Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Greyfriar (Vampire Empire #1) by Clay Griffith & Susan Griffith

The Greyfriar (Vampire Empire #1) by Clay Griffith & Susan Griffith
Publisher:  Pyr
Publish Date:  November 18, 2010
ISBN:  978-1616142476
Pages:  301

I received this book from the authors' publicist for a review.

This book combines alternate world history, steampunk and vampires.  In short, it's awesome!  I really loved the characters, they were all drawn strongly and had their own personalities.  The main characters are:
Princess Adele, The Greyfriar, Senator Clarke, Colonel Anholt, Lord Kelvin, Mamoru, Flay and Prince Cesare.

The story goes that vampires rose up in The Great Killing of 1870 and began killing all the humans.  Now it's 2020, is it the humans turn to do the same?

The vampires can't stand the heart, so most of the surviving humans have their kingdoms around the equator now, while the vampires take places around Europe (mostly).  The vampires can fly by changing their body density, so they're very dangerous.  However, they hate to fly over water - what if they change density, fall and drown?!  They do fly airships, but they use 'bloodmen' for that.  'Bloodmen' are the humans that serve them willingly, in hopes that eventually they'll be turned into vampires.

There are 2 vampire princes:
              -1 wishes to live in peace with the humans and is kind and thoughtful
              -1 wants to kill all humans, rule the world and uses humans to advance his cause

Both want Princess Adele, but for very different reasons.

Princess Adele of the southern European states is promised to marry Senator Clarke of America (which has decidely moved southward). She isn't really interested, but is willing to do her duty for her country. On a political trip her airship is attacked by vampires and she's rescued by the mysterious man known as The Greyfriar.  He's a legend and no one thought he really existed.  The Princess ends up as a pawn between the human and vampire worlds.  Prince Gareth (vampire prince #1) and The Greyfriar are trying to help Princess Adele, while Prince Cesare (vampire prince #2) wants to use her in their political battles.

 The vampires come across first as animals-like and savage, but behind that you see all their families, political structure, logic, and strangely, a limited dexterity of their hands - which causes some jealousy of humans.

Adele is tough and strong-willed, and sometimes uncertain and fearful, but at the same time decisive.  She's pretty real and how you would think a vampire-fighting princess should be.  There's some romance, to be sure, but mostly it's innocent and sweet.

Ahh, Senator Clarke.  Imagine on old west cowboy on a steampunk airship with the arrogance of a spoiled rich boy.  Got it?  How could you NOT hate him?!  I hated him instantly and delighted in it!  I had to marvel at the way he handled things, even when I was hoping he was being beaten.  What a great character!

This book was a real surprise for me, I agreed to read this one and the second one for reviews; but I didn't expect to like it this much.  I recommend that you read this one, it was definitely overlooked this year! 

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