Title: The Witching Hour
Author: Anne Rice
Publication Date: 1990
Length: 1038 pages
The Witching Hour is a tough book to summarise, because there's just so much going on! It's really, really long, and just packed with plot. We have Michael, an architect originally from new Orleans, who lives in California. He falls into the ocean and drowns, and when he's revived, he has the power to see things when he touches objects with his hands. Then there's Rowan Mayfair, designated at birth as the eventual beneficiary of the enormous legacy of her old, New Orleans family, but adopted at birth by cousins and raised in California with no knowledge of her history.
And then of course, almost every significant Mayfair has a part in the story. A huge chunk of the book is the file compiled by the Talamasca on the history of the Mayfair witches. As Michael reads this, we get to, too. (It took me considerably longer than the two days it took Michael to read it!) It was great to be able to get so much back story; I've never read a book with so much backstory! However, it was very hard to keep straight. I recommend drawing a family tree as you go. I wish I had! It would be very tangled looking, though, because of all the incest. So much incest!
Whichever Mayfair inherits the legacy also inherits a mysterious being known as Lasher. Lasher's motives are not clear through most of the book. Most seem to agree that he's bad, or at least only cares about his own ends, whatever they may be. But several of the Mayfair witches did seem to have close relationships with him. We don't see him firsthand until he comes to Rowan, at which point it becomes pretty clear that Lasher is bad, though apparently it's not clear to Rowan.
I loved the way the different characters' stories interweaved (specifically Michael, Rowan, and Aaron). I also got very attached to each character. I was totally invested in the romance between Michael and Rowan, and my emotions were very tied up with theirs. So, the ending, which was quite shocking, was painful to read (in the good way, because I was so involved, not because it wasn't good). Rowan's actions near the end of the book seem kind of out of character, so it was very surprising, but I've heard that the second book reveals things which make her actions make more sense, so hopefully soon, when I read Lasher, things will come together!
I feel like I haven't done this book justice with this review. It's just a really hard book to adequately describe because it's so big and there's so much going on. But it's Anne Rice at her best. The characters are so well-developed, and the setting, as always, is so real it's like you're really there. (Seriously, because of Anne Rice I feel like I've been to New Orleans, and walked the streets of the Garden District, despite never having been there.)
This book counts towards the Read Your OWN Library! Challenge (hosted by The Beauty of Eclecticism) for September. For October, my book for the challenge was The Capture (Animorphs #6) by K.A. Applegate. (Which is not that interesting now, month's after the fact; it took me a while to finish this book and write the review!) This book also counts for the Mount TBR Reading Challenge
and the 2012 Anne Rice Challenge, and is one of my longest books.