on May 7, 2002
...they would invariably write a better novel than this.
I'm not sure if the weird narrative dialog was a literary experiment gone horribly wrong or Ms. Rice's vain attempt to recapture some of the same quality as her 70s "Interview with the Vampire" classic, but whatever it was, it [wasn't good].
Perhaps this strange 'fourth-person' format works well when narrating a story verbally, but in a novel it just doesn't go. For the first 100 pages, I found myself at a total and devastating loss with regards to plot, setting, and character. I could, however, paint you a detailed picture of Azriel, whose eyes and thick hair are described so often it seems as though Rice was either trying to fill mothholes in her paragraphs, or had forgotten she'd already talked about them 5 times.
Generally speaking, I consider it poor form to write a review of a book, no matter how terrible, if I haven't completed it. However, the extreme drivel-factor of "Servant of the Bones" compelled me to share my thoughts on it although those first 100 confusing pages were all I managed to plough through.
If you absolutely must read a novel by Anne Rice, try out "Cry to Heaven"--what i personally consider one of her very few palatable works. If you're a real goth/vampire fanatic, "The Vampire Armand" is also worth considering.
Otherwise, steer clear. Spend your time on something with more literary value. If you can manage 600 pages of Rice, you can probably manage any number of classics.
on January 31, 2002
This is another great masterpiece by my favorite author, Anne Rice. Again, she weaves a world rich with life and death, joy and sorrow.
Azriel is the main narrator of this heart wrenching tale. A story that begins in our time line, taking us back through Ancient Babylonian time and ending in modern day New York City. Azriel tells us of his days as a Hebrew mortal, and his time as Servant of the Bones. A genie if you will, but not exactly. A gentle born Hebrew who was forced to make the ultimate sacrifice to save his people. Refusal would have meant that death would surely flow. Azriel would be forsaken and than deceived. Living from one master to the next, Azriel does their bidding until becoming his own master, controller of his own great power.
Asleep for centuries, Azriel is awakened to witness a horrific murder. Unbeknownst to him, he would take action that would change the future of mankind. Who is this Servant of the Bones, who was created out of madness, with the purpose to serve evil?
Contrary to the opinion of most reviewers, this is an excellent story. This is TYPICAL Anne Rice, but even better. I recommend this book immensely. You will be bewitched.
on August 1, 2001
Servant of the Bones is the story of Azriel, as told to the 'narrator' of the story. From his early days in Babylon with his Hebrew family, to his personal god Marduk, and to ultimately, his betrayal by those he loves in life to become the Servant of the Bones. We follow Azriel the spirit as he grows and learns through time seeing many of the great tragedies of this world such as the Black Plague. He speaks of his succession of 'masters' through time, those both good and bad, although his memory is far from complete. All through modern time, where the story turns as it's partially about Azriel and partially about the villian Gregory Belkin who is another cult leader with visions of being the next Alexander the Great.
This is the point where Azriel first has to make decisions for himself. And, ultimately how his judgement will pass, as he's learning constantly. In a way, this is an area left untouched by Anne Rice in her prior novels, and while some people are quick to write this novel off by unfairly comparing it to the Vampire Chronicles, or even the Mayfair Witches....Servant of the Bones stands on it's own with it's unique view of historical events, with a religious slant, while taking a sublime aim at 'cult' religions in modern days. I immensely enjoyed this book, and would highly recommend it to someone who enjoys Anne Rice's work without pigeonholing her into the aforementioned Vampire Chronicles and Mayfair Witch series'.
on May 9, 2001
I have read some, not all, but some of Anne Rice's novels. So I can't justly compare this particular book to many of her all time best.
But what I can tell you is this. 'Servent Of The Bones' is lush with great pose and great charectors. The only thing I think is wrong with this book and a big thing at that, is that this novel should have been made as a series.
It simply jumps to fast from one time to the next, from one era to the next, and the reader never really catches up.
