The Kingmakers (Vampire Empire #3) by Clay Griffith and Susan Griffith
Paperback/eBook, 392 pages
Published September 4th 2012 by Pyr
Concludes the popular, genre-crossing, epic trilogy of a war between vampires and humans
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 and 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.
(Reviewer's note: I read this book before it was released and lost my review. Here it is, late, for which I apologize).
Vampire Empire is one paranormal series I did not want to end. I relished my time spent with Gareth and Adele so reading The Kingmakers was not just thrilling, it was also melancholy. I felt like David Tennant's Dr. Who just before his regeneration when he utters, "I don't want to go." As much as that scene broke my heart, his words plucked at my heartstrings as did this final installment. I didn't want this book to end.
But if a series has to end, there is no better way to bid adieu to beloved characters and kill off hated ones than the way this third book did. The Kingmakers successfully mixes the wonder of steampunk with the horror of vampires, while showing the effects of war and the machinations of government and politics. Yet at the heart of this series lies something classic and timeless--a pure love story. I don't think I could love this series any more than I do and it's all due to the effective writing of Clay and Susan Griffith. How can they so succinctly create a scene filled with blood and murderous fanged monsters and then alternate with the loving caress or look of two people madly in love and make it so damn convincing?
I do not know the authors personally but I do credit them as a writing team and as a couple to explain how they can so perfectly meld together terrifying danger, craft mysteries, while the two main characters continue to strengthen an already amazing love and do all of this so convincingly and with incredible feeling. My ARC is filled with post-it note flags and notes written in margins. I took my time and totally read and enjoyed every single word. The Kingmakers is a fascinating read! I adored it. Simply adored it all.
Gareth continued to be his badass self when it came to dealing with his brethren and Adele, oh how she continued to wow me. She is fearless, a powerful geomancer, a true force to be reckoned it, and can still rock a dress. Her weakness is her humanity, but it also helps elevate her into the charismatic politician she becomes. She has a people to protect and with the help of her lover and a group of loyal friends, she is able to achieve her wants and needs. Adele is the perfect match for vampire Gareth. He is supposed to be an unfeeling monster but he is far from the blood sucking fiend attributed to lore and history books. Intrigued by humans, he learns compassion from Adele while helping her gain confidence in herself and abilities. Together they form an invincible team.
There is a lot of action which had my eyes flying across the pages. Betrayal from an old mentor. New alliances made. Death. Murder. A change of leadership. The return of an antagonist thought deceased. The Kingmakers wraps up an incredible paranormal trilogy with striking results and leaves fans breathless and ultimately satisfied. I will simply repeat my earlier admission: I. LOVED. IT. Simply loved it. Someone please scoop these books up and make them into movies!
The Kingmakers cover is my absolute favorite of the trio. Just look at Adele's face, knowing