The Greyfriar Paperback – Nov 1 2010
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Praise for the Vampire Empire trilogy:
"Vampire Empire is one of the best fantasy series I've read, set in a unique postapocalyptic world. The landscapes, the peoples, and the incredible gizmos will attack your senses. Their unforgettable characters will stay with you as the tale unwinds."
- RT Book Reviews
"The best vampire series I have read in ages. . . . I am blown away by it. It has it all: romance, steampunk, vampires, adventure, and impossible odds for the hero to overcome."
- Vampire Librarian
"If I was stuck on a deserted island and could only have one vampire book series with me, my choice would be the Griffiths' Vampire Empire saga. Bye Lestat, farewell Edward. . . . Thank you to the Griffiths for fueling and continuing my love of vampire novels."
- Reader Girls
"Filled with mind-boggling political intrigue, betrayal, deception, magic, and a healthy dose of romance-you will be once again swept away by this burgeoning epic saga. . . . The Vampire Empire series remains at the top of my must-read list in Urban Fantasy."
- Smexy Books
About the Author
Clay and Susan Griffith, a married couple who have written and published together for more than two decades, are the authors of the Vampire Empire trilogy—The Greyfriar, The Rift Walker, and The Kingmakers—and the Crown & Key trilogy, as well as the first Vampire Empire: A Gareth and Adele novel, The Geomancer. Their credits include numerous short stories featuring noted genre characters like Kolchak the Night Stalker and the Phantom and comic books including The Tick and The Simpsons. They've also written scripts for the television/web show Monster Creature Feature. They live in North Carolina where they play World of Warcraft and struggle to entertain their cat. Visit the authors' website at clayandsusangriffith.com/ and www.facebook.com/#!/vampireempire.
Top Customer Reviews
I enjoyed this novel until the very last page. The action was well done, the world building was really good and well established, and the characters memorable. The blending of different genres also is nice you have a bit of steampunk, alternate history, fantasy, paranormal, and just a little bit of romance. It’s perfect.
Of course what adds to this awesome book is Gareth (one of the main characters) has a castle full of cats. No seriously. That is AWESOME. I reacted the same way I did when I saw Hellboy with his room full with cats. (I squeed and squeed until I couldn’t no more) so for me, that was a major added bonus. The chemistry between Adele and Gareth was good as well. Their characters seemed perfect for eachother I really enjoyed how they got along.
I haven’t gotten around to reading the second book yet, but I’m hoping it will be just as good as this one! I definitely recommend this book to fantasy lovers out there. It’s definitely worth a read through.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Wow! Ok, when I received The Greyfriar for review, I wasn't expecting too much because, frankly, I've never heard anything about it before, and vampires usually bore the crap heck out of me. Finally! It was so nice to read about non-glittering vampires who stay true to their nature! Using rich prose, an incredibly steampunk atmosphere and a blooming and contagious romance, husband and wife author duo, Susan and Clay Griffith have created an incredible masterpiece of a story that is intense, exhilarating, and completely delicious.
There are too many high points in The Greyfriar for me to name them all, so I'll be general. The characterization was enthralling. Adele and the Greyfriar were so clearly defined, their actions and motives so well-pronounced, that it is impossible not to fall in love with their story as their relationship blooms. The amazing mythology that creeps its way into every aspect of the story heightens the sinister nature of the vampires and makes the story all that more gripping and enticing. Honestly, I'm surprised this book was as slim as it was because the story was well-rounded and truly captivating to read.
I give The Greyfriar a 5 out of 5, hands down. In fact, I'd probably give it more if I could. I recommend that everyone buy this book as soon as it releases (I believe on November 18th) because it is a definite must-read. I would recommend this book to fans of YA and adult fiction, particularly those who enjoy steampunk, vampires, fantasy, and mythology. Due to the violence, I do think an upper YA audience is probably best.
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 grey 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 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.
I received The Greyfriar for review awhile ago, and for some reason I kept putting off reading it. I finally decided to pick it up, and I'm so glad I did! This book exceeded any expectations I had of it.
When the novel started out, I was just sort of waiting for something to pull me in. I didn't feel the spark until The Greyfriar himself showed up, which was really early in the novel. From then on, I was hooked. I finished this novel in one day.
I just couldn't stop reading.
The plot was action-packed. I loved the scenes between Adele and Greyfriar, and Adele and Gareth. It was interesting to see the contrast between how she treated each man, and then eventually, the mergence of her actions for both. That part of the plot is a little complicated, and I can't explain it without giving something away, but if you read it, you'll know exactly what I'm talking about.
My only issue plot-wise were... well, basically any of the scenes that didn't have Adele in them. I lost interest slightly when the perspective changed, even though I understood that the change served a purpose.
The romance in the story was... wow. I knew it was coming. I knew. But it's the kind of romance that just sneaks up on you, and then hits you like a ton of bricks at the end, even though you already saw the bricks hanging in a crumbling net over your head. It slowly built up and simmered, and that's what I loved. There were some tender moments that just made me smile.
All of the characters were so well-rounded and described. Each had a role to play, and each played it superbly. Despite the potential for cheesy-ness, the Griffith duo managed to pull everything off wonderfully, and most importantly, believably. My favorite character is a tie between Adele, the butt-kicking heroine, and Gareth, the eldest vampire prince with a kind heart.
I really do commend the Griffith duo for making up such an intricate world, with it's own history, while intertwining it with real history. And the vampires! A very new twist on an extremely overdone thing. The vampires in this novel, most certainly did not sparkle, but they DID kick some ass.
