Let it be known that because of their fourth book in this universe, The Geomancer, I’m giving it a pass on the “no trilogies” rule for the Recommended Series series (I really need a better title). This being said, let me welcome you into the amazing alternate universe world of the Vampire Empire, where humanity has been chased from the cold northern climates by the vampires who revealed their existence sometime in the 1880’s and the United Kingdom is being ruled from near the equator due to the loss of England’s ancestral home. This is a world where steampunk dominates, vampires are real and dangerous, and one individual in northern Europe nicknamed The Greyfriar (also the title of the first book in the series, coincidentally) is brutally killing vampires and attaining near-mythological status.
Confused? Don’t be, because the authors of the Vampire Empire series, Clay and Susan Griffith, explain it all very elegantly while rushing you, the reader, through a whirlwind adventure. Our story starts off featuring Crown Princess Adele (pronounced Ah-day-lay, just so you’re not mispronouncing it through the entire series like I did) and her brother journeying near the northern borders of their lands in an airship when they are attacked by vampires. She is rescued by the individual known as the Greyfriar and he struggles to get her away to safety. Unable to, he decides protecting her and keeping her hidden for the time being is the best option.
This is one of those series seemingly designed to help the reader understand the horror of a monster such as a vampire while also luring the reader in with the suggestive appeal of dark and forbidden love. On the first read-through of the series I only kind of liked it, since I wasn’t too keen on another “run of the mill” Anne Rice romantic vampire shtick. The second time around it was much more enjoyable, since I was able to see the story within the story. Plus, the Anne Rice comparisons fell away easier the second time once my preconceived notions had been laid to rest.
I really, really enjoyed this series, though it does get a little weird in The Geomancer. At this point you know all the secrets, the myths, and the power the vampires had and could potentially wield. You also learn of the power Adele has and the magic buried deep within our world.
I do hope they continue this series. It’s got quite a bit more to offer. For example, we know what happened to the vampire outbreak in North America, but what about Norway, Sweden, Finland, Germany… Russia? Lots of cool territories to cover, and the war humanity must wage in order to be truly free from the threat of the vampires at long last looms in the distance. Granted, I get from reading this series that this isn’t where the authors want to take it, but one can hope, right?