The Greyfriar (Vampire Empire, Book One) by Clay and Susan Griffith
Short Review: A well read interesting blend of airships, vampires, alternate history and a strong princess coming of age and discovering her strength.
Long Review: This is one of those books where you know early on that you are meant to root for the unlikely ‘bad guy’ hero and boo the shiny ‘good guy’ megalomaniac. While part of me felt a bit manipulated, the story was quite fun once I let go that I wanted it to be more inventive or surprising. James Marsters finds a way to pull you in with the voices and the pacing.
Part of me was holding a grudge for the cover art. I hate when the art doesn’t match my interpretation of the text or gives something away. But honestly, when I admitted that this was halfway to a romance novel I didn’t begrudge them their dashing couple on the cover. The fact that the female lead is strong, with hints of greater strength in her future, helped keep me interested as well.
The authors did a nice job creating an alternate history with their own version of vampires. I liked the steampunk touches in the form of airships, clothing and overall tone. There was also a dash of swashbuckling pirate flavor tossed in. As is often the case with the first book in what is known will be a series, a lot of this story lays the foundation for what I imagine must be on the way. I will say that this gave more time for character development and very vivid descriptions that give you a real sense of this alternate version of the year 2020.
James Marsters did a great job. I am not sure I would have stuck with this book long enough to really get hooked if there hadn’t been a strong reader. Now I just have to wait for them to release the audio version of the sequel, The Rift Walker.