First released in the early nineties, Poppy Z Brite’s breakthrough novel and gothic horror classic Lost Souls is a tale of vampirism, loyalty, and belonging which has the captured the heart of so many readers and earned great sentimental value on many people’s bookshelves.
Mystique and mystery are not only features of this book, but are also what grip the reader and remain with him/her not only from each and every page turn, but for a lifetime. But what makes this novel so different and unique?
What makes this stand out from Ann Rice and her many contemporaries of the time?
The answer is power and passion.
Based in and around New Orleans, an area swamped in witchcraft and voodoo culture, the tale focuses around Ghost- a lost, but spiritual boy, Ann- who is seeking true love, and the enigmatic Jason- whose real name, is Nothing. Along with the gorgeous vampyric vagabonds found in Molochai, Twig and the enchanting Zillah, the novel sees the crew follow on a journey, constantly trying to quench their thirst for fresh blood, and fulfil their taste for the flesh of the young. The storyline carries its emotional peaks and lows, and also moments of intensity and moments of relaxation- it is a truly deep exploration of the lifestyles of the fiendish group that stalk the Missing Mile.
Emotively and intimately written, Poppy Z Brite’s style is direct yet descriptive, and poetic yet perfectly comprehensible. Divided perfectly into a less than 20 chapters, it is as easy to swallow as the blood of the young itself. Her style is perfectly suited to the style of gothic horror, with seductive charm and sensual exploration of characters to be found in every chapter- not to mention tons of references to 80’s goth rock bands to keep all old Bauhaus fans happy.
Although now considered more of a hidden treasure, this book could also serve as a great starting place for anyone who wishes to expand beyond Clive Barker and Stephen King, to discover the true darkness that lies in the underworld. This precious gem stands out amongst all other works of Brite, not only as the most beautiful, but also as the most affecting and poignant vampire novel of its time. For any lost souls out there, this story could be a loyal familiar to you, and could be held as dearly as a loved one- certainly a book to treasure until death.