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Empire of the Vampire

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From holy cup comes holy light; The faithful hand sets world aright. And in the Seven Martyrs’ sight, Mere man shall end this endless night. It has been twenty-seven long years since the last sunrise. For nearly three decades, vampires have waged war against humanity; building their eternal empire even as they tear down our own. Now, only a few tiny sparks of light endure in a From holy cup comes holy light; The faithful hand sets world aright. And in the Seven Martyrs’ sight, Mere man shall end this endless night. It has been twenty-seven long years since the last sunrise. For nearly three decades, vampires have waged war against humanity; building their eternal empire even as they tear down our own. Now, only a few tiny sparks of light endure in a sea of darkness. Gabriel de León is a silversaint: a member of a holy brotherhood dedicated to defending realm and church from the creatures of the night. But even the Silver Order could not stem the tide once daylight failed us, and now, only Gabriel remains. Imprisoned by the very monsters he vowed to destroy, the last silversaint is forced to tell his story. A story of legendary battles and forbidden love, of faith lost and friendships won, of the Wars of the Blood and the Forever King and the quest for humanity’s last remaining hope: The Holy Grail. Fromauthor Jay Kristoff comes Empire of the Vampire, the first illustrated volume of an astonishing new dark fantasy saga.


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From holy cup comes holy light; The faithful hand sets world aright. And in the Seven Martyrs’ sight, Mere man shall end this endless night. It has been twenty-seven long years since the last sunrise. For nearly three decades, vampires have waged war against humanity; building their eternal empire even as they tear down our own. Now, only a few tiny sparks of light endure in a From holy cup comes holy light; The faithful hand sets world aright. And in the Seven Martyrs’ sight, Mere man shall end this endless night. It has been twenty-seven long years since the last sunrise. For nearly three decades, vampires have waged war against humanity; building their eternal empire even as they tear down our own. Now, only a few tiny sparks of light endure in a sea of darkness. Gabriel de León is a silversaint: a member of a holy brotherhood dedicated to defending realm and church from the creatures of the night. But even the Silver Order could not stem the tide once daylight failed us, and now, only Gabriel remains. Imprisoned by the very monsters he vowed to destroy, the last silversaint is forced to tell his story. A story of legendary battles and forbidden love, of faith lost and friendships won, of the Wars of the Blood and the Forever King and the quest for humanity’s last remaining hope: The Holy Grail. Fromauthor Jay Kristoff comes Empire of the Vampire, the first illustrated volume of an astonishing new dark fantasy saga.

30 review for Empire of the Vampire

  1. 5 out of 5

    Jay Kristoff

    EMPIRE OF THE VAMPIRE is not a book for children. It's basically what would happen if INTERVIEW WITH THE VAMPIRE hooked up with NAME OF THE WIND in an S&M club while all eight seasons of GAME OF THRONES streamed in the background (consecutively not simultaneously). It is not a book for children. It concerns an ex-monster-slayer named Gabriel de León, who was once quite-the-awesome but has been having a tough time of late and has become a bit of an edgelord but he mostly gets away with his drunken EMPIRE OF THE VAMPIRE is not a book for children. It's basically what would happen if INTERVIEW WITH THE VAMPIRE hooked up with NAME OF THE WIND in an S&M club while all eight seasons of GAME OF THRONES streamed in the background (consecutively not simultaneously). It is not a book for children. It concerns an ex-monster-slayer named Gabriel de León, who was once quite-the-awesome but has been having a tough time of late and has become a bit of an edgelord but he mostly gets away with his drunken "I am the night" routine, because who doesn't like a tall, dark, half-vampire dude with magic tattoos and a tragic past and beautiful hair, honestly, that shit is money in the bank where's my Emmy. Before you ask, the vampires in it do not sparkle. Not that I have anything against vampires that sparkle, anyone working in publishing in 2020 owes Stephenie Meyer an enormous debt of gratitude—I don't care if they were your jam, the TWILIGHT books brought an entire generation of folks back to reading and many of them stayed, vampires aren't real and if an author decides they sparkle in sunlight or jizz rainbows when someone plays Halsey on the radio, who gives a damn, just say "as you like it, madame" and roll on with your day. But yeah, my vampires don't so much sparkle as murder you and your whole motherfucking family, and the only reason they pursue 16 year old girls (or indeed anyone else) in this book is because vampires see them as food. (Team Damon 4 life btw) The book is quite long. It's rather violent. It's somewhat gay. Like, not Orange is the New Black gay, but you're talking to the man who wrote Mia fucking Corvere, I'm building up to it, give me some goddamn credit. It is quite smutty and bloody. "Bloodsmutty" if you will. Honestly, there's a blood-drinking blowjob scene in there, so if that's not your thing, just back slowly out of the room while avoiding eye contact, I won't be offended (Hi, Mum). It is, as I may have previously mentioned, not a book for children. It will be illustrated! Though I can't talk much more about that until next year. But, it's pretty epic. Like "best book I've ever written" epic. I mean fuuuuuuuckingepic. But it's not a book for children. So, if the bookstore puts it in the wrong section alongside ILLUMINAE and you find your baby reading it whilst bleeding from the eyes, before you send me an angry mail, pls consider that I warned you. Hope you love it.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Robin Hobb

    Let's begin with the usual caveats: I received an Advanced Reading Copy of this book, for free, from the publisher. I think Jay Kristoff is a nice person. And I think that neither of those two things will affect my honest review of this book. First impressions: 879 pages! And it's only the first part of the story. So for people who like to move into a book and live there for several years, this is for you. It's a rich, well-realized world of darkness and danger. You won't be bored there. The bla Let's begin with the usual caveats: I received an Advanced Reading Copy of this book, for free, from the publisher. I think Jay Kristoff is a nice person. And I think that neither of those two things will affect my honest review of this book. First impressions: 879 pages! And it's only the first part of the story. So for people who like to move into a book and live there for several years, this is for you. It's a rich, well-realized world of darkness and danger. You won't be bored there. The black and white illustrations in the ARC I received are very dramatic and well suited to the tale. I did not receive a page with credits, so I cannot name the artist, but wish I could. The artist deserves praise. Third, and this should probably have been a caveat. I'm not big on vampire stories. But this was from Jay Kristoff, so I gave it a try. It's still not my favorite sub-genre, but I would say Empire of the Vampire is much more than a vampire story. And I am grateful that, for all of their fine manners and sartorial elegance, these vampires are still nasty, evil, horrific villains. As vampires should be. Now, you all probably know that I hate spoilers, so I'm going to dance around a few here. If you like coming of age tales, and even 'sent off to a special place to learn stuff' stories, there is a big chunk of this book that you will really enjoy. If you like lovingly detailed fight scenes, you will get a blood spattered super serving of those. Mysterious library? Some sex? Grumpy mentor, forbidden assignations, a protagonist at the bottom of the pecking order? Check to all of them! Okay, before anyone says, "Oh, those sound like clichés," I would remind you that you can check off a lot of those things in MY books as well. I prefer to think of those things as 'beloved, savory ingredients' in the fantasy feasts we all crave. So what else could be added to make this a full feast? Multi racial, multi gender characters. How about an infusing of mysteries for the reader to speculate about? Some romance, some good old fashioned vendettas. Ooooh, what else can go into the Grimdark feast? Some dumplings of philosophy? At first glance, it may appear to be garnished with sour cynicism, but in the very bottom of the tale, when you stir it, you will find a rich gravy of faith and belief in humanity and the virtues of friendship. So this is my review, more like a recipe for a very enjoyable tale than a critique of plot or characterization. Because I have mentioned so many things that may be seen as 'standard' in fantasy novel, let me assure you that there are no standard characters nor a standard plot between these covers. It's an engrossing read in a rich world. Recommended.

