It's amazing what a couple of years does to the opinion of a book. I read Vittorio for the first time while a student in High School and just finished my second reading this past weekend. I recall enjoying the book while in High School, thinking it was pretty and fascinating, also loving the character Vittorio. But I found myself coming to the conclusion that my opinion has altered.
Since High School I've willingly read up on an assortment of historical details and yet I know so little. That's the thing with History, there is so much to learn and while you're trying to gather all the information more history is being created. So now I know who the Medici's are. Now I have a better understanding of Tuscany. I also have a better understanding of human behavior and emotions than I did when I was a teenager. Granted, I'm not omniscient of such a topic but I certainly know a little more than I did when I was younger.
Vittorio, as a character, doesn't quiet grab hold of me. I feel that he is the most mortal of the vampires in the rest of Rice's chronicles. Five hundred years and he still exists in his little home with his immortal bride. He's not very adventurous, in my opinion, so that bores me. I'm always itching to travel, to move to a new place, and yet he's settled in Italy for hundreds of years. His immortal bride, Ursula, not only makes me think of the Little Mermaid character but I find her sort of annoying. She sounds beautiful and fascinating to watch but she seems so weak. Two hundred years old and she's always crying and depending upon a newborn vampire (Vittorio). She's incredibly weak and so… clingy.
Vittorio's story is interesting, his love and fierce loyalty to his family is something I can relate to. Because, really, if my family was hunted by a group of vampires I'm pretty sure I would react the same way he did. The sight of angels is something I particularly enjoyed because when that idea is tossed into a story (and it fits, it's not random or sappy) I'm always interested to see how the author describes these beings. They emerge from the paintings Vittorio so loves and their description (which I don't want to get too into, best for you to read it yourself) is what I picture an angel to be.
(Slight spoiler) When Vittorio goes against his promise to destroy the coven of vampires by allowing Ursula to live he more or less damns his soul. He had the aid of the angels and broke his word so in retaliation he is given the ability to see the souls within every living being. The idea is terrifying if you consider what he is at this point- a vampire. With the need to drink blood from the living and yet seeing the soul within the very creature you are depending on for strength you would have to see that light, the soul, suffer and dim as you take the life. It's not just a physical thing anymore but you see the spiritual affect you are having on the creature you're living on.
The historical references only made me want to read my history books. I've been on a need-for-history kick recently and this certainly didn't help. But that's okay! It's a good thing! I like reading about history!
This book differentiates from the other Vampire Chronicle books because Vittorio is a vampire that has never been mentioned before and generally just stays off by himself. His story isn't tied into any of the previous stories we've read and he's never mentioned again. It's completely separate although the vampire as a being is still the same. It's much more spiritual than some of the other books and Vittorio is much more devoted to his religious practices so this might turn the reader away. Despite that I did not enjoy the book as much as I originally had in High School it's still an interesting read and I enjoyed myself while flipping through it.