Tuesday, September 04, 2012

The Kingmakers (Vampire Empire book 3) – review

Authors: Clay & Susan Griffiths

First published: 2012

Contains spoilers

The Blurb: 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 fearsome 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

The review: Steampunk vampires… yes please, thank you very much and, of course, this is the third book of the series (reviews are available of the Greyfriar and the Rift Walker) and so for those familiar with the series I think you know already what you are going to get.

However the Griffiths’ have turned the style around again. There was play with political machinations in the second book and with hindsight this volume eschews much of that, making it clear that things are occurring but not entering into quite the depth. Rather this becomes an adventure at breakneck speed, flitting through trench warfare, aerial bombardment, magical control of earth energy and penny dreadful heroism of a Boy’s Own type (the book makes mention of the adventures of Greyfriar that are a popular read in the Equatorian Empire and are of the penny dreadful type and the final scenes see life imitate art).

This is why I said with hindsight as, whilst reading, I was carried with the tremendous pace but afterwards I found myself wishing that some of the plots and counterplots had been explored a little deeper as they were in the earlier books. However, it is a quibble that amounts to a matter of style and a conscious decision to make the pace of this volume frantic in places and, ultimately, this is a fine end to the series even if some bits are glossed over. 7.5 out of 10.

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