Reviewed by Tori
The uneasy stalemate between vampires and humans is over. Adele and Gareth are bringing order to a free Britain, but bloody murders in London raise the specter that Adele’s geomancy is failing and the vampires might return. A new power could tilt the balance back to the vampire clans. A deranged human called the Witchfinder has surfaced on the Continent, serving new vampire lords. This geomancer has found a way to make vampires immune to geomancy and intends to give his masters the ability to kill humans on a massive scale.
The apocalyptic event in Edinburgh weakened Adele’s geomantic abilities. If the Witchfinder can use geomancy against humanity, she may not have the power to stop him. If she can’t, there is nowhere beyond his reach and no one he cannot kill.
From a Britain struggling to rebuild to the vampire capital of Paris, from the heart of the Equatorian Empire to a vampire monastery in far-away Tibet, old friends and past enemies return. Unexpected allies and terrible new villains arise. Adele and Gareth fight side-by-side as always, but they can never be the same if they hope to survive. (Goodreads)
I was very excited to see the Griffith’s had decided to revisit this fascinating world they built in their Vampire Empire Trilogy. This continuation picks up a year after the events in The Kingmakers; telling us what happened after the Empress Adele unleashed her geomancy power on England and it’s vampires. Do you have to read the trilogy first? No, this one does quite well on its own, but by starting here, you will miss the setup of the world and it’s unique characters. Also, you’ll miss the beginning of the main protagonists relationship and the evolution that led them from being enemies to lovers.
The Geomancer opens in Scotland. Empress Adele of Equatoria and her consort, the vampire prince Gareth, aka the Greyfriar, are currently residing at Gareth’s estate when rumors surface of vampires repopulating Britain. Though Adele effectively wiped out most of the vampire population in Britain, she did stop short of destroying them all. She also left herself vulnerable as she is unable to feel the ley lines anymore. Following the rumors, Gareth and Adele find themselves in Paris where they learn of the Witchfinder. This supposed geomancer has allied with some of the vampires and has created an amulet that protects vampires from Adele’s geomancy. He is also working on a way to give vampires the ability to kill humans on a wide scale level.
In order to stop the Witchfinder and the new vampire uprising, Adele and Gareth find new allies while reacquainting themselves with some very old and dangerous enemies. Action and suspense take the reins as Adele and Gareth are forced search out a deadly artifact that could help or hinder them. Journeying across the continent (Asia) Adele and Gareth have ample time to assess their relationship and the perceptions they each hold towards the future of their respective species and themselves.
The Griffith’s have done an excellent job of picking up where they left off with nary a stumble in the storyline. Quite a feat for a three year hiatus. This adventurous steampunk story is action packed with suspense, intrigue, romance, and a surprising amount of humor that works well with the serious subject matter. Its alternative historic view of vampires and humans continues to spellbound with smooth writing, exceptional world building, and the dynamic characters that inhabit it. Strong, well defined characters are the focal point of this series. Though the main trilogy consisted of three main characters (in a sense) the Griffith’s expand their base with new faces that look to have a fine future in the coming storylines. There is a slow start as we are acquainted with the world, it’s players, and introduced to the new storylines. Once all that is out of the way, the pace picks up considerably.
The narrative focuses heavily on rebuilding and re-educating the world. The vampires hold on Britain has been crushed but Adele and Gareth know that they have a long way to go if they are to see any cohabitation between the two species. Adele is far more ambitious in this way of thinking then Gareth. He has long subscribed to the notion that vampires will eventually destroy themselves and cease to exist. Though they know it will be a battle long and hard fought, they luckily have some very strong and courageous allies at their side.
The romance is a main contender in here, having already been fleshed out and established in the previous books. It co-exists comfortably with the main storyline rather than attempting to overshadow it. It is strong and comfortable with some lovely soft intimate scenes but there are still problems with Adele and Gareth being together. He has not been able to shed his alter ego as many in the empire would not understand or tolerate a vampire at their queen’s right hand or bed. Adele also fears her geomancy. It’s still relatively unknown and she almost lost Gareth to it once. They will need to work on their own issues if they are to survive this relationship intact.
The secondary characters are just as define and dynamic as our protagonists. Rather than simply pad the storyline, they are an essential part of it. Flay, General Anhalt, Queen Catatonia, and Simon all excel in their scenes and gift us with additional explanations and clues to the roles they are playing. The scenes from Catatonia’s point of view goes far in explaining the political upheaval in Paris and the ever changing alliances of those involved. I love that the Griffith’s kept previously introduced characters true to their original descriptions.
Multiple storylines and subplots run parallel and intertwine with some staggering revelations and outcomes. As always, everyone has their own agenda and I look forward to seeing how it all plays out in the end. As we jettison towards the end, we are given a shockingly climatic ending of the main conflict with just enough left open to transition us seamlessly into the next book.
Clay and Susan Griffith has managed to submerge me effortlessly back into the world of the Vampire Empire and I look forward to reading the next Adele and Gareth adventure.