(Vampire Empire, Book 2)
Written by Clay and Susan Griffith
Release Date: September 6, 2011
Publisher: Pyr (a division of Prometheus Books)
ARC provided by the publisher for a fair and honest review. THANK YOU!
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Summary (courtesy of Barnes and Noble):
Princess Adele struggles with a life of marriage and obligation as her Equatorian Empire and their American Republic allies stand on the brink of war against the vampire clans of the north. However, the alliance's horrific strategy for total victory drives Adele to abandon her duty and embark on a desperate quest to keep her nation from staining its hands with genocide. Reunited with her great love, the mysterious adventurer known to the world as the Greyfriar, Adele is pursued by her own people as well as her vengeful husband, senator Clark. With the human alliance in disarrray, Prince Cesare, lord of the British vampire clan, seizes the initiative and strikes at the very heart of Equatoria.I absolutely LOVED The Greyfriar, the first book from this series, and The Rift Walker is an amazing follow-up that doesn't disappoint. Full review after the jump!
As Adele labors to bring order to her world, she learns more about the strange powers she exhibited in the north. Her teacher, Mamoru, leads a secret cabal of geomancers who believe Adele is the one who can touch the vast power of the Earth that surges through ley lines and wells up at the rifts where the lines meet. These energies are the key to defeating the enemy of mankind, and if Princess Adele could ever bring this power under her command, she could be death to vampires. But such a victory will also cost the life of Adele's beloved Greyfriar.
The Rift Walker is the second book in a trilogy of high adventure and alternative history. Combining rousing pulp action with steampunk style, the Vampire Empire series brings epic politcal themes to life within a story of heartbreaking romance, sacrifice, and heroism.
When this book arrived on my doorstep, I did a happy dance that I would be shamed to have you guys see. I was so excited to have a chance to review this title! The first book was totally awesome, so the chance to read this one was a big deal for me. Lucky for Prince Gareth and Princess Adele, this book stood up nicely to the awesomeness of the first.
This book was a lot more involved in the political aspect of Princess Adele's life, including her arranged marriage to an American war lord. This was pretty interesting to see, especially how Adele handled things while maintaining an appearance of "proper behavior" while trying to stop the war from within the Equatorian government. I was a bit frustrated with the male chauvinism and the fact that Adele couldn't really express her opinion with anyone, including her father, but that's more a reflection of how accurate the writers reflected the culture. The fact that they did such a fantastic job recreating some benchmarks of old school middle eastern and European culture and relationship dynamics made it possible for me to be angry with the male characters that were oppressing the strong minded Adele. It also made it that much more impressive when Adele rebelled against that oppression.
Princess Adele really is the kind of heroine I like to see in young adult writing. She's free thinking, she has no problem speaking her mind, and she's excited about the prospect of being the powerful force that can stop the human-vampire war. A common theme in YA literature, especially fantasy YA, is the damsel in distress, lilting female lead that no real teen girl should ever take as a role model. It's so refreshing to have a continually strong female lead that keeps her gumption throughout the course of the series.
The one thing I would have liked to see more of was interaction between Adele and the Greyfriar, Prince Gareth. There was a lot of romantic tension from the first book that was sort of left hanging for a large portion of the second book. I understand why, don't get me wrong, but it kind of made the connection between the two of them take a back seat, so much so that it was almost forgotten. This is a better alternative than having the entire book be sappy pining romance, though, so it's not a big deal.
Bottom line, this book is really great, just like it's predecessor. I would definitely suggest picking it up at your earliest convenience, along with The Greyfriar. You could also hold out for the audio books, which will be recorded by one of my hugest TV crushes of all time, James Marsters. (!!!) Pick the books up from Amazon at the links below. Enjoy!