The Greyfriar (Vampire Empire- Book 1) by Clay Griffith & Susan Griffith
November 18, 2010
Paperback, 320 Pages
Reviewed by Tori
Favorite Quote: “That a few marks on this paper can bring you my heart in my absence is great magic. Life is now a constant source of wonder.”
In 1870 vampires declared war on the humans and swept through the Northern lands like a plague; destroying everything and everyone in their path. Millions of humans died. Millions more died later due to famine and disease. The human survivors fled south to the tropics due to the vampires intolerance for the hotter climates. Once there the human began to rebuild their society’s and dreams with a feverish abandonment.
Now the year is 2010 and the humans are preparing for a bloody war to reclaim their heritage and rid the world of the vampire scrounge. Caught in the middle of this inevitable war is Princess Adele and a mysterious man called the Greyfriar who’s dangerous relationship with each other will challenge and defy everything and everyone in their lives.
The Greyfriar is a breath of fresh air in the over populated vampire genre. This epic debut unveils a steampunk adventurist storyline with an alternative historic view of vampires and humans. Smooth writing combined with dark gothic world building immediately engrossed me into the storyline and the characters that inhabit it. Vampires have almost completely desecrated the human population. Those that survived and could escape did. Those that couldn’t escape serve as cattle (food) for the vampires. The world that the Griffiths has introduced to us is extraordinary in it’s simplistic yet complex layout.
We are immediately drawn in to the political and social hierarchy of each world created after the Vampire uprising. The Vampire Empire is set up like a monarch, the vampires adhere rather fanatically to social and time worn traditions. Though fantastically chilling in their cruelty we also see that not all are blinded by their hatred for the humans. Some see themselves for what they are-parasites with no actual meaning or use in the world around them.
The humans have rebuilt and modernized in some instances yet remained the same in others. Still using a monarch hierarchy similar to the vampires; the humans have evolved in their quest for previous dominance by developing better weapons and using all resources to understand the vampires better in order to defeat them once and for all.
Strong, well defined characters are the focal point in this action packed passionate drama. There are three main characters who promote and carry the story-Princess Adele, the Greyfriar, and Lord Gareth.
Princess Adele is the daughter of Empire Constantinople and next in line to the throne. Though raised in the tradition of royalty she does not exhibit a spoiled pampered persona but rather an serious “old soul” attitude that belays her young age of only 19. Though you suspect her of ingrained strength-it was exhilarating to watch her develop and morph into a strong warrior who not only uses ingrained talents but her intelligence as well.
The Greyfriar is thought to be nothing more then a myth. A fantasy figure who’s battles the vampires from within their own stronghold and told as a bedtime story to young boys and girls. But when Princess Adele and her younger brother Prince Simon are viciously attacked by vampires, the Greyfriar comes to their rescue. Secretive in his identity, the Greyfriar is just what Adele has been looking for.
Lord Gareth Lord of Scotland, is a vampire and heir to the vampire king. Despite his prodigy, Gareth is not like the others. He sees the beauty in humanity and fights a hard battle between family loyalty and doing what is inherently right. All three learn and grow though out the book as perceptions are made and illusions shattered.
Secondary characters are just as exciting and well developed. The villains are built of hate and deception. You cannot help but like them for they are exactly as they should be. I found myself equally entranced with knowing more about them and look forward to the battles that will result in later books.
The subtle romance we encounter is as emotional as it is revealing. Rather like following a twisted path of thorny vines-it’s only when you look beyond the outward appearance that you see the small fragile blossoms that appear in between the thorns. Well played as it shifts in and out of the story-neither overpowering nor becoming lost in the arc.
As I came to the conclusion of the story I found myself unwilling to let go; maybe thinking it would magically produce more pages if I stared at it long enough. Alas, it did not. Climatic in it’s resolution, the ending satisfies the story dramatically and heart stopping but leaves enough open to assure me that the next in this series will be a “must have” for 2011.
I wholeheartedly recommend this book for all those who are looking for a fresh and addicting voice in the vampire genre. You will not be disappointed.