I finally finished reading it.
While I love Anne Rice, her early work and her post-conversion work, this work left me confused and disappointed.
Gone were the philosophical and spiritual questions that had deeply interested me in Interview With a Vampire and Song of the Seraphim. Gone were the strong, realistic characters I had loved so well, and gone was the distinct voice I had grown used to hearing when I picked up one of her stories.
This book is a weak shadow of what I knew of Anne Rice. In pursuing truth, she somehow overshot it and now, on the other side, she's wandering. There isn't a single, straightforward theme in the book.
Two of the characters seem to be Anne debating with herself, reassuring herself that she's in the right, or validating that her morality and beliefs are correct.
Several distinct shoutouts told me for sure that Anne is waffling. Unsure of her footing, her story unfolds less lushly, and without depth or a strong voice or even a resolution, it fades with a whisper.
The concept is intriguing but without firm command at the helm, Anne lost me almost from the beginning.
It pains me to see an author struggle so. Life is full of these difficult trial periods, and I hope to see her rise once again from the ashes with a tale as powerful as Interview With a Vampire or Servant of the Bones.
Alas, this is not that tale.