May 29, 2012 by ataleofmanybookreviews
Author: Clay and Susan Griffith
Publisher: Pyr (Prometheus Books)
Release: September 6, 2011
Review Copy: Kindly sent from publisher
Length: 300 pages
Recommend: Julie says, “The Griffiths continue to deliver one of the best epic stories I’ve read.”
Princess Adele struggles with a life of marriage and obligation as her Equatorian Empire and their American Republic allies stand on the brink of war against the vampire clans of the north. However, the alliance’s horrific strategy for total victory drives Adele to abandon her duty and embark on a desperate quest to keep her nation from staining its hands with genocide. Reunited with her great love, the mysterious adventurer known to the world as the Greyfriar, Adele is pursued by her own people as well as her vengeful husband, senator Clark. With the human alliance in disarrray, Prince Cesare, lord of the British vampire clan, seizes the initiative and strikes at the very heart of Equatoria.
As Adele labors to bring order to her world, she learns more about the strange powers she exhibited in the north. Her teacher, Mamoru, leads a secret cabal of geomancers who believe Adele is the one who can touch the vast power of the Earth that surges through ley lines and wells up at the rifts where the lines meet. These energies are the key to defeating the enemy of mankind, and if Princess Adele could ever bring this power under her command, she could be death to vampires. But such a victory will also cost the life of Adele’s beloved Greyfriar.
The Rift Walkeris the second book in a trilogy of high adventure and alternative history. Combining rousing pulp action with steampunk style, the Vampire Empire series brings epic politcal themes to life within a story of heartbreaking romance, sacrifice, and heroism.
The first book, The Greyfriar, was my 2010 Best Steampunk Pick.
Review by Julie
The Vampire Empire trilogy is quickly becoming one of my all time favorites. The Rift Walker is book two and filled with more action and life or death situations than one reader can bear. Book one, The Greyfriar, left the main characters Adele and Greyfriar apart with an unknown future. By the end of The Rift Walker, we are left with an all too unsettling plot twist that includes a very vicious vampire.
The Griffiths have created a world where humans and vampires are enemies, yet between the love of Adele and Greyfriar, I am truly rooting for some sort of truce and cohabitation. I think this is probably a Utopian view on my part because the studies Adele continues with her teacher is making her a very powerful weapon to kill vampires. I’m torn knowing that if Adele sees her full potential through; it could very well mean no future for her and Greyfriar. In fact, Greyfriar would have to be sacrificed for the greater human good. This is a dilemma Adele may be faced with as she grows stronger. This book is more about Adele coming into her own and realizing who she is as a future Empress.
One character I am growing to love is Anhalt, head guard to Adele. This man is someone every person should be so lucky to have as a friend. I’m not sure there are people this loyal and true in real life, but in the book, I’d want him by my side. In fact, my favorite quote from the book is “… I will fall on you like unholy hell. Do I make myself clear?” Oh, that Anhalt has passion! One character I’m still not sure about is Mamoru, Adele’s teacher. He makes my blood boil in this book at times and others so guiding.
Greyfriar seems to take a step back in this book since it is more about Adele and her journey. He is in many scenes and ever present with Adele, but this book is more about the action, the war, the battles, twists to gain power, and murdering reigning monarchs than love scenes. Although, the printed stories and plays that are written and performed about Adele and Greyfriar I think are a nice bit of humor referred to throughout the book. I’m not sure what to think about how Greyfriar is handling the situation in the north with Cesare. However, since this book was more about Adele and her journey, I’m not making any judgments until book three as to how Greyfriar really handles Cesare.
The writing I can say nothing negative about. It is fluid and seamless, not once was I brought out of the story from something distracting about the writing or editing. The dialogue is believable and appropriate. The scenes are well placed, the story well paced, settings and action scenes well described. The characters are well developed and I even invested in the villains! The steampunk elements continue with airships and weapons, but it is not overdone, nor are you constantly reminded this is a steampunk book. The story takes over and you just read a gripping tale.
If you are a fan of The Greyfriar, you will want to read The Rift Walker. This story is not like most where the reader is mainly reading to see the final outcome of the two love interests. The Vampire Empire story is a gripping tale of not only love, but power, politics, war, loyalties, lines drawn, assassinations, and a species fight for survival. You will swoon for the love and your heart will race for the action. The Griffiths continue to deliver one of the best epic stories I’ve read.
The Vampire Empire trilogy is also being made into an audiobook with Jame Marsters (Spike from Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel) narrating!
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