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The Greyfriar (Vampire Empire, Book 1) by…

The Greyfriar (Vampire Empire, Book 1) (edition 2010)

by Clay Griffith, Susan Griffith

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3023837,648 (3.96)15
Title:The Greyfriar (Vampire Empire, Book 1)
Authors:Clay Griffith
Other authors:Susan Griffith
Info:Pyr (2010), Edition: 1, Paperback, 301 pages
Collections:Adult, Read but unowned
Tags:audiobook, vampires, fiction, fantasy, 2012, war, steampunk, strong women

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The Greyfriar by Clay Griffith



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Showing 1-5 of 38 (next | show all)
Vampire Empire, Book One: The Greyfriar is a mix of paranormal, steampunk, and post-apocalyptic life. We are introduced to many of the key players that one can assume we will continue to see. Princess Adele, Greyfriar, Senator Clark, and one nasty vampire Prince who is set to take the throne as well as the whole world.

You see, back in 1870 the vampires let themselves be known to all of mankind. In a well developed and plotted sweep that lasted only two years, the vampires undid the human world. Cities as we know them fell to their hands, and the people fled south to regroup. Now, in 2020, humans have been rebuilding, strengthening, and waiting for the day to start a major war against the vampires.

One of the largest nations is the massive Empire Equartoria to which the Princess Adele is the rightful heir. When she is sent out on a mission tour, her air ship as well as the accompanying ships, are attacked by Prince Cesare the heir of the vampire clan in England. While his right hand woman, Flay, tries to secure the Princess, a mysterious man appears out of nowhere to save the day.

Greyfriar comes to the rescue of the Princess, and tries to keep her safe. He wears a mask over his face to cover his identity, and he's armed to the hilt with guns and swords. Princess Adele feels safe by his side, but she has no idea of the deep secrets he hides. The clandestine mask he wears is only the sheer beginning of who, or what, this man is.

Will the Princess and Greyfriar thwart the plans of the twisted vampire Prince? Can Adele accept what lies behind the mask? Tsk, Tsk... You will have to read it to find out!

I had a good feeling about this story just from the cover. It is such a lovely cover, really. Air ships, a good looking duo, dressed to kill – literally kill! But then I opened up the book, and found myself enthralled with the story presented to me. Each page is filled with conflict, action, mystery or suspense that kept me hanging onto to every word.

I think the characters are highly developed, and I loved the word painted scenery of desolate Europe. I enjoyed the descriptions of the steam powered ships, as well as the other little knick knacks here and there. If it weren't for the vampires, I wouldn't of minded living there.

Then there was the end, and my heart sank just a little bit. Then I remembered, “Hey, this is only the FIRST book!” I am really looking forward to the next part of the series. If you're thing to read is alternate history, steampunk, or action than pick this one up for a downright good read. ( )
  AuthorRaeZRyans | May 24, 2014 |
Believe the hype. I could stop here but I'll explain. The writing is superbly strong, Adele our heroine is an amazing girl to look up to, the world is rich and interesting to explore, the romance is realistic, well-developed and engaging. Minor characters are given more than two lines and their characterization is a stroke of genius. This book has some of the most well-written relationships I've ever come across - Adele and her brother Simon's relationship is spot on and endearing, the authors are incredibly warm and generous and it shows in the characters they create. I loved this book. ( )
  RubyScarlett | Nov 11, 2013 |
3.5 stars ( )
  mearias | Sep 23, 2013 |
RATING: 3.5 star-ish.

I was torn on how to rate this book; should I give it three or four stars? I liked it enough to give it four, but the it's structure is flawed enough to earn it only three. While "The Greyfriar" was a pleasant read, there were things I didn't like much. I ended up giving it three stars, but I can tell you it was pretty close to four. Maybe it's because I haven't read many steampunk books or the fact that I loved the authors' characterization of vampires.

The story takes place in 2020, in an alternate reality. At the end of the 19th century, vampires came out of the shadows and attacked the human populations of the North. The humans, unprepared were beaten and driven out of Europe and North America. They established their empires in the South where the warmer climates protected them from the vampiric threat.

150 years later, the status quo is still in place. Humans in the North, dominated by vampires are little more than cattle; in the South, great human empires were born fueled by steam and oil. Neither race is strong enough to attack. That is, until princess Adele of the Equatorian (British) Empire agrees to marry Senator Clark, a powerful man in the equally great American Republic. The union is seen as a threat by the vampire clans and Adele is in danger.
When her ship crashes in the North, she is rescued by the Greyfriar, a mysterious rebel who fights vampires in their own territory.

As I said before, I enjoyed this book. It was an interesting read, with decent world-building (not very original, sure, it is a typical steampunk-ish society) and a few good characters.

Still, it took me a while to get immersed in the story. The first few chapters weren't very interesting for me as they focused on battles and the introduction of the main characters: Adele, the Greyfriar, Flay and Cesare. I was pretty bored with the substandard and cliched action scenes and unimpressed by the Greyfriar. Princess Adele seemed to have potential, though.

