Welcome to Things Liz Loves!

Let me apologize in advance: I'm not the regular poster I used to be. I try to keep things interesting around here though, so check back from time to time.

Check the Contests page for info about our current giveaway!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Review: The Greyfriar (Vampire Empire, Book One) by Clay and Susan Griffith

The Greyfriar (Vampire Empire, Book 1)The Greyfriar (Vampire Empire, Book One)
Written by Clay and Susan Griffith
Release Date: November 18, 2010
Publisher: Pyr (an imprint of Prometheus Books)
ARC provided for review by the publisher. Thank You!!!

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Summary (Courtesy of Barnes and Noble):
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.
The Greyfriar (Vampire Empire, Book 1) is the first book in a trilogy of high adventure and alternate history. Combining rousing pulp action with steampunk style, the Vampire Empire series brings epic political themes to life within a story of heartbreaking romance, sacrifice, and heroism.
 I was pleasantly surprised by this book. I really dug the dystopian-steampunk elements of the story, and the characters were memorable in every way. I found myself ready for the sequel before I even finished the story. Full review after the jump. WARNING: SPOILERS!!!

Initially, I had low expectations for this book. Another vampire book? Seriously? I was turned off by the cover art, which didn't properly portray the steampunk vampire look it was going for. If anything, it looked like 90's goth dress, at least on the woman. So I wasn't expecting to be as into this book as I was. But boy, was I into this book.

As you all know, I've fallen in love with all things steampunk. Love love LOVE steampunk stuff! So when I started reading about gas balloon powered air ships and purveyors of steam and coal, I got all giddy. The alternate universe that The Greyfriar is set in relies fully on the power and machinery created in the Victorian era because of the huge vampire attack that took place in said era. I can't tell you how happy it made me to read this type of setting in the book. That alone was enough to keep me going.

There is much less of the strangely-seductive vampire legend stuff and a lot more barbarian humanity in the vampires of this story. The vampire people allied long enough to take control of most of the northern hemisphere of the planet, driving the surviving humans south to fight amongst themselves for territory and power. The vampires are appropriately creepy when necessary, especially the heartless Cesare and his bloody war chief Flay. The Griffiths have crafted an amazing network of empires and lives that cross effortlessly in the story. The only vampire that even slightly resembled the popular incarnation of vamps in YA novels was Prince Gareth/the Greyfriar. He is the heir to the entire vampire kingdom, and he dresses up like a human and fights his own kind to protect the people he originally helped to enslave and drive out. He hates the gluttony and complacency his people have taken on, and he feels sympathy toward the humans. Never mind that he's apparently super hot and falls in love with the human princess he can never have. That hasn't been done before...

Princess Adele was exactly the kind of heroine I love to see in a story like this. She's no lilting flower. She's tough, defiant, brave and willing to fight for what she believes in. She's smart, open-minded and gracious as well. She didn't take anyone's crap, but she wasn't stupid about it. She could fight, which was really awesome. And she's powerful, in more ways than one. I totally loved her character and I can't wait to see more of her in this series.

So a few elements of the story are a little overused. Other themes of the story help to displace any boredom with the "vampire with a heart of gold" bits. The racism, politics, action and adventure will keep you immersed in the story, even if you are tired of vampire books.

No comments:

Post a Comment

I LOVE it when people have something to say! Comment away!

Related Posts with Thumbnails