The beginning is fantastic, with a detailed review of the main charectors, Azriel, life and times. Dawning with the Babalonian era right through to present day New York.
But that's just it, the novel simply is too rushed. I didn't like the ending of the novel and think that this would have been a better investment of time had it been more of an historical account of such, not so much about what it became about toward the end...if that makes any sense(?)
But I like the premise of it. A man who worships a God, who is then made in to that God, and becomes a dark demon only to be brought forth by uttering the name 'The Servent Of The Bones'. Fantastic story, but it ends there. If it sounds confusing it isn't, and Rices vast knowledge of the English language provides supple opportunity for the reader to fully understand what it is she is trying to say.
Anyhow, not too bad, but not overly great...
Three Out Of Five
on April 9, 2001
I must admit that I have been a long time fan of the Vampire books. I haven't read a lot of other things by Rice, I tried the first book of the Witches and just didn't care enough. I did read the Mummy, and enjoyed it. Then came this one. It fell into my lap by accident and I really thought "Oh goodie, another Rice book...." Not thrilled. But then I started reading. I don't understand how anyone could say the first part of the book lagged at all. I was captured from the first page. I am still reading it and enjoying every moment of it. As with the Vampire books, the homoeroticism is rich in this title. Az is of course beautiful to behold, affectionate to the point of erotic, and her eye for detail spends time on the dark hairs on both his arms and his chest. How could I not love this book? The story itself is rich in emotion and the plot has, thus far, gone along with a clippers pace. I would love to see more of this Angel of Might in future books. As I would also love to see The Mummy again sometime soon. His mention in QUeen Of The Damned was just simply not enough!! Thank you Anne.
on January 10, 2001
The basic idea behind this book is not bad. The idea is, to tell the tale of a geni (as, in a bottle - or in this case a bone) from his own perspective, explaining not only how he came about but his experiences through the ages serving different masters. I haven't read "Interview with the Vampire" but this book seems to be a bit of a rehash in the sense that it's an interview with a geni instead of a vampire. So is the book actually any good? Well first, I'm convinced there were two authors to this book. The first half is execrable, it's gauche, awkward, campy, unintentionally funny in parts, with bad grammar and syntax and sketchily drawn, unbelievable characters with infantile mood swings. In short, it was penned by someone who simply can't write. Could it be that Anne Rice turned the first half of the book over to husband Stan, whose truly excruciating poetry appears here and there in the book? Then suddenly, at I think about Chapter 16, the prose deepens and requires rhythm, complexity, a richer vocabulary, and a reasonable degree of subtlety. It just couldn't be the same schmuck who wrote the first half! Unfortunately, the plot in the second half, which is the geni Azriel's experiences in modern America (as opposed to the first half which is his existence in ancient times) is just that tired old "evil genius out to destroy the world" cliche that we've all endured in countless Bond movies. It is Azriel's task, of course, to try and stop the madman. Will he succeed? Few will care by the end of the book, I certainly didn't. I haven't read an Anne Rice book before, if she wrote the second half then she certainly has technical skill, but the storyline is too lacking in originality and the whole thing is flat and one-dimensional. I might give Rice one more chance with "Interview with the Vampire" but if that's no good I will never bother reading one of her books again.
on January 1, 2001
This book took me three tries to get into. Now, I cannot imagine not having read it.
It has a rather slow start, the trek to the mountains of Jonathan, the 'narrator' of the story, following a highly publicized murder. Jonathan nearly dies, but is rescued by Azriel, who has sought him out to deliver his history as 'Servant of the Bones'. Azriel's tale is the key to the murder, and he wishes to divulge this information to a worthy recipient.
The tale itself is one of Anne Rice's most fascinating yet. Azriel, a youth of Babylon, is chosen to be presented as an icon to his city. One catch, you must be painted in gold and die before you reach deity status. Azriel at first welcomes the chance to serve his Hebrew God, even though it means he must die to do so, but ultimately realizes the intent of this station is to do whatever evil bidding his master proclaims.