  3. 5 out of 5

    NReads

    wow I thought I was over vampires but suddenly I am not

  4. 4 out of 5

    jessica

    the empire of the vampire is upon us. and i was not prepared for how much i would love this, obsess over this, devour this. the story is dark and gritty and vulgar and takes vampires, as well as the tale of the holy grail, in a completely unique and bloody direction. JK wasnt lying when he said this book is for adults only - it gives ‘nevernight’ a run for its money in terms of mature content. but i love how brutally real this feels. if vampires were to take over the world, this is exactly how i the empire of the vampire is upon us. and i was not prepared for how much i would love this, obsess over this, devour this. the story is dark and gritty and vulgar and takes vampires, as well as the tale of the holy grail, in a completely unique and bloody direction. JK wasnt lying when he said this book is for adults only - it gives ‘nevernight’ a run for its money in terms of mature content. but i love how brutally real this feels. if vampires were to take over the world, this is exactly how i imagine it would be. the world-building is outstanding and really creates such an immersive setting. the amazing illustrations really add to that, as well! but honestly, the waves of nostalgia i constantly felt throughout is what surprised me the most. the narrative format reminds me so dang much of ‘the name of the wind.’ from the prologue/epilogue combination, to how a man of legend recounts his tale of how he has fallen so far, and just the overall vibe reminded me how much my heart loves these kind of stories. its only the first book, but i truly believe that this is going to my favourite series by JK. _________________________________ i got about 25% in before i realised my ARC was only an extended sampler and, because of that and personal reading preferences, i am going to hold off until i have a complete copy. but what i did read. oh my goodness. release day cant come soon enough. to readers who thought they were over vampire stories, think again. thank you, st. martins press, for 200+ pages that blew me away. ↠ 5 stars

  5. 5 out of 5

    Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin

    Omg! Artstation - Sara Mirza - captured Gabriel’s hotness 😏 I’ve been back and forth with this book. My feelings may change as I’m trying to sort myself out. I will say the narrator did an amazing job on the audio. The book is really sad and of course dark. I'm not sure about keeping books like this anymore as life is doom and gloom enough. I enjoyed most of the book accept a few parts. I’m interested to see where this trilogy will go. I want to know if it’s going to be a total disappointment lik Omg! Artstation - Sara Mirza - captured Gabriel’s hotness 😏 I’ve been back and forth with this book. My feelings may change as I’m trying to sort myself out. I will say the narrator did an amazing job on the audio. The book is really sad and of course dark. I'm not sure about keeping books like this anymore as life is doom and gloom enough. I enjoyed most of the book accept a few parts. I’m interested to see where this trilogy will go. I want to know if it’s going to be a total disappointment like some others that I kicked to the curb! I can’t even imagine what will be in two more books 😬 ……….. The art in the book is awesome! I wish all books had art throughout! Mel 🖤🐶🐺🐾

  6. 5 out of 5

    Helena Paris

    First, Renée Ahdieh...now, Jay Kristoff...VAMPIRES ARE MAKING A COMEBACK! Me: Also me: First, Renée Ahdieh...now, Jay Kristoff...VAMPIRES ARE MAKING A COMEBACK! Me: Also me:

  7. 5 out of 5

    John Gwynne

    Oh my word, what a book Empire of the Vampire is. Gripping, terrifying and visceral, this is that rare beast of a tale that rips your heart from your chest, stamps on it and leaves you wanting more. Characters you love and hate, a world that feels hauntingly real, and an adventure that grabs you and does not let go, this book is destined for the Fantasy Hall of Fame. I loved it. Full 5/5 stars from me.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Nilufer Ozmekik

    Two things I can say about this book: 1)This is definitely not for children as Jay Kristoff mentioned on Goodreads review. 2)This is more than vampire story: it’s about losing your belief, your life purpose, your inner source of light, your compass! So far I can honestly say this is the best thing the author wrote. And I want to read the rest of it ! The world building, the clear, dark, wild, haunted depictions, emotional depth of characters are pure perfection! I was up all night and my head feel Two things I can say about this book: 1)This is definitely not for children as Jay Kristoff mentioned on Goodreads review. 2)This is more than vampire story: it’s about losing your belief, your life purpose, your inner source of light, your compass! So far I can honestly say this is the best thing the author wrote. And I want to read the rest of it ! The world building, the clear, dark, wild, haunted depictions, emotional depth of characters are pure perfection! I was up all night and my head feels like still swimming inside an aquarium but it’s totally worth the entire mental exhaustion! Special thanks to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for sharing this arc in exchange my honest thoughts.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Books with Brittany

    Fuck my face. Bloody brilliant. Hands down Jay’s best work and a fav of the year. You gonna do us dirty like that, Jay? 😒

