The Kingmakers (Vampire Empire #3) by Clay and Susan Griffith
September 4, 2012
Reviewed by Tori
Favorite Quote: “How will history judge me? I care not.”
The Kingmakers is the dramatic, pulse pounding, emotional, heart wrenching conclusion to Clay and Susan’s epic Vampire Empire trilogy. From the first sentence of The Greyfriar (book one), I was instantly swept away into an incredible adventure of unimaginable horror, and an impossible romance so pure, that it shatters your heart. At the end of The Rift Walker (book two), Adele and Greyfriar exposed betrayers within Adele’s empire and gained valuable allies. Some of Adele’s trusted allies and hidden enemies have found out the Greyfriar’s secret (he is really Prince Gareth) and now they both wait to see what they will do with that information.
The Kingmaker is a splendid conclusion to the spellbinding magic of The Vampire Empire. Filled with mind boggling political intrigue, betrayal, deception, magic and a healthy dose of romance-you can’t help but be swept away by this epic trilogy. The Greyfriars was Greyfriar’s story. The Rift Walker was Adele’s story. The Kingmakers is their story. We begin with an intense battle scene as the war with the vampires has escalated.. Adele’s beloved General Anhalt and Greyfriar are leading her troops against the vampires, but there are high losses to the Equatorian army.
Adele has grown so much since she first met Gareth. The young teenage princess has become the empress of a nation. A nation that looks to her for guidance and protection. Adele has realized that her happiness is second to what her people need. With that, she decides she can no longer sit on the sidelines and watch her country’s possible desecration, so she ignores protocol and heads to the battlefront. We now witness the power she has gained in reference to her Geomancy magic. A power that could turn the war in their favor.
The subtle romance that flavored the series takes a heavy, firmer stance in here. We see more one on one scenes between Adele and her consort that serve to backlight decisions both of them make regarding the war and their life together. It remains an integral part of the arc and the Griffith’s did a fantastic job of slowly building their love affair to the pivotal point it reaches in The Kingmakers. While the storyline isn’t new, enemies turned lovers, the way in which they develop the romance is indicative of their craftsmanship. Adele and Gaeth are soul mates. I adore them. They have each proven time and time again the sacrifices they will make for one another. They are only truly at peace when they are together.
The moment the door closed, he grabbed her arm and pulled her to him in a deep embrace. She crushed against him, her mind filled only with the desire of him. His leather glove held the nape of her neck and tilted her head up as she pulled the cloth from his sharp-featured face so he could kiss her. His long, dark hair brushed her face. She thought only of the long days and nights without him, filled with worry and want.
The Griffith’s used the first two books to expand and develop this world while focusing on deeper development and commitment of the characters. We have now reached the end and everything the Griffith’s has prepared us for is now being revealed. There can be only one winner and Adele and Gareth know it must be the humans, even at the expense of their own lives.
The secondary cast still remain as strongly defined as our protagonists. Rather than simply extending the storyline, they expand and lift it. Senator Clark, along with Flay, General Anhalt, and Mamoru all excel in their scenes and play their parts brilliantly. General Anhalt excels in his devotion and love for Adele. He is her right hand and I love how secure he is in his place at her side.
“How long do you think you can maintain your strength, my old friend?”
Anhalt watched his beloved Adele depart. “As long as she needs me. As long as she needs me.”
Flay is as dangerous as ever and I do appreciate the fact that the Griffith’s never attempted to humanize her. She is a vampire warrior and a killer. Just as she should be. Mamoru. Poor Mamoru. His deception is finally out in the open and we all shudder with sorrow at the lengths he goes to complete his agenda. We don’t see much of Caesar though his presence remains a dark shadow over the story. I admit I missed seeing more of him and watching his plans reveal side by side as Adele’s did.
Multiple storylines and subplots run parallel and intertwine with some staggering revelations. Gareth is finding it harder and harder to play the role of the Greyfriar. He feels he is not doing enough, especially concerning his brother, Cesare. Adele worries about her people and Gareth, trying to figure out a way for everyone to survive the horror that cannot be denied. I love that her humanity both restricts and frees her. Everyone has their own agenda and the wrap ups are deliciously devious. New reveals are made, alliances change, and new enemies are found. There are still quite a few humorous scenes and dialogue in here that engage and give the reader a respite from the seriousness of the story.
"But he is a fearsome warrior. Known far and wide as the deadliest hunter his kind has yet produced. In fact, Gareth is credited with the killing of -"
Adele touched his sleeve as her lips quirked upward. "Um, yes. We get the point. Prince Gareth is a god among vampires."
The swordsman lowered his head with a rebuked cough. "Well, he is known to be quite impressive is my only point."
The ending is exactly as it should be. A tantalizing combination of excitement and despair we which we learn the fate of Adele, Gareth, and the world. Even though this is the last book of the trilogy, I do hope the Griffith’s think about writing more of Adele’s and Gareth’s adventures. I, for one, would love to see more of this world and the couple we have come to love. Regardless of whether they do or not, The Vampire Empire series remains on my top ten must read list in Fantasy.