Tuesday, October 23, 2012
The Kingmakers by Clay and Susan Griffiths
Release Date: September 4, 2012
Source: Publisher in exchange for an honest review
The Kingmakers is in the middle of a blog tour! I'm not participating in this tour, but I think you should check out every stop on this tour! There are some great prizes.
A war to the death.
Empress Adele has launched a grand crusade against the vampire clans of the north. Prince Gareth, the vampire lord of Scotland, serves the Equatorian cause, fighting in the bloody trenches of France in his guise as the dashing Greyfriar. But the human armies are pinned down, battered by harsh weather and merciless attacks from vampire packs.
To even the odds, Adele unleashes the power of her geomancy, a fear- some weapon capable of slaughtering vampires in vast numbers. However, the power she expends threatens her own life even as she questions the morality of such a weapon.
As the war turns ever bloodier and Adele is threatened by betrayal, Gareth faces a terrible choice. Their only hope is a desperate strike against the lord of the vampire clans—Gareth's brother, Cesare. It is a gamble that could win the war or signal the final days of the Greyfriar.
The Vampire Empire trilogy rushes to a heart-wrenching conclusion of honor and love, hatred and vengeance, sacrifice and loss.(courtesy of Amazon)
Horror of horrors! The Vampire Empire series is over! At least it ends with a bang. The Kingmakers is a fabulous conclusion to one of my favorite series.
The book begins with Europe in full scale vampire war. And it's not going well for the humans. The vampires are thwarting all their plans. Almost as if they know their moves before they make them. Perhaps there are spies in Equatoria's mist. Adele and Greyfriar are the humans' best hope for victory. But they are only two people. The battles and politics are as complicated as ever in this final novel. They are described with a bit too much detail at times, making the book drag, especially at the beginning. But then again that attention to detail is one of the things that sets this series apart from others.
Adele and Greyfriar are as good as ever. I love Adele's bravery and skill in the battlefield. She is similarly intelligent in politics and strategy and shows compassion for her people. Greyfriar is one of my all time favorite characters. His subtle, dry wit is hilarious. Even Anhalt can't help like him. He is a man of action - he attacks first and thinks later. Unfortunately, he is increasingly worried about his role as Greyfriar, savior of the people. As great as it is to swoop in and kill tons of vampires, his role is very limited. He saves a few while thousands of others perish. Is there a point to still being Greyfriar?
An interesting theme of this series is compassion for creatures who are not like you. Adele and Anhalt have realized that vampires aren't all the mindless, evil creatures they once thought them to be. Similarly, Greyfriar realizes that not all vampires have misused their powers and are not all deserving of death. The war is going to result in the mass slaughter of innocent vampires as well as humans? Right and wrong is no longer black and white. It's amazing how creatures who seem entirely alien quickly seem "human" when you get to know them.
Adele and Greyfriar's romance continues to be touching and satisfying. Nothing can match the simple sweetness of the first book but I still love reading about them together. They are a pair of equals. Adele trusts Greyfriar to act on his own but also feels the need to keep him from danger. Greyfriar is extremely protective of Adele and very chivalrous but always respects her abilities and independence. Even if her actions are dangerous he knows she can take care of herself.
The Kingmakers hits all the right notes for a concluding novel. The beginning is a little slow but we get into the story and characters quickly enough. Soon we're carried away by very complex drama - politics, battles, assassination attempts (plural), subtle humor, geomancy (still confuses me), and romance. The story shifts between France, Alexandria, London, and Edinburgh (Morgana and Baudoin are back!). I am so sad to leave Adele and Greyfriar. I'd love to read more about their story. Maybe a spin-off featuring Greyfriar in his earlier days. Please write more! Until then, everyone should read this series.