  10. 5 out of 5

    Kyle

    Many thanks to St. Martin’s Press and NetGalley for access to this eARC sampler, in exchange for an honest review. UPDATE 9/6/21: I’ve stewed in my thoughts for a while now, and I’ve decided to lower my rating completely. Note: this is a review of the 400-page sampler I was provided, NOT the full book (which is around 800 pages). This book is: The Witcher meets Interview with the Vampire meets Game of Thrones meets the movie Underworld It’s also: •Violent as fuck •Bloody as fuck •Profane as fuck •And so Many thanks to St. Martin’s Press and NetGalley for access to this eARC sampler, in exchange for an honest review. UPDATE 9/6/21: I’ve stewed in my thoughts for a while now, and I’ve decided to lower my rating completely. Note: this is a review of the 400-page sampler I was provided, NOT the full book (which is around 800 pages). This book is: The Witcher meets Interview with the Vampire meets Game of Thrones meets the movie Underworld It’s also: •Violent as fuck •Bloody as fuck •Profane as fuck •And some would say (myself not being one of them) Sexy as fuck This is NOT: •A book for kids •A read to be taken lightly •The best vampire story I’ve ever seen… I’m not one to shy away from crass language—I, personally, can have an admittedly foul mouth—but here in Empire of the Vampire the vulgarity is severe overkill. I can understand the necessity for worldbuilding and characterization, but it’s SO fucking frequent to the point of absurdity. It took me out of the story often. Every sentence or spoken dialogue had some form of “fuck” “shit” and/or other four-letter words. The insults were always bullysome playground-styled nonsense. It was unfortunate that for a fantasy novel, the author chose to resort to high school-level profanity, which in turn made the adult content seem less intelligent, and more immature. Show me a character is hardened and butch some other way. Seriously. All the macho male posturing was FUCKING ANNOYING and BULLSHIT! Kristoff promised us gay shit, and while I won’t go into specifics, it was just more f/f fetishization. When a (and I am making an assumption here!!!) “straight” male author frequently writes queer women and queer f/f sex scenes (i.e. The Nevernight Chronicles), I find it disgustingly male gaze-y. I shouldn’t even say “women,” because every gay female he writes is a teenager!!!!!!!! What we have here in Empire of the Vampire is gratuitous hetero male fantasy posturing in the guise of fantasy literature. NEARLY ALL** of the male characters are so offensively… STRAIGHT! The effeminate vampire is painted in a borderline homophobic way, all the jokes in the book are straight boy macho bullshit, and the author also makes it a point to mention in his world building how “sodomy is a sin.” There are slurs galore within this book, but Kristoff also uses a few gay jabs, as well. I thought that once—JUST ONE FUCKING TIME—Jay Kristoff would give us a queer male MC. Rant aside, going back to the writing… I mean, when it’s good, it’s GOOD, but when it’s not, it’s cringe. “Ha Ha, you jerkface! I slept with your mother, and your sister, and your grandma” or “That’s not what your wife said last night, you meanie.” It was those kinds of jokes and remarks—nearly every other page—and with much more colorful language. The kind teenagers find funny, or people with a low maturity level. I was fine with it the first few times, but it got old real fast the more it went on and on and on and on. It wasn’t clever or funny, it was childish and annoying. Within the span of a few pages, there were two “jokes” about menstruating women, which is just… it’s just fucking tacky: “a she-devil on the rag” and “a dragon on her period.” Blah blah blah. Like, who finds that funny? (HAHA A PERIOD JOKE! GOOD ONE!) You can’t see it, but I’m rolling my eyes right now. People are finding this banter funny, but I find it underhanded misogyny. Also, a quip about a bishop and an altar boy that I found in terribly bad taste. However, there were many passages that engaged me thoroughly. Jay Kristoff has a deft hand at worldbuilding that doesn’t feel tacked on or info-dumping. It’s masterfully layered; not all of it spoon/fed to us. The kind of worldbuilding you need to pay attention to. Many references are made to past events and characters that we know absolutely nothing about, but it’s never frustrating not knowing the context, because the accompanying dialogue is usually enough to convey meaning and emotion. There’s a quote that I had to jot down immediately after reading it, because it was so good: “…a ball of nerves and restless energy, a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs.” If that doesn’t perfectly capture my constant state of being, nothing else will. Who was my favorite character in this vampiric slog? Ash. Hands down. That’s maybe saying something about how I perceived these characters on whole. I will say that they started growing on me, but not until close to the end of this sampler (about 350 pages in!). I know many are written to be unlikable and/or antiheroes, but that wasn’t the problem for me. You see, I LOVE antiheroes and always dig an unlikable character. It’s just the way Kristoff writes a few of them… almost like caricatures designed for specific fandoms. Dior, for example. And certainly Saoirse/Phoebe. Also, of course: Bellamy. Side note: There were far too many characters with facial scarring of some sort. Like, several. I dunno. I found it odd. So, after all that, was there anything (else) I did like? Yes, yes there was: •The level of unflinching violence (gore galore!) •The uncompromising, darker than black atmosphere •A certain measure of surprise and intrigue •A slightly different taken on vampire lore •Thorough and engaging worldbuilding I also liked the structure of this story. The interview style and the non-chronological storytelling was fun and kept me on my toes. Although, whenever Gabriel de Leon went to jump around in his telling, his back-and-forth with Jean-François was always the same argument. JF: “Blah blah you can’t do that.” GdL: “Fuck you, I do what I want.” It was like that every time. (view spoiler)[The relationship between Dior and Saoirse was problematic: The age difference. That made me uncomfortable. A 14/16 year old hooking up with a 19 year old?!? WTF?!? And OF FUCKING COURSE it’s young QUEER FEMALES!!! Am I the only one noticing a trend here???? Mia/Ashlinn, Dior/Saoirse… two TEENAGED couplings that just happen to be sapphic romances… * (hide spoiler)] NOTE: Sexualizing minors of any gender makes me uncomfortable. Some have pointed out to me that this age difference isn’t wholly problematic, but I disagree. That’s just my opinion. Bottom line: (EDIT #1) Yeah, I’ve changed my mind. Fuck this. If my copy was a physical one, I’d have thrown it across the room, but it was on my Kindle and I need that. EDIT (view spoiler)[I forgot to take off a star for what happened to poor Phoebe and Justice. Y’all know me: I care more about the animals than the people, and I won’t apologize for it. (hide spoiler)] **EDIT**9/18/21 These thoughts are my own. Some people will have read everything Jay Kristoff has written, and will disagree with me completely. I have my gripes with him… and his writing… but I know many who love the dude, and will most certainly love this book. I’ve simply had enough.**

  11. 5 out of 5

    James Tivendale

    I received an advanced review copy of Empire of the Vampire in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to Jay Kristoff and Harper Voyager. Minor spoilers may follow. "It was the twenty-seventh year of daysdeath in the realm of the Forever King, and his murderer was waiting to die." The murderer is Gabriel de Leon. Paleblood. Silversaint. Vampire-hunter and bane of the creatures of the night. He is a legend and having settled a vendetta, killing the Forever King, he is now at the mercy of his ene I received an advanced review copy of Empire of the Vampire in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to Jay Kristoff and Harper Voyager. Minor spoilers may follow. "It was the twenty-seventh year of daysdeath in the realm of the Forever King, and his murderer was waiting to die." The murderer is Gabriel de Leon. Paleblood. Silversaint. Vampire-hunter and bane of the creatures of the night. He is a legend and having settled a vendetta, killing the Forever King, he is now at the mercy of his enemies. The new ruler of the vampires wishes for Gabriel's story to be recorded before his demise. In a similar fashion to The Name of the Wind, the historian Jean-François of the Blood Chastain chronicles the events of our protagonist's epic tale, as told by the chevalier Gabriel himself. With this being the setup, in addition to the above-mentioned "present-day" storyline, there are two past timelines that the killer recounts. The first of these surrounds the events of Gabriel's teenage years including his relationships with his parents and sisters, daysdeath and the increased strength and threat of the vampire empire, his infatuation with blood, and his perplexing abilities which leads Gabriel to the brotherhood of the Silversaints. The second of the past accounts finds a thirty-something, disgruntled, addict Gabriel, whose deeds are the tales of legends. He reluctantly joins a sort of fellowship, bemused to find himself part of a prophecy that relates to a god Gabriel thinks is a prick. Gabriel is an awesome character. He's humorous, bitter, witty, sweary, and world-weary. He isn't thrilled to have to tell his tale to the vampire historian but, as the stories progress, there is some excellent back-and-forth banter between the duo. An element that often made me smirk is when the historian will tap his quill on his manuscript, a nonchalant reminder to Gabriel that the Queen of Vampires wishes for him to explain certain parts in-depth, as if to a child. As Kristoff jokes in his Goodreads review of this novel, this is definitely for adults and is "not a book for children". I'd hesitate to say that it is a bit too dark and violent for even the youths of the vampire empire. By the historian doing this though, it adds extra depth and insight and makes for clever worldbuilding when explaining intricacies such as the vampire houses, or familial powers or legacies, etc... Gabriel's "I don't give a fuck"-attitude is prevalent in these exchanges too, especially when Gabriel opts to time hop in his tale instead of telling it chronologically, to the frustration of Jean-François. The Silversaint calmly signals the word PATIENCE that is tattooed onto his knuckles. I read de Leon, especially as he ages, as being reminiscent of Geralt of Rivia from Sapkowski's The Witcher Saga. He comes across as a reluctant hero at certain points, a legendary warrior and swordsman that possesses magical abilities, with acts of bravery or heroism normally following a sigh or a "for-fuck's-sake" grunt. At least that's how I envisaged him. "I am the boy's master. He's impatient. Arrogant. Far too keen for glory. But he's one of the finest swords I've trained, and he took down this highblood alone, drugged to the eyeballs on rêvre. If what I suspect of his line is true... he could be the greatest of us, Talon." "Or the most terrible." Although this is Gabriel de Leon's tale, he shares the page-time and has interesting relationships with a whole range of intriguing characters. Favourites for me were the rival Aaron de Coste, the master Greyhand, the enigma Dior, and the Holy Sister Astrid. He also has a slightly unhinged talking blade called Ashdrinker. The members of the Forever King's family whose paths cross with Gabriel's in Empire of the Vampire make for fine antagonists, being imposing, beautiful, ageless, and terrifying. A part that I really enjoyed and applaud Kristoff for the way he presented this, was when a character we were familiar with from de Leon's youth returns to the page over a decade and a half later in the other timeline. This brought a few true smiles to my face. There is a lot to enjoy here in Kristoff's horror-tinged, vampire-laden, epic fantasy tale. In fact, it was the most I’ve enjoyed a fantasy novel for a long time. I thought it was very well written, being descriptive enough for my mind to fill in the blanks, crafting some impeccable imagery, and adrenaline-fuelling grand set-pieces. Occasionally dancing on the line of melodramatic, but for me personally, it stayed on the right side, being more cinematic than needlessly extravagant. Empire of the Vampire is packed with many stand-out scenes, and knowing that this is only a portion of de Leon's legendary tale, I'll be picking up a copy of the sequel as soon as I can. 9/10. Final Note: The internal artwork by Bon Orthwick (@monolimeart) is incredible.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Gavin