I guess my only major qualm with the book is the cover. It really does not appeal to me. I'll admit that it's a big reason why I didn't pick this book up sooner. It's so... gray. And I get that the artist did that to convey the destruction that was happening, but there are much better ways to portray that. Also, I don't like the model or drawing or whatever that is of Gareth. That's absolutely not how I picture him, and I actually covered up that part of the cover the entire time I was reading this so it wouldn't ruin my mental image of him.
Overall, I loved this novel. I really did, and I'm dying for a sequel. Let's hope it comes out soon!
(Vampire Empire Series: Book One)
The Greyfriar is a fine, rip-roaring ride. It's what I call a popcorn muncher, because I could easily see this being translated to the big screen and debut as a summer blockbuster flick. It has adventure, horror, romance, and - be still my beating heart - sword-fighting with vampires! It reads like greased lightening, and I have no doubt that it will be perfectly entertaining to the great majority of fantasy junkies out there. The Greyfriar definitely pleased me, and it joins the rank of books that fit into several categories with its steampunk, romance, and post-apocalyptic mix.
Is it perfect? No. When I compared it to a summer blockbuster film I was paying it an enormous compliment and giving it a little poke as well. It's sort of a back-handed compliment, because the story is utterly formulaic. I knew what was coming with clockwork precision, and I get a little bummed when there aren't any surprises in the bag. This element of predictability extended to the characters as well, and whenever Adele "sneered" at something in the beginning, I knew she'd repent later on. None of the characters displayed any hidden depth, and it was blatantly obvious whether someone was a white hat or a black hat from the get go.
I'd like to see the series depart from the formula just enough to toss the reader a few surprises in the next book, but maybe I should just shut my trap because fans seem to adore this book just the way it is. The enormous entertainment value of the story and the solid world-building easily carry it into "brain candy" territory as far as I'm concerned, but I can't help hoping for some genuine twists in the second book of the Vampire Empire series.
Then, I read chapter two. What happened to the strong action verbs, the detailed descriptions, the flowing easy-to-read sentences? Gone. All of them, leaving an overuse of weak verbs 'ing' me to death, weak descriptions and choppy, sloppy sentences. I forced myself to keep reading, hoping I'd just hit a rough patch, but the quality of the writing and storytelling never improved.
However, my biggest complaint was that the characters were less than one-dimensional. Not caring about them made me not care about following their story.
Again, I really wanted to like this book and I'm glad so many other readers have. I'm giving it two stars for action and for trying really hard.
Once it was revealed that the lead male was a vampire I was really let down. I even had to set the Kindle aside to get over my initital disappointment so that I could continue to read the book. I figured I'd already paid the $10, might as well try to enjoy and, maybe, despite the cliches, I would come to love it.
One humorous (and positive toward the authors) note is that this is some of the best and most "realistic-seeming" depiction of vampires I've read. These are not sparkly and cutsey vampires... but real monster types with retractable claws and a freaky hissing noise that serves as communication. But THAT being said, it made it that much harder for me to imagine the male lead as attractive or even plausible as an object of affection. Because he's learned to speak English and can flip the pages of a book... that makes him "human-like" and not like the scary vampires he's related too? Pa-lease.
Besides the premise, I had other issues too that lowered and lowered the stars for me. The prose is limited. The dialogue started off great and then got cliche: When Clark says "I'd KINDA like to meet my bride..." you might as well add gum chewing smack noises and "like, totally" to that phrase.
I found having two writers to be distracting. Not sure who does what, but the style seemed to be choppy. It would flow in parts and become incredibly stilted in others, where you feel you're being told what's happening and you lost the "novel" feel. I don't know if one writes and the other edits or if they take turns... but you could tell there was more than one voice in there and it just served to distract me. One of the writers is clearly better at dialogue.
The characters are static - meaning they never change or evolve from page one to the last page. When you invest time in a book you want to see SOME type of change happening to the characters or the environment. The characters are cliche and one dimensional - they have very little inner dialogue, opinions, or passions. They say exactly what they "should" at the barest minimum.
"I'm a princess! I spend time at court!"
"As a vampire, I can't be a part of your world."
Fabulous!! Can we give them some gum to chew here too? When I read the last page, I was incredibly annoyed with them, the authors, the money, the time invested. What a bunch of garbage. IF I had read this on an ameteaur writing site I would have been impressed with the attempt. Seeing as how it's presented as a real novel, count me as a two star reader. I was also annoyed it ends on such an absurd cliffhanger. No, I will not be reading the other two books because I can already predict how it ends. To invest $20 and about ten hours of my life just won't happen.
In my last real complaint, I'd like to know why this book wasn't presented as teen or kid lit. This is NOT an adult book. It could be the incredibly dumbed down dialogue and style, but it read like a teen lit novel, complete with teenage heroine. They continually refer to the princess and her brother as children and that was pretty ridiculous to me. In a steampunk/ romance/ horror/ vampire/ war novel I want some kind of action. Death action, fight action, kiss action, sex action, SOMETHING people. There is the most G-rated vampire story I have ever read. The fight scenes are alluded to, rather then happen. And the death is told as an afterthought, as to distance you. The way this book is written never allows you to connect with what you're seeing.
I gave them two stars for the original idea presented at the beginning of the book. Vampires take over the world and send the humans toward the equator, yes, love it. Royal family poised on the edge of war to take back what's there, yes, love it. Even the princess poised to marry for political reasons, ok, tropey, but I was still liking it. I was overlooking the silly dialogue and the ok writing because I thought the concept was unique. WHY, oh WHY, did the writers give into temptation to make this book just like every book out there?
"Um, I KINDA want my $10 back."
PS. I hate to get all Joseph Conrad on you, but where are the native people of the equator in this novel? All the northerners have invaded the southern territories... with little to no mention of islanders, diversity, or what happened there. I guess, as always in history, the northerners just pushed them aside.