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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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286None39,137 (3.96)12
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 37 (next | show all)
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 |
Struggled between a 3 and 4 star. This was a good read... in the end a really good read but the beginning, not so much. OK, did the ending make up for the beginning... yes, because it resolved princess Adela's capture and the connection she definitely feels for the Greyfriar. It is a trilogy and the story leaves a lot in the air, which you hope will go in a certain direction.

OK, so why the choice of 3 stars really? Well, I found Adela to be a little immature in her judgment. She was taught vampires were evil, altogether evil but when she is shown that this is not the case, over and over, with one real big proof point, she doesn't believe it and still treats and acts as if the prince is evil. I thought this was too much. She knows all the history, even before what he did for her, for humans in general, and she still doesn't get it and allows her bigotry to rule. Luckily after a bit of that she finally comes around.

This added to the incredibly complicated and dull beginning, really first 1/2 of the book. I understand that it was build up to the second half but the Griffith's could have and should have made the politics and character building, quicker and more spread out. At times I was just barely hanging on to names and positions and I really didn't care because I knew nothing of the world or people. Many of the people that started reading this book have the same review of the slow start.

So did I like the book, yes. Am I going to continue the series, maybe. I know if I continue I must read the next two books because the end, doesn't happen until the end. These books leave a lot in the air. Do I feel I can stop the series now and it be a complete story, not really but kind of. It is a cliffhanger, as you don't know what the future holds for the main characters and it looks bleak but... the main story, the princess being returned home and safe, is answered. Reading reviews of the next books, I know that the characters finality does not happen until the very end of book 3. I don't know if I want to know about Adela and the Greyfriar enough to read the next two books. I have other series that I am enjoying more, therefore the 3 stars.

It was good, maybe at the end great, and maybe the next books would be better, but I don't know if I care quite enough to go on. ( )
  tivonut | Jul 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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