    A huge thank you to HarperVoyager for sending me an ARC copy of 'Empire of the Vampire' by Jay Kristoff. I've not long finished this and I'm still trying to process my feelings. I have been wanting to sink my teeth into a really good vampire story for such a long time, and this FINALLY gave me that fix that I've been craving forever. This is dark, bloody and downright entertaining. I was filled with a constant sense of dread every time I turned a page for fear of what was going to happen next. Th A huge thank you to HarperVoyager for sending me an ARC copy of 'Empire of the Vampire' by Jay Kristoff. I've not long finished this and I'm still trying to process my feelings. I have been wanting to sink my teeth into a really good vampire story for such a long time, and this FINALLY gave me that fix that I've been craving forever. This is dark, bloody and downright entertaining. I was filled with a constant sense of dread every time I turned a page for fear of what was going to happen next. The characters are so likeable and life-like that I felt invested in their stories and their mission. I loved the way this story is told too, as our protagonist is recounting his adventures to a vampire who has him prisoner. I didn't expect the amount of emotion this book has and what it made me feel, and there were many moments where I physically reacted. The story jumps back and forth and it's a format I ended up loving as we got to see glimpses into different characters and get more context behind something, and more. It really pays off as we head towards the end of the story. And let me tell you, I'm dying for the next book. This was just DRIPPING with plot and I couldn't wait to find out what happened next, but also not, because I just knew there would be more bloodshed or something. There are a lot of exciting and memorable moments throughout this and the picture this painted in my head was gorgeously gothic and macabre - everything I wanted from this book going into it. Cannot wait for the final copy so I can see all of the illustrations, because the few that the ARC had were simply gorgeous. I have a spoiler-free reading vlog of this coming soon so I'm excited to share that.

  13. 5 out of 5

    myo (myonna reads)

    i feel like this book is just purely based off of aesthetics and it almost got me too, i was loving Gabriel in the being, he’s like Geralt from The Witcher mixed with Klaus from TVD and i was eating it up at first. But as the book went on i began to not care, I don’t care for the side characters and i was getting bored. I noticed that Jay Kristoff focused on his flowery writing and aesthetics more than anything else and that was my problem with Nevernight as well. This book does remind me of Int i feel like this book is just purely based off of aesthetics and it almost got me too, i was loving Gabriel in the being, he’s like Geralt from The Witcher mixed with Klaus from TVD and i was eating it up at first. But as the book went on i began to not care, I don’t care for the side characters and i was getting bored. I noticed that Jay Kristoff focused on his flowery writing and aesthetics more than anything else and that was my problem with Nevernight as well. This book does remind me of Interview with the Vampire, i found that book very boring without plot. Sadly, this book is the same but what makes it worse is that it’s 700 pages so it just feels like it drags on. I really hope that the sequel focuses on plot because even though i don’t mind characterization the entire book, 700 pages of it with no plot is jusy unnecessary. Everyone wants to write a tomb but just because it’s big doesn’t mean it’s worth 5 stars.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Becca & The Books

    4.5 stars In Empire of the Vampire we are following the infamous Black Lion, Gabriel de Leon, as he recounts his life story to a historian shortly before he is executed for the murder of the Forever King. Throughout the course of the book, Gabriel tells his story across 2 timelines - his early days being initiated into the Silversaints, a holy order dedicated to fighting back against the creatures of night, and over a decade later, as he stumbles into an old friend and joins her quest to find th 4.5 stars In Empire of the Vampire we are following the infamous Black Lion, Gabriel de Leon, as he recounts his life story to a historian shortly before he is executed for the murder of the Forever King. Throughout the course of the book, Gabriel tells his story across 2 timelines - his early days being initiated into the Silversaints, a holy order dedicated to fighting back against the creatures of night, and over a decade later, as he stumbles into an old friend and joins her quest to find the Holy Grail, the only thing prophesied to end the endless night. I enjoyed this a lot. The dreary atmosphere was unparalleled, I loved Gabriel and enjoyed the parallels between his youth as a naive young boy full of hope and his early thirties, where he is a bitter man who has lost all faith I loved the elements of found family (as always) and my favourite characters were the lordly Aaron de Coste and the wily Dior LaChance. I also found that I was absorbed from page one and blasted through this chunky tome in a handful of days. All of this being said, this one slightly missed the mark for me, hence the 4.5 star rating. I felt like this wasn't anything particularly new from Kristoff. Many paralells can be drawn between this and Nevernight (one of my favourite series of all time) and nothing took me by surprise because everything that unfolded was everything I expect from a Kristoff novel. While there are no footnotes in this one, the world building was disclosed in a similar style, with our historian Jean Francois frequently stopping Gabriel's narration to remind him that he should recount the story "as if to a child", after which, Gabriel would roll his eyes and explain what the term he used means. I felt that while in Nevernight, this form of world building can be written of as a stylistic choice, it read to me like disjointed and lazy in Empire of The Vampire. Personal preference wise, I really don't like books that heavily feature real-world religion, and while the One Faith is fantastical, it is clearly very heavily modelled off Christianity. This put me off a bit, purely based on my own preferences, but I will say that by the time I reached the page 450 mark, it had stopped bothering me. So overall, I liked it a lot, I think it's very good. The world was immersive, the story was compelling and evoked emotion, I was rooting for the characters, but it kind of feels like I've read it before.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Angelica

    Vampires are making a comeback and the late 2000's are quaking Vampires are making a comeback and the late 2000's are quaking

  16. 4 out of 5

    Lucie V.

