Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Review - The Greyfriar (Vampire Empire, Book 1) by Clay and Susan Griffith (5/5 stars)

The Greyfriar (Vampire Empire, Book 1)Reading level: Adult
Genre: Historical Fantasy/Steampunk
Size: 301 pages
Publisher: Pyr
Release Date: November 18, 2010
ISBN-13: 978-1616142476
Stand Alone or Series: 1st in the Vampire Empire series
Source: Signed copy from Book Expo America
Rating: 5/5 stars

I have been wanting to read this book forever.  I finally got a copy from the library and then that same week ended up going to BEA and was able to get a copy signed and meet Clay and Susan Griffith.  They were a lot of fun to talk to and very nice.  So, I was really excited to read this book and I wasn't disappointed.  The second book in the series, The Rift Walker, is due for a September 2011 release.

Princess Adele of the Equatorian Empire is on a ship that is attacked by a horde of vampires.  At first things are looking up when the Greyfriar (a mysterious vigilante) saves her; but then she is captured by the evil Caesar and held in the Tower of London in vampire occupied Britain.  Adele becomes the catalyst for a final battle between the human and vampire species; along the way she finds out that vampires may not be exactly what humanity thinks.

This was an absolutely excellent book.  The storyline is epic and the world incredibly creative.  The story is part alternate history, part post-apocalyptic, and part steampunk...with a little epic fantasy thrown in for good measure.

The Griffiths have created an incredibly detailed and interesting world.  Vampires have trouble surviving in warm climates which has driven humanity to the hottest parts of the planet.  The politics within human factions and vampire factions are complex and interesting to read about.  There is a lot of creativity in this story and many things which I haven't seen anywhere else.  The human parts of the world have a steampunk feel to them too which adds even more to the story.

The characters of Adele and Greyfriar are engaging, have a lot of depth to them, and as a reader you really want to know them better.  You can't help but root for them and hope that everything will work out.  Side characters in the book weren't as filled out as they could have been, but that is a small quibble.  I do hope that in future books we get to learn more about Adele's mentor and spend more time with her younger brother.

The plot is full of twists and turns and you can never predict what will happen next.  This makes for a very engaging book and really pulls the reader through the novel.  The novel ends well, but leaves a lot of issues unresolved for future books.  The writing style is well done and easy to read.

The only other small complaint I have is that the chapters that depict Senator Clark (Adele's intended) going to war were a bit of a struggle to get through.  It wasn't that they were poorly written...it was just that I loved reading about Adele and the Greyfriar so much more that I just wanted to get through the Senator Clark parts.  I am hoping in future installments Senator Clark will be more filled out and we will learn either to love or hate him with greater passion :-)

Overall this was a spectacular read.  It is very creative, the world-building was incredible, and Adele and Greyfriar are captivating characters.  The writing style was very well done and easy to read and it was hard to put the book down.  I love the detail that went into world-building and love how many fantasy elements (historical, post-apocalyptic, steampunk, epic) went into making this story.  I am very excited to read The Rift Walker when it releases in September.

This book goes towards the following reading challenges:
- 100+ Reading Challenge
- Get Steampunked!

The Greyfriar (Vampire Empire, Book 1) 

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