Author: Clay & Susan Griffith
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Release Date: 11/02/10
In the year 1870, a horrible plague of vampires swept over the northern regions of the world. Millions of humans were killed outright. Millions more died of disease and famine due to the havoc that followed. Within two years, once-great cities were shrouded by the gray empire of the vampire clans. Human refugees fled south to the tropics because vampires could not tolerate the constant heat there. They brought technology and a feverish drive to reestablish their shattered societies of steam and iron amid the mosques of Alexandria, the torrid quietude of Panama, or the green temples of Malaya.
It is now 2020 and a bloody reckoning is coming.
Princess Adele is heir to the Empire of Equatoria, a remnant of the old tropical British Empire. She is quick with her wit as well as with a sword or gun. She is eager for an adventure before she settles into a life of duty and political marriage to a man she does not know. But her quest turns black when she becomes the target of a merciless vampire clan. Her only protector is the Greyfriar, a mysterious hero who fights the vampires from deep within their territory. Their dangerous relationship plays out against an approaching war to the death between humankind and the vampire clans.
Vampire Empire: The Greyfriar is the first book in a trilogy of high adventure and alternate history. Combining rousing pulp action with steampunk style, Vampire Empire brings epic political themes to life within a story of heartbreaking romance, sacrifice, and heroism.
Plot: 4.5 Stars
This was a very interesting novel. It felt both historical and futuristic at the same time, with a splash of steampunk. Although some of the weapons and contraptions and ships could've been described a little better, the overall feel of this new world was very great. The vampires in this novel were very unique, from the ability to float to the inability to take warmer climates. They were a breath of fresh air, because of their originality and how evil and harsh they were. The two halves of the world, the evil vampires up north and the surviving humans down south, were so different, it was as if they were on different planets.
Pace: 4 Stars
This novel starts out slow, but catches you by surprise about forty pages in. From there, it grabs you and doesn't let go. The alternating points of view give you a better understanding of the story, because certain scenes were happening at the same time. Plus, the multiple points of view also gives insight into multiple characters' heads. The pace slowed down a tiny bit near the end, but it felt like (and was) the calm before the storm. The action-packed ending was fantasic and left me wanting the next book now without being a cliffhanger.
Characters: 4.5 Stars
Adele was a great heroine. She was strong and confident, and really held her own once the story got going. I wish I could've seen a bit more of her younger brother, and hope he's in future novels. The American general that she is engaged to wasn't a favorite character of mine, although I am interested to see what his war plans are for the future. Most of the vampires were just evil and bloodthirsty, but a few stood out. And then there's Greyfriar and the mystery surrounding him. Thought to be just a myth, he comes to the rescue multiples times in this novel. Plus, he's a very interesting characters.
Cover: 4.5 Stars
Chris McGrath makes absolutely gorgeous covers. And you can always tell when a cover is one of his. This cover was no exception. The grey color fit the mood, although it was a bit dark. Made it a bit tough to see the cover models' facial expressions. Hopefully it'll be a touch lighter on the fnished copies. Normally I'm not the biggest fan of grayscale, but when given to this story, it just works. I liked the cover models chosen to portray Adele and Greyfriar, and I love the jacket he's wearing. The multi-colored title was really eye-catching, and I always love when a cover includes the series name so that I can keep track.
Overall: 4.5 Stars
Disclosure: I received an ARC of this book from the publisher via the publicist.