    I received a 400 pages SAMPLER of this book via NetGalley (thank you St Martin's Press). All thoughts and opinions are my own. *This is a review for the whole book, not just the sampler* ✅ Great writing ✅ Cruel and vicious vampires ✅ Beautiful cover ✅ Thorough world-building ✅ Dark atmosphere ✅ Characters ✅🆗 Pace ❗️❗️ This is not a book for kids, it is bloody, vulgar, and dark. 4.5 stars There is a time for grief, and a time for songs, and a time to recall with fondness all that has been and go I received a 400 pages SAMPLER of this book via NetGalley (thank you St Martin's Press). All thoughts and opinions are my own. *This is a review for the whole book, not just the sampler* ✅ Great writing ✅ Cruel and vicious vampires ✅ Beautiful cover ✅ Thorough world-building ✅ Dark atmosphere ✅ Characters ✅🆗 Pace ❗️❗️ This is not a book for kids, it is bloody, vulgar, and dark. 4.5 stars There is a time for grief, and a time for songs, and a time to recall with fondness all that has been and gone. But there is a time for killing too. There is a time for blood, and a time for rage, and a time to close your eyes and become the thing heaven wants you to be. This book is gritty, bloody, and deliciously dark. Gabriel is the last of the Silversaints, a group of holy vampire hunters, and the book starts right after he is captured by Her Grace Margot Chastain, the Undying Empress of Wolves and Men. Marquis Jean-Francois Chastain, the Empress’ historian, has been tasked with writing a detailed account of Gabriel's life before his execution and the book is about that. I admit that I was a little wary when I realized that this whole book would be about Gabriel reminiscing and telling his story to Jean-François... For one, I am not a fan of flashbacks in books, and I was afraid that I wouldn’t be as involved in the story knowing that no matter what happened, Gabriel would obviously survived since he was still very much alive (although captive and on his way to his execution) and able to tell his story, but I was positively surprised by the result. I was sucked in this book after a few pages only, thanks to the amazing writing and dark ambiance. The pace is good, the plot is intriguing enough to keep me hooked and the time jumps were very well written and not confusing. The weaving of the present timeline and Gabriel’s past was greatly done and I really enjoyed reading about his journey. I have to say though, that you really need to be in “the right mood” for this type of darker and heavier book if you want to really enjoy it. The writing is also definitely a strength (not to say the strength) of this book. It is dark and lyrical, but it was not too much or too descriptive. Be aware that the dialogues are vulgar though and there is a lot of blasphemy. There was a good balance of descriptions, action, and snark, and I LOVED IT. There’s a beast in all men’s blood, Gabriel. You can starve him. Cage him. Curse him. But in the end, you pay the beast his due, or he takes his due from you. Gabriel is a very snarky main character and he doesn’t seem to give a shit about anything. Because of his antagonistic attitude towards almost everyone, it was a little hard to get to know him and to care for him at first, but I just love his “I don’t give a shit and I’m not taking any shit from you either” attitude. His interactions with the other characters made me smile and even laugh a few time. He just decided that he would treat people the way they deserved it, and it so happen that most people deserve to be treated like shit, according to him. Gabriel reached into his battered britches, fished about under the monster’s stare. Finally, he retrieved a tarnished royale from his pocket. “Here.” “What is that for?” Jean-François demanded. “I want you to take this coin to market, and buy me a fuck to give.” While everyone sees Gabriel as a hero, this notion seems to annoy him. He knows that he is good at slaying vampires, but he has no illusion about his character’s worth: he is far from being a hero in shining armor, ready to sweep in to save a damsel in distress. He laughs out loud when people call him a hero and does not hesitate to set the records right and let them know that he’s no hero at all. He is ruthless, brutal, and cold (and drunk sometimes), but more than that, he is a survivor. The fact that he is fierce has a magical sword that can communicate with him telepathically, has magical tattoos, and is a half-vampire hell-bent on eradicating the scum of the world also makes him all the more cool and badass. “’God didn’t want me. And the devil was too afraid to open the door.’ The world-building is also great. The descriptions and lyrical writing do help to create a dark ambiance and I could picture the cities and people very vividly (the map at the beginning of the book also helps). There are also some black and white awesome artworks by Bon Orthwick throughout the book showing us the characters, which made it all feel even more real. Law the First, “The dead cannot kill the Dead.” Law the Second, “Dead tongues heeded are Dead tongues tasted” Law the Third, “The Dead run quick” Law the Fourth, “The Dead feel as beasts, look as men, die as devils.” Law the Fifth, “Even the Dead have laws.” While this book doesn't end with a cliffhanger, there are some twists near the end and some revelations that shocked me and I am very excited to know what awaits Gabriel in the next book. **Just some extra infos** The four vampire bloodlines: Blood Voss: House of the Forever King. Skin can turn as hard as steel, mind readers. Blood Chastain: Can control animals, a few rare individuals can shapeshift. Blood Ilon: Can manipulate emotion (on top of being able to bend will as all vampires can). Blood Dyvok: Unparalleled strength, even among vampires they are insanely strong. The Orders: Brothers of the Hunt: silversaints, vampire hunters Brothers of the Hearth: bind books, craft weaponry, and create tools Silver Sisters: sisterhood of nuns, keepers of the monastery Fanarts by Bon Orthwick

  17. 4 out of 5

    megs_bookrack

    I'm pulling the plug on this one for the moment at 36%. This isn't an official DNF. I may pick it up again later. I mean, I am not in a rush about it, but it could happen. I'm just not into it at the moment. There's nothing inherently wrong with it. I like the set-up and the writing is lush, with dark, descriptive elements. However, it is requiring way more brain power than I am willing to invest in it right now. This definitely has a heavy, epic fantasy feel, which I generally love, but yeah, I a I'm pulling the plug on this one for the moment at 36%. This isn't an official DNF. I may pick it up again later. I mean, I am not in a rush about it, but it could happen. I'm just not into it at the moment. There's nothing inherently wrong with it. I like the set-up and the writing is lush, with dark, descriptive elements. However, it is requiring way more brain power than I am willing to invest in it right now. This definitely has a heavy, epic fantasy feel, which I generally love, but yeah, I am not tracking any of the names, or events, currently. Perhaps at another time it will work better for me. Goodbye for now to these characters. I hardly knew you! Original: ARC received!!! Day made!!! Commence freaking out!!! Thank you so much, St. Martin's Press. I absolutely cannot wait to devour this!

  18. 5 out of 5

    Ashley

    Star Rating: —> ALL THE STARS ! [ But if we have to get technical/ official here... FIVE(5) bright, bursting with light, Stars ! ] 🩸🩸🖤🩸🩸 Which, quite honestly, I know that may sound pretty odd, but given how dark as night this novel was, every single aspect of it was a bright & incredible light in my eyes. I mean, the signature Kristoff move of holding your heart in a vise and adjusting it as he sees fit, in a cycle over & over & over... think, for a moment, on how you'd let loose your heart to end Star Rating: —> ALL THE STARS ! [ But if we have to get technical/ official here... FIVE(5) bright, bursting with light, Stars ! ] 🩸🩸🖤🩸🩸 Which, quite honestly, I know that may sound pretty odd, but given how dark as night this novel was, every single aspect of it was a bright & incredible light in my eyes. I mean, the signature Kristoff move of holding your heart in a vise and adjusting it as he sees fit, in a cycle over & over & over... think, for a moment, on how you'd let loose your heart to end up in that vise in the first place. Some sort of witchery? Perhaps. But honestly, that is just a mark of an incredible f*cking story & an incredible f*cking storyteller. TORTUOUS GD genius that he is! You'd think that it would be just plain painful... but no, nope, not a chance. For all the pain, there was so much utter bliss (not so much for the characters, though, because they face all manners of hardship for just a drop of happiness, it feels like), in reading this absolutely fantastic tale. Who doesn't love to cheer for the underdog? For the Fallen Hero? (Especially the ones who bite back, & bite back, our Fallen Hero & MC, Gabriel De León, most assuredly, & certainly, does.😉) There is a certain kind of bliss, indeed, in this, because it begets emotions & a Hope so strong, that every moment, every minor detail, may as well be as important as the breath you breathe, itself. This, my friends, is the very moment where you've made the decision to put your heart in the author's hands. Where every beat of said heart becomes dependent on the fate of the characters, the story being told, the words on the page. Yes, it becomes a truly euphoric addiction, of sorts. Kristoff is a master of this very specific sort of addiction. He sucks you in off the damn bat (i'm so sorry for my two terrible vampire puns there, but I HAD TO. Haha), and once he does? I believe you know what happens. The secret is in the telling, as they say . But... GAH HOW DARE HE?!?? (yeahhhh—i'm totally just kidding on that one, something MAJOR, haha; I have come to expect this treatment from Mr. Kristoff, but keep coming back for more! I stopped asking that particular question a long while ago. So; yep. Hypocrite, I am not 😂). My eyes & cheeks are stained with tears, and yet, IT WAS SO DAMN WORTH IT. Why was it so worth it, you ask? “‘A little pain never hurt anybody, eh?'" Pretty sure that's Kristoff's motto in life 😂. Gotta love him—because there is probably, IMHO, never a statement as true as this. There is no light without darkness. Life is an endless circle of positives & negatives, and one can never exist without the other. And to embrace it? That takes an immense amount of strength. It is proof that we have lived—that we are STILL living, still alive... we are survivors. My instant gratification filled self does NOT know how I am going to wait for only God knows how long for another TOME in this dark, savage, gritty, sarcastic as all hell, heart-killing, heart-warming (yeah, that sounds like a joke to me as well, but it is heart-warming, when it's not, you know, tearing your heart out), series. The hardcover copy of this book is A GIANT that looks 1000+ pages long—but, no, it is only around 750 pages which go much faster than I could've ever imagined. I was so utterly enthralled with this PHENOMENAL novel that I read it in one day (!) from mid afternoon to 11 PM with only a break for dinner and whatnot; that is how just absolutely insanely gripping this was; just... *smh* how damn astounding this was. And the ending... oh my God, that f*cking ending... Holy. Shit. Just... Holy Freaking Shit!!! Goodness— I just have no more words, atm. This is something you absolutely have to hold in your own hands & read with your own eyes. BUT— I just have to say... it really is just BLOODY BRILLIANT, just... an absolute masterpiece ! (Like, possibly one of the best books i've ever read in my entire life—and I assure you, I have read a metric SH*T TON of books in my life😂; way more than it shows on GR because I only started using it in 2017—level Brilliant, with a capital f*cking B !) 100% recommend to new adult & adult dark fantasy lovers. Possibly even upper level YA readers, as well. AND of course, all of the vampire-loving heathens like me out there ! Haha. JUST READ THIS ALREADY!!! You WILL NOT regret it. 🩸🩸🖤🩸🩸 Well, if you don't like adult themes such as the following, this may not be the one for you: sexual situations, cursing (although if you were one who doesn't appreciate those so-called foul words, I don't think you'd have even made it this far through my review 😂), like LIT-ER-ALLY— LOADS & LOADS & LOADS & then some, of cursing/ foul language (I love it! Haha), graphic depictions of violence/ torture-ish(?), ideations of suicide on maybe one or two occasions, depictions of drug & alcohol addiction & withdrawal, death, lots & lots of death (don't want to say of who or what as to not spoil any of the story)... gah & if there is anything else that I remember later, i'll be sure to add it! 🩸🩸🖤🩸🩸 _____________________ F*CK. TO. THE. YES ! I had this marked as want to read when it was untitled, bc pfffft c’mon- Kristoffffff, but id be lying if i didnt say i was FLIPPING MY SHIT ATM SO excited. I feel like gollum coveting the ring rn 😂😂😂

