I was very skeptical of this one. I wasn’t sure what to think of it. It’s got fantasy. With history and a bit of steampunk added. Which is a great combination, but it really all boils down to the story and its’ characters. It’s certainly got a nice blend of fantasy/history as well and I liked that. I was really expecting something cheesy with a romance in it that’ll make my stomach turn. Thankfully I was wrong!
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.
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39 of 44 people found the following review helpful
Vampires - As they were meant to be!Nov. 15 2010
Melissa (i swim for oceans)
- Published on Amazon.com
Vampire Empire: The Greyfriar is the story of an alternate world history for humans here on Earth. Vampires roam freely, mercilessly killing, maiming, torturing, and taking hold of every inch of land available. Those few humans that did survive are either enslaved or have fled to the relative safety of the South. Now, in a world dominated by various cunning and intense Vampire Empires, the world conquests are fought between vampires, rather than men, and Adele, heir to Equatoria, is about to meet the mysterious and complex Greyfriar.
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.
17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
Blew me away! Shattered my expectations!Dec 22 2010
- Published on Amazon.com
(Summary from the back of the book) 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!
13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
I so wanted this one to be good, but alas ...Dec 7 2011
- Published on Amazon.com
I wanted to like this book, since the cover looked so steampunky and chapter one was so darned well written.
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.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
An excellent adventure, but it's too formulaic to earn a total raveJan. 3 2011
- Published on Amazon.com
Plot Summary: Following the Great Killing of the 1870s, vampires and humans have nearly divided the world in two. The cold-loving vampires have taken over the northern hemisphere, while the humans have fled and regrouped in the tropics. Nearly 150 years later, humans have developed steam and chemical based technologies that will allow them to start another war with the vampires, and genocide is their only goal. Princess Adele is the future Empress of the Equitorian Empire, and before her intended marriage to the American leader she is captured by the vampires during a tour of the border lands. Her only hope for escape is a renown vampire hunter known as The Greyfriar.
(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.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Breathtaking adventure and wonderful romance-I loved it!Jan. 15 2011
- Published on Amazon.com
I was really surprised by how much I enjoyed this book. The authors have a true gift, sweeping the reader away into their world. This story is epic. There is everything here-love, loss, honor, the battle for all mankind, discovery and romance. The main characters, Adele and Garreth are richly drawn, and when I finished the book I found myself missing them. The secondary characters were well developed and their motivations were understandable. The descriptions of Flay were so vivid that I felt myself cringing whenever she was about. The battle scenes are appropriately gory, giving the reader a true appreciation for the strength and viciousness of the vampires, and the formidable obstacles the humans would have to defeat them. The contrasts were not so black and white, showing the ignorance and prejudice that the humans have with regard to their enemy. Amazingly, they were able to imbue each of the characters with so much dimension that it all became "real" when reading. I am anxiously awaiting the next installment!