in the scene with the Chartreuse. I love Poppy Z.'s language, the emotion in the book, and how she brought the characters to life. However, the book has a few downsides, and one of them in particular is a very, very big downside: Nothing. I suppose young teens could relate to him, but his desires to be "different" and to rebel against his parents just seemed so childish among a novel of wonderful and vivid characters.Also, the constant goth culture references, and the KUDZU, got so damned annoying. Though this book can't compare with Anne Rice's early works (the best vampire fiction, in my opinion) it is definitely worth reading and re-reading.
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lost souls (Paperback)
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