  19. 5 out of 5

    Nenia ✨ I yeet my books back and forth ✨ Campbell

    THERE IS A COVER AND A SYNOPSIS and now I am cautiously optimistic

  20. 4 out of 5

    Hamad

    Actual Rating: 4.5 Stars This was pretty good! I think it met my expectations :D RTC...

  21. 4 out of 5

    Ꮗ€♫◗☿ ❤️ ilikebooksbest.com ❤️

    No sparkling vampires here! I like the sound of this book. Like getting back to the basics when vampires were scary monsters, instead of romantic Hero’s/heroines. I feel like I felt all those years ago when I wanted to read Interview With A Vampire, long before the movie was filmed. I can’t wait to read it! I want it now!!! Blog|Goodreads|Facebook|Amazon|Twitter|BookBub No sparkling vampires here! I like the sound of this book. Like getting back to the basics when vampires were scary monsters, instead of romantic Hero’s/heroines. I feel like I felt all those years ago when I wanted to read Interview With A Vampire, long before the movie was filmed. I can’t wait to read it! I want it now!!! Blog|Goodreads|Facebook|Amazon|Twitter|BookBub

  22. 5 out of 5

    destiny ♡⚔♡ [howling libraries]

    I KNEW IT. I KNEW IT WOULD BE VAMPIRES AND I'M SO EXCITED I COULD CRY 😭😭😭 And now I'm just gonna cry more because IT'S FINALLY HERE?! 😭😭😭 I KNEW IT. I KNEW IT WOULD BE VAMPIRES AND I'M SO EXCITED I COULD CRY 😭😭😭 And now I'm just gonna cry more because IT'S FINALLY HERE?! 😭😭😭

  23. 4 out of 5

    Virginia Ronan ♥ Herondale ♥

    OMG!!! Vampires are on the rise again!? Quite literally as it seems! At least in this book! I only have to hear Jay Kristoff and vampires and I'm already thrilled because damn that man can write and everything I read of him so far was amazing and surprising! So YES to this! I can't wait to read Kristoff's take on vampires! September 2021 though! 😭😭😱 P.S: I love that the title rhymes. XD OMG!!! Vampires are on the rise again!? Quite literally as it seems! At least in this book! I only have to hear Jay Kristoff and vampires and I'm already thrilled because damn that man can write and everything I read of him so far was amazing and surprising! So YES to this! I can't wait to read Kristoff's take on vampires! September 2021 though! 😭😭😱 P.S: I love that the title rhymes. XD

  24. 4 out of 5

    Amy Imogene Reads

    5 bloody stars WHAT is this SORCERY I absolute LOVE IT and will be reading it AGAIN and again FOREVER. Plot: ★★★★★ Characters: ★★★★★ World: ★★★★★ My undying love: ★★★★★ "No fear, only fury." No negative thoughts at all for my precious, my bloody sweet cinnamon roll. This is a reaction review y'all, check out the official blurb for the general stuff. Empire of the Vampire was gorgeous. It took me a whole week to read, which is long for me, but in all honesty that is a compliment—I savored the heck o 5 bloody stars WHAT is this SORCERY I absolute LOVE IT and will be reading it AGAIN and again FOREVER. Plot: ★★★★★ Characters: ★★★★★ World: ★★★★★ My undying love: ★★★★★ "No fear, only fury." No negative thoughts at all for my precious, my bloody sweet cinnamon roll. This is a reaction review y'all, check out the official blurb for the general stuff. Empire of the Vampire was gorgeous. It took me a whole week to read, which is long for me, but in all honesty that is a compliment—I savored the heck out of this reading experience. No skimming here, folks. When I say this is a novel about vampires, that's like me saying that Paris is about baguettes. I mean, that statement isn't wrong, per se, but it is definitely stripped of perspective and reduced down to a trope. This was a multi-layered epic spanning across 3 separate timelines of the same man's life. > The surface story: Gabriel de Leon is in prison awaiting his execution, and he's being interviewed by a vampire (har har, see what we did here) about his life's story at the end of his spectacular rise and fall from grace. >>> The coming-of-age story: Gabriel de Leon is 15 years old, coming into his own and discovering he's not *just* human, and he's forcibly enlisted into a monastic order of half-vampire warriors training to win the never-ending war against the vampire king. >>>>> The quest story: Gabriel de Leon is in his fall from grace as the realm's indomitable Black Lion, he's older and battered and tragic—and a quest for the unthinkable with a band of unlikely heroes falls into his lap. What now? This was EPIC. It was TRAGIC. It was full of DEPTH. The level of worldbuilding was FANTASTIC. The characters were AWESOME. I am using CAPITAL LETTERS because I loved it and I think it needs EMPHASIS. (Lol) It's not as dark as some make it out to be—speaking from the perspective of a long-time Laurell K. Hamilton reader, folks in that sphere will understand the reference when I say Obsidian Butterfly was more graphic and twisted—but it is one big, f**k-filled bloody mess. And it's awesome. I could live in the pages of this story for quite a long time. If this novel is any indication at all of what's to come for this series, I am READY! Bring it on, Jay. Blog | Instagram

  25. 4 out of 5

    Fabiano

    Give me the fuc*ing sequel

  26. 4 out of 5

    Robin (Bridge Four)

