What is great about The Greyfriar: Vampire Empire is that it is a refreshing take on vampire lore. In this book vampires do not sparkle like jewels, burst into flames in direct sunlight, or increase their numbers by feeding humans their demon blood. Rather, the vampires in this tale are a powerful race that has always existed deep within the forests and far beneath the bowls of human cities. They waited centuries for their chance to take their rightful place on the surface, but the opportunity did not arise until humans began to lose their faith. Religion, magic, and prayer no longer held sway with the masses and technology became a thing of worship. Humans had made themselves vulnerable to attack because their machines were no match against such unimaginable strength.
One of the most intriguing questions brought up in this book is that if vampires need humans to survive indefinitely, which race is the stronger of the two species? When vampires rose up and conquered entire continents, they drove those who survived the slaughter into the south. Humans found sanctuary in the tropics and over time rebuilt their government and repopulated their cities. Humans don’t need vampires to survive and even in the darkest of times were able to band together and rebuild what they had lost. The main character, Princess Adele is the key to uniting the free nations in the war against the vampires, and it is her journey that makes this story really remarkable.
Adele starts out a naive, pampered princess who never ventured far beyond the castle walls and by the story’s end becomes a mature, resourceful woman worthy of taking the throne. Her transformation begins when she is abducted by a faction of vampires determined to incite a war with the south. Her companion, the legendary vampire hunter Greyfriar, goes to great lengths to free her from their clutches, but if Adele is to survive her imprisonment, she must learn to rely on her own strength. Greyfriar’s actions at first seem to stem from a sense of honor, but the further readers delve into the story, the more it becomes clear that the Greyfriar is not what he seems.
The relationship between Adele and Greyfriar was my favorite aspect of this story. They start out as strangers, but eventually develop a bond that is both heartwarming and heartbreaking to read. Greyfriar possesses many secrets, but through their travels, he opens up to Adele and their tentative alliance blossoms into an unforgettable romance. If you’re looking for a steampunk fantasy with an original premise, imaginative world building, and a romance that will leave your heart aching for more, then The Greyfriar: Vampire Empire is not to be missed!
Rating: 5/5 Stars