Friday, February 3, 2012

Review of Vampire Empire Book One: The Greyfriar

Vampire predators run wild in this exciting steampunk adventure, the first in an alternate history trilogy that is already attracting attention. In 1870, monsters rise up and conquer the northern lands, As great cities are swallowed up by carnage and disease, landowners and other elite flee south to escape their blood-thirsty wrath.

One hundred fifty years later, the great divide still exists; fangs on one side of the border, worried defenders on the other. This fragile equilibrium is threatened, then crumbles after a single young princess becomes almost hopelessly lost in the hostile territory. At first, she has only one defender—a mysterious Greyfriar who roams freely in dangerous vampire regions.
For me personally, this book deserves an award. Small cut scene for back story to fill you in so you all have a better understanding of some things. You see, somehow over the last two months or so, my mind (and body for that matter) has entered what I can only describe as a time warp, a wormhole that goes forward and backward and stays still all at the same time, a flux in the time space continuum maybe. As a long time fan of Star Trek, I have boldly gone where no man has gone before. Honestly, after about a week of recovery (and some seriously good vegetable soup) I am only now coming to grips with what I have just experienced. I tell you folks, the longer I take to digest the issue the less pretty it looks. I am going to take a brief minute to talk to you all about.... Skyrim. The developers of this game have exceeded hard core hypnosis. I am talking about serious brain and body function manipulation here. In fact, if Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (sorry Mr. Thompson) were a video game set in the Nordic age... it could be called Skyrim. And in conclusion, a warning to those thinking of tempting the hills, plains, mountains and dungeons of Skyrim, tread lightly young lords, you may never come back! MUAHHHAHAHAHAHA, MUAHAHAHAHAHA! LAAS! YAH! NIR! Holy @*#^! Where was I? Yeah, yeah... books BOOOKS BOOOOOOKS, Book review. OK.

The point of all that is this. I was on the verge of full body and social comatose, and it was Vampire Empire Book One: The Greyfriar that slapped me in the face and said, "Travis!! SNAP OUT OF IT, LAD! YOU... LOVE.... BOOKS!!!! Come back to us, we beg of you!". Clay and Susan Griffith have created quite a gem here that has everything that I look for in a good series starter. From the very beginning it immersed me in this new / old age where our planet has seemingly been divided in half. In the north, Vampires. Ruthless monsters, once held back  to the depths of the earth. Now they have taken over whole cities with their rage and total animal instinct to rise in power to dominate the humans very existence. And then my fellow man, forced to abandon their homes. Whole villages, cities evacuated to find shelter in the warmer south where the vamps are more bothered by the heat. The writing in the novel was very well paced, equal parts fast and... well not slow per say, but.. toned down to a brisk walk. The Griffiths also paint a vivid picture where I could imagine almost every scene of the book laying out in front of me as I turned the pages. The world is a vibrant one where the characters told about flourish with a life you can totally imagine. At least that was the case for me. So, let me tell you a little of what I liked about the characters. Adele, our princess of the story blew away my initial expectations I had for her. I really don't like the prissy princess's who can't take a punch in the face every now and again. No, Adele really surprised me in that she knows her duties as a princess and she understands what is expected of her, because one day she will run an entire nation. I like that you could tell by some of the scenes that she has been trained for this. That her life before hand has not just been some silver spoon living.  And although she has her reservations about going into some pretty shady things, she finds her backbone and gets on with it! Splendidly, I may add. Another thing that kept me reading was the sneaky little trick the Griffith's played me with, using the lovely heroine as bait. The more you read, the more hints are dropped that our princess is much more than even she knows about.... dun, dun, duuuuuun! I kept feeling like I was a horse with a carrot being fishin' poled in front of me. I kept expecting this pinnacle moment where Adele swings into action with her jeweled special blade a' flashin, and then  opens her mouth and........... FUS! RO! DAH!!! Oh Snap! Wrong fu*&^ng story. Sorry, sorry! But, that is what I felt like. I REALLY hope she develops more as the series progresses. I could really snuggle into some bad ass princess snnaz. Alright, lets talk about the Greyfriar a little bit here.. Superhero persona, check. Cool as hell superhero steam punk costume, check. Solid sword wielding skills that slice the suckers to smithereens, check and check. So, we have man on the right, woman on the left... and BLAMO!  Bad Romance. And what does Lady Gaga say about Bad Romance... yeah, " I want it " And so do I Gaga, so do I. Pause for brief musical interlude... 

I don't own the rights to the video of course... Hope they don't mind I just put it up here. I don't care who you are... You gotta love some freakin' Gaga. So do it... ROCK THE GAGA!

Ok. After some awesome moves and some lip syncing we maybe good to go, lets finish this review, shall we?  I really dug the whole thing between Greyfriar and Adele. Like a steampunk, Victorian-style fairy tale, lalalalala la, la. I cannot help myself today... 

"Tale as old as time
True as it can be
Barely even friends
Then somebody bends

Just a little change
Small, to say the least
Both a little scared
Neither one prepared

I didn't make that up... I think it was Disney or someone. Come on! If Celine Dion can sing it... So can.... Well, maybe not. Alright... I am done, I promise. I am not giving ANYTHING AWAY, I TELL YOU, NOTHING. NOT ANOTHER WORD! Bottom line here is, I loved this book. Is it a little young adult ish'? Maybe. Is it maybe geared more toward the teenage swoon type girly girls? Meh, maybe. But who cares about stereo-types? I don't, and you shouldn't either. Because this book told an awesome story and kept me turning pages. Engaging characters that I want to know more about that drove my mind to the bookstore already to buy the second book. That is what makes it for me. It inspired something in me and I may not know exactly what that something was. But I like it. So what if it isn't your cup of tea. But ya gotta read it, if ya wanna find out. On an end note too... I am a HUGE Buffy fan and I was totally fan crazed salivating when I found out that James Marsters is doing the Unabridged audio of this first book and HOPEFULLY (fingers crossed) doing the rest as well. Hope to get my hands on a copy of that too!

As always, Thanks to the wonderful authors Clay and Susan Griffith. whose words walked me ever so carefully down from the mountain sanctuary of High Hrothgar. I think Vampire Empire will be a gem that shines for you for a very long time.

Until next time,
Stay on the grass.

4.75 / 5 peaches cause there awesome!


  1. It's damn fine to have you back man! lol I'm sure you were as pale as these steampunk vampires when you eventually emerged from your game room... lol keep in mind I haven't played Skyrim yet.. waiting till i get back!!!

    1. What's up Fella!! It is good to be back too. You don't realize how much you miss reading and reviewing until after you have been away from it for awhile. I could still be playing Skyrim, But I had to make a conscious effort to put down the paddle. The warning wasn't a bluff man, this game has some seriously addictive effects. Thanks for readin' the new review! This seemed to be just waht the doctor ordered to get me back into it. What's on deck for your blog next?

  2. Well I just finished The Company by K.J. Parker, now I'm reading A song for Arbonne by Guy Gavriel Kay, then it's The warded man, and its sequel... then idk maybe finally get around to reading The Wise Man's fear...