    This review was originally posted on Books of My Heart 4.5 hearts I was so done with Vampire books but then they pull me back in. I was so done with Vampire books, like so over then. But then what happens is a favorite author of mine is like 'hey I'm writing this book and it is about vampires'. And I TOTALLY fall over myself saying "What! I love vampire books, tell me more." If I didn't ultimately enj0y myself through this book, I might feel like a fraud, reading yet another vampire story. What the This review was originally posted on Books of My Heart 4.5 hearts I was so done with Vampire books but then they pull me back in. I was so done with Vampire books, like so over then. But then what happens is a favorite author of mine is like 'hey I'm writing this book and it is about vampires'. And I TOTALLY fall over myself saying "What! I love vampire books, tell me more." If I didn't ultimately enj0y myself through this book, I might feel like a fraud, reading yet another vampire story. What the Empire of the Vampire is, it is dark, it is not for children, heck I don't even think it is for some adults. That is how dark it is! Think Vampires and zombiesk creatures that want to kill and drink you dry and blood families fighting against each other and losing so many characters you love (seriously Fortuna, how could you do that to me) and well...so much more death, pain, lost faith and more, so much more. Only Jay Kristoff makes you love him and hate him all at the same time as he brings you to the conclusion of this tale only to want more hurt, more pain and more of this dark world that will ultimately break your heart as you hug it to console all the characters you love in it. I hated this story as much as I loved it, it's complicated. It is not for the faint of heart reader. It is for the reader that travels with the hero for promise of redemption, even if it never comes. It is for those who root for the underdog even when you know in the end they might not survive. It is for the reader who has lost faith in a true story telling ability. Not all heroes are all good and some have scars deeper than you've ever dreamed of feeling. Our hero is a man who has lost his faith; he is an addict to blood smoke; he is a bastard most days instead of a fool and he has lost more in his short/long 32 years in this world than many with double his years. Gabriel, our hero, you will love him, you will hate him and ultimately you will cry for the life he has lived and the people he has lost. As he tells his tale to his Vampire jailer, you will live his life through two different time frames and become attached to the boy he was and the man he became, I think it would be impossible not to. He is both a hero and a villain, a saint and a sinner, he is the main character and a sidekick. Let's just say he is complicated and his tale even more so. It might take a little while to get rolling but once the story takes flight there is no landing until the crash at the end. Better to live one day a lion, than 10,000 a sheep. Jay Kristoff kept me with bated breath until the end and then all I wanted was the next tale in this saga. I was left bereft that I needed to wait to see what would transpire in this dark saga. This will not be for everyone. It is dark, dangerous, a little smutty in a few areas and heartbreaking. But it is a fantastically brutal tale that will leave some wanting and waiting for more.

  27. 5 out of 5

    iv ariel

    DNF 41% basically throwing money away. What a waste of a gorgeous book cover. I am wondering why Robin Hobb (I love) and John Gwynne are bigging up this puerile flex of profanity, your mama/wife jokes, and Periods as an excuse for bitchiness referenced TWICE in the span of a few pages (my gawd, hi, the 90s called and they said to tell you that v-health bashing is passé *eye-roll*). Moving on. Utterly boring dogmatic pontification (of the lazily disguised Catholic secret sect variety) but, get this, DNF 41% basically throwing money away. What a waste of a gorgeous book cover. I am wondering why Robin Hobb (I love) and John Gwynne are bigging up this puerile flex of profanity, your mama/wife jokes, and Periods as an excuse for bitchiness referenced TWICE in the span of a few pages (my gawd, hi, the 90s called and they said to tell you that v-health bashing is passé *eye-roll*). Moving on. Utterly boring dogmatic pontification (of the lazily disguised Catholic secret sect variety) but, get this, with tattoos (ummm hello, Peter V Brett would appreciate your stanning via his socials/Dms). M/M sex referred to as sodomy (that means rape, in case anyone cares, a term which has absolutely no bearing on what happens between consenting adults) but yet underaged sexing/ problematic behaviour exhibited by the sketchy adults in the first half of this book is part of the narrative. I shudder. I thought I'd be able to get through this but it's really a litany of vulgarity, and I'm bored of how many times I have to read that Gabe is into women, or something about their milky thighs, or some serving woman/thrall who reminds him of whoring or/ of a brothel or something to that effect that I've already tuned out and forgotten. Oh, and of course, breasts. I get it. Sort of. I mean, I thought Gabe took vows of chastity or some shit. So I don't really understand this continuous affirmation of het sex as a thing. In this story. Chock full of nuns and Brothers. Who cuss and quote scripture in the same breath. Which, by virtue, is the absolute fuckin opposite of sexy. Unless that's like your fetish or something. Right. I'm really mad that this book had Alucard potential, but it's really just two-dimensional vapid characters braying, bullying and being insufferably boring. There were three vampire fights. At 40%. There are better books to read... definitely ones more surreptitious about biting Game of Thrones' white walkers and LOTR's love of the pipe.