Half the book later, I started liking it more and more. Adele is trapped in the North and gets to learn much about vampires and their culture. The book really shined then, with descriptions of vampire anatomy and customs and how they differed from humans. The two authors managed to portray their vampires in an original and intriguing way and when Prince Gareth was introduced I was much more interested.

It was also halfway through the book that the romance (very subtle and well done) was introduced. It may have been part of the reason why the second half appealed to me more, because the romance seemed to add depth to the plot which had, until then, been little more than skirmishes and blood. I loved the sort of "Beauty and the Beast" feel of the book, with Gareth eager to learn more about humans and Adele realizing there was more to vampires.

Of course, there was still action and fights and blood (this is not a girl book, after all), but I felt the plot had gained with the introduction of the romantic story and the consequent development of the characters.

I didn't particularly like the Greyfriar, he didn't seem to have much personality... which is understandable, given his identity. I liked Princess Adele well enough and loved the fact that Gareth kept a gazillion cats. I wasn't too fond of Clark, which is probably what the authors intended; I just wish they hadn't been so obvious about it. Clark is pretty one-dimensional, only there to make us root for the couple and little else.

Overall: this book is definitely a solid start to the trilogy. The quality of the narrative seemed to fluctuate a bit and I thought the first half of the book a little boring and simplistic. The second half is better, with marked character development. It almost seems like these two parts were written by different authors (maybe they were, at that) trying to appeal to different readers (male and female perhaps) which would be okay if they blended seamlessly... which they don't. Still, I liked this book and will probably read the sequel. ( )
  slayra | Sep 21, 2013 |
Vampires and steampunk! The former, obviously, is a topic that's been wildly popular for years and years. The latter, as well, has been a subgenre gaining more traction in the science fiction and fantasy world lately, hence the fact that I would finally stumble across a book which unites both concepts in the foundation for its story was only a matter of time! What did strike me as a pleasant surprise, however, was finding a book that does this so well.

The Greyfriar is set in an alternate history in which humans and vampires have been locked in a bitter war for more than a century. In 1870, the blood drinkers rose up to conquer the northern lands, driving the humans towards warmer climes. Now, the young princess Adele of Equatoria is to wed the famed vampire hunter senator of the American Republic, their marriage to be the start of an alliance to take back their lands. But a month before the wedding, an ambush on the princess' airship throws all plans into turmoil. Adele's way home now involves a partnership with the Greyfriar, a semi-legendary figure who has become a symbol of humanity's fight against the vampires.

Notice I say "partnership with" and not "dependency upon", because as princesses go, Adele is far from your dainty damsel in distress and can most certainly hold her own. In this book, both the main protagonist and also the enemy vampire warchief are female characters one would not be wise to cross, as each woman has a commanding presence about them in their own way. With Adele, I loved her for her independence, intelligence, fighting skills, as well as for her protectiveness and love for her little brother. All the characters here are pretty well written, but it's extra nice having a heroine I genuinely like and enjoy reading about.

Still, while I'm steadfastly rooting for Adele, it's hard not to be drawn to the vampires as well, with their fascinating empire, politics, family conspiracies and infighting among their peerage. The vampires in this book are atypical enough not to bore me, with their strange biological quirks allowing their bodies to be lighter and to "float" in the air, and it amuses me to no end how disdainful they are of human myths like the ones claiming vampires to be their own dead risen to life. Their culture is well defined, like everything else in this book's world.

My favorite part, though, is the thread of romance woven through the second half of the book! Admittedly, as much as I enjoy love stories, romance in these types of books usually make me balk -- like, seriously, why spoil a perfectly awesome action adventure tale by forcing a contrived and cringe-worthy romantic side plot just for the sake of having it? And yet, the thing is, the love story in this book could not have been more natural and just...totally appropriate, like it belongs. I don't know what it is, but perhaps the fact that the authors are a married couple who have been writing and publishing together for years has something to do with it, because the attraction between Adele and Greyfriar felt passionate, gradual, sweet, real and -- most importantly -- earned. None of that insta-love nonsense.

Plus, no worries if romance isn't your thing; as I've said, it's not the dominant focus and does not overtake the entire story, and I liked how there were just as many if not more action-oriented battles and fight scenes in this book. In fact, my only wish is that the novel was better paced and balanced. After a very bombastic introduction, it wasn't until halfway through the book that my enthusiasm spiked again, but once it did, you can be sure I was completely enamored. I read the second half all in one sitting, and loved every minute of it. ( )
  stefferoo | Aug 25, 2013 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Griffith, Clayprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Griffith, Susanmain authorall editionsconfirmed
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In 1870, vampires took over the northern regions of the world, forcing the surviving humans to flee to the southern hemisphere. Now the year is 2020 and Princess Adele, a human, is on the verge of coming to power just as a final war with the vampires is approaching.… (more)

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