Through the centuries he grows in power and wisdom, and overcomes the wrongdoing he is subjected to. In delivering his tale to Jonathan, and providing answers to the murder of Esther Belkin, Azriel hopes at last to redeem his soul for all of his 'crimes', by implicating his most dastardly 'master' in the plot he has conceived to take over the world in the present day.
Although not as rich in history or as self-effacing as Rice's other protagonists, Azriel is an exciting character, and his story is wonderfully told in the pages of this book. The ending is timely, touching upon world terrorism in the mid 1990's, although a bit 'Hollywood' and commercial. However, this is one of Anne Rice's stronger recent works, and a very good read.
on December 11, 2000
Imagine being handed over to the torture of being boiled in a cauldron of gold by your father. Azriel went through this in Anne Rice's The Servant of the Bones. This is a story told by the spirit from ancient Babylon. Azriel has been condemned to being the Servant of the Bones for all eternity. After defeating his strongest master, Gregory Belkin, Azriel goes to the mountain to find Johnathan, a college professor hiding from reality. Once he finds Johnathan, he insists on sharing his entire life story from before his horrible death , to his life with his two favorite masters Zurvan, and Samuel of Strasborough. He then tells in great detail how he defeated his strongest master, and became a free spirit. This book has a slow beginning, then it works it's way into a compelling story of one spirits fight to freedom. Anne Rice does a magnificent job bringing her spirits to life and telling details of their past, and present situations. I recommend this book to anyone who likes thrillers, suspense or even drama; there's a bit of each in this masterpiece.
on May 24, 2000
I couldn't put it down! It was completely enthralling and kept me up until the wee small hours reading without even noticing the passage of time. I'd have to put this on a par with Queen of the Damned in that there is a lot of action ... no good places to pause for sleeping or eating ... but it has got the character development that the earlier Vampire Chronicles had without pages and pages of descriptive text to be skipped. In fact, I only recall two places where she lapsed into diatribe or description that added nothing to the story and I ended skipping over a few paragraphs. But that is characteristic of Rice and to be expected.
In Servant of the Bones, you have another immortal being made against his will but, this time, you don't know what he is so you can't have any preconceptions about his character or his fate. Once again, the immortal - maturing from impetuousity rather than reveling in it - seeks out a Talbotian figure to write his memoirs and we have the familiar male to male relationship of other Rice books but without the co-dependency. Again, we have the religious conflict between the ordinary man who is forced into a position that, by definition, would deny him of God's grace ... but instead of interpreting from some vague reference to religion, we have the strict and complicated background of Orthodox Judaism.
Basically, if you are a Vampire Chronicle fan, you will love this. It is has all of the same elements. It is the same picture through a different filter. She didn't re-write the Chronicles. She perfected them.
on March 26, 2000
I bought this book expecting a good read and found my self disappointed and bored. I finished the book through force of will, turning the pages, hoping for the story to pick up and come alive...somewhere along the line. The characters are, as usual, beautifully described. The story is nearly non-existant. The dialog is tedious and stilted and does not rivet the reader as have past works published by the author.
Servant of the Bones had a lot of potential to be a better than good story. It left me feeling as though the author could not be bothered to expand upon or pursue any of the possibilities the setting of the tale had to offer. Servant of the Bones comes across as woefully incomplete. A real let-down, a book I would not recommend or pass on to a friend to read.
Perhaps it is time for the Ms. Rice to acquire a new editor who will read the offered works [before publishing] as would the public, for surely an editor's salary is as much dependant on book sales as is the author's. I fear that Ms. Rice's books show a steady decline for Memnoch, Taltos, Pandora and [most notably] Servant of the Bones and Violin, display an unfinished, not-quite-fully-explored quality. A lacking in richness of story telling of which we know the author to be capable.