  28. 4 out of 5

    ♠ TABI⁷ ♠

    "I swear by the Almighty, Mothermaid, and all Seven Martyrs," Aaron sighed, "I've never heard a tale half so strange as this." I somehow managed to power through this sprawling drag of a novel that was basically nothing much except blood, gore, weird sexual descriptions, and so-called "humor" that took 700+ pages to really do not much of anything. Which is really hilarious when the author thinks it's a stunning masterpiece (and literally threw a fit on Instagram when this wasn't chosen for GR Cho "I swear by the Almighty, Mothermaid, and all Seven Martyrs," Aaron sighed, "I've never heard a tale half so strange as this." I somehow managed to power through this sprawling drag of a novel that was basically nothing much except blood, gore, weird sexual descriptions, and so-called "humor" that took 700+ pages to really do not much of anything. Which is really hilarious when the author thinks it's a stunning masterpiece (and literally threw a fit on Instagram when this wasn't chosen for GR Choice) when, at the core, this book comes off as written by a creepy, privileged man who had a bad religious background that made him very angry and gets off on writing voyeuristic sexual scenes about LGBTQ+ characters . . . a pair of which are teenaged girls . . . but also has a masturbation fixation?? Can't believe V.E. Schwab did a cover blurb for THIS. And look, I absolutely knew what I was getting into when I picked this book up. I came into this to roast it and see JUST how bad it might get, considering the problematic (and really just not that great) content and writing of his previous books. And when I say I expected it to be BAD, well, it really didn't disappoint me . . . ⚠️⚠️ ALL THE SPOILERS START NOW ⚠️⚠️ 'The vampire's eyes widened in alarm. "Scandalous." "Mock if you will." "Merci, I believe I shall." I would have maybe appreciated this book better if it didn't take itself so seriously. Instead, there was a machine-gun barrage of gross and unnecessary innuendos and rambling soliloquy rants that belong in a blog post or notes app screenshots post. There was so much voyeuristic sexual content along with a problematic male gaze/view, homophobia and related slurs, misogyny not-so-stealthily hidden towards "strong women" characters, choppy writing, forced humor and way, way too much banter. This was peak Jay Kristoff stuffed into this book and, if I hadn't cemented myself into finishing it and writing this review, I would have dropped this book in the first chapter. And, again, I just find it hilarious how serious this book tried to take itself, because if it was a satire or a comedy?? Absolutely here for it. I mean, how can you have something like this—'spirits that strong will burn like a trencherman’s fart in a candleshop'—and other various phrases and expect this book to be viewed as something edgy, something dark, something just so gruesome and unique and whining about how your magnificent "magnum opus" didn't make GR Choice selection blah blah WHEN YOU WRITE LIKE THIS??? Anyways, author issues and bad writing aside . . . This really wasn't a good story. "They made a lion of you. They made a legend. A foe even the Forever King learned to fear." Gabriel What's-His-Face has risen up and given challenge to Aelin for the amount of self-confidence affirmations and introductions because I bet that almost HALF this book could have been done away with if all of the "I'm a lion" sentences had been scrapped. Besides that, he's a Speshul Boy™️ from a conveniently-forgotten bloodline (still wasn't explained how DEAD creatures were able to procreate okay) and rises up as a super famous warrior BEFORE HE'S EVEN TWENTY like okay so that happened. But don't forget all the heavy religious overtones!! And settings!! Actually, it's totally okay if you forget stuff because the book reminds you again and again of all the Very Important Things™️ every twenty pages. It's all of that which makes the book so large and FOREVER to make the points it attempted to make near the end of it all. I'm also gonna talk about the language in here, and by language I mean not-English and how the author doesn't seem to get that YOU CAN JUST WRITE IN ENGLISH IT'S OKAY using 'oui', 'merci', and 'ma famille' instead of yes, thanks, and my family (gonna ignore the halfway-started use of KEN for KNOW/KNOWING) okay! It doesn't add multicultural flavor; it just makes you look like an appropriator and looks dumb when used like that. I'll forgive it on Wattpad but not in a book published by a major company nor from an author who should really know better. Is this review rambling and confusing and bouncing all over the place? Yes, of course it is, I'm just matching the vibe of the book okay. "Our dead stay dead, Silversaint. Yours rise against you." There is a reason I rated this book two stars and one star is for the glimmers of potential I caught out of the mess and appreciated . If this concept was written by ANYONE ELSE that wouldn't be throwing sex jokes and drunken rages about God at the reader on almost every page . . . I would have liked it. The vampires in here are VAMPIRES and I can applaud how they're not romanticized or humanized in here—they're cold-blooded ancients out for domination and, unfortunately for humanity, they've got the strength to do that. 'Monsters rising from beds of cold earth and slipping on the façade that they were something close to human.' But, that other star just might be for Jean-Francois and how the author's tendency to write nothing but banter or snarling or bad fucking just FIT for that one character. If Gabe is the author self-insert then the classy, dandy vampire historian Jean-Francois is MY self-insert and, no, you can't change my mind. Which just goes to show that, if done in the right angle and chilling out on the "your mama" jokes and overuse of variables on the word "fuck" . . . this style CAN work. It just doesn't work here. "Fuck me," I breathed. "The Testaments name sodomy a deadly sin, so I'd rather not." Talon offered a brief smile. "But you're very pretty, de León, and I appreciate the offer." This is one of the most blaringly obvious parts of the book that is written with the tone of "ha ha ha this is just how soldiers word spar with each other" and, before anyone pops up to say that this said by a Bad Guy™️ . . . it's not the ONLY homophobic/LGBTQ+ unfriendly thing in this book. It's just one of the first, followed by a very graphic and hateful outing & treatment of a gay pairing who thankfully doesn't die BUT is still horribly mistreated. That didn't need to happen and I don't care if they are now living happily in their own fort. Because the way this author writes queer characters is done in a way like it's just pandering to diversity check-boxes for sales and "look I'm not homophobic I have gay characters" than actually giving representation . . . but is also feeding a kink, especially with all the voyeurism attached to it. But the straight relationship isn't even written that well either?? It's all over-the-top flowery euphemisms and ''oooh this is sinful isn't it??" that makes all Kindle Unlimited romance books shine a little stronger. I've read better sex scenes than the cismale viewpoint I got here and read books that did vampire sex kinks better justice ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Moving on!!! "If it hadn’t been for God’s insistence on shoving his prick into my earhole at every opportunity, we’d have been gold as a sailor’s best teeth." "Our good initiate will eventually figure out that your breasts, whilst magnificent, aren't any real impediment to combat prowess." "It's not your todger, you can take your hand off it occasionally." Jay Kristoff writing these things like: If half the book could have been pared down by scrapping Gabe's rants and reminding everyone "I've got a lion in these veins bruh" then the other half of this book could be tossed by getting rid of ALL the genitalia references, innuendo, stupid one-liners, attempts at raunchy quips every other sentence, and also sentences that just plain didn't make sense and read . . . weird. Just read my highlights & reading updates to see more of the hilarity that was this writing and story. I truly think this is my last Kristoff book because I'm done seeing if he's gonna write any better. I'm done with this author shoving his ideas of what makes a great novel down reader's throats and expecting them to shut up and take it and LIKE it . . . especially when IT'S NOT THAT FANTASTIC OF A STORY. If anything, this is average fantasy just done up in a bit more gore and violence. So, the rundown, as if this giant review wasn't enough already: —there's better books out there —if you want gore and bad sex jokes on every page, you'll like this book —horses die left and right and it's awful —there is barely any plot just one-liners and rants about how much Gabe (and probably Kristoff) hate God —creepy gay voyeurism isn't cool no matter how times you try to write as if it is —the cover and illustrations are too powerful and well-done to belong to a book like this And that's it!! I can rant as much as Gabe about this book, I will not hesitate to defend my opinion on this rather bad book, and now I'm off to read better things and count this as my farewell to Jay Kristoff's works. May he somehow miraculously become a better writer. pre-review: (view spoiler)[book twitter: Kristoff has been revealed to be highly problematic, misogynistic, and other long words that boil down to someone being an asshole me: I mean, have you READ his books??? it's all there ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ but yes I'm still going to read this and rip it to shreds okay allow me my saltiness) (hide spoiler)]

  29. 5 out of 5

    Dannii Elle

    Whilst reading this book I remained impressed by its ingenuity and uniqueness, and yet also found it distinctly similar in tone to two other books - Interview with the Vampire and The Name of the Wind. Upon later reading the author's own review I found he also cited these two books as representative for the book's contents. I'm glad to have belatedly found he delivered on this claim. I loved how this story was delivered. It opened with protagonist, Gabriel de León's, incarceration. He was at the Whilst reading this book I remained impressed by its ingenuity and uniqueness, and yet also found it distinctly similar in tone to two other books - Interview with the Vampire and The Name of the Wind. Upon later reading the author's own review I found he also cited these two books as representative for the book's contents. I'm glad to have belatedly found he delivered on this claim. I loved how this story was delivered. It opened with protagonist, Gabriel de León's, incarceration. He was at the mercy of the vampiric creatures he had spent most of his life hunting and felt his painful execution was soon to be delivered. However, he was, instead, prompted to deliver his life story, detailing all events that led to the present moment in time. This he did, in a more-or-less chronological fashion. There was just something so mesmerising to be first introduced to the present Gabriel before then witnessing his younger, more naïve and fearful self. I was instantly eager to learn how the former was bred from the latter. Gabriel's life-story also provided a political, cultural, and geographical understanding of the kingdom. This is before also chronicling how the vampires continued to rise and overpower their human foe, with only figures like Gabriel to stand and defend them. Both human and vampire had spent centuries at war and the mythical Holy Grail was humanity's final hope for salvation. The vampire that Gabriel is now tied to hopes that his history will point him in the direction for where it lays, and prompt its destruction before any have the chance to use its force against him. This was a very dark tale and it delivered exactly the ominous atmosphere and sinister tone that I desired from it. I am so eager to see Gabriel's story through to completion, and hopefully also see the human race, and his soul in particular, saved as it continues. I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to the author, Jay Kristoff, and the publisher, Harper Voyager, for this opportunity.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Ari

    Holy. FUCK. This isn't a book to read lightly. It's often gory, coarse and violent. But it's also packed with emotion, passion and sensuality. The writing is great, the pacing is phenomenal, and I was hooked from the first chapter. Gabriel de Leon may be no hero, but you're sure as hell going to root for him from the very beginning. Holy. FUCK. This isn't a book to read lightly. It's often gory, coarse and violent. But it's also packed with emotion, passion and sensuality. The writing is great, the pacing is phenomenal, and I was hooked from the first chapter. Gabriel de Leon may be no hero, but you're sure as hell going to root for him from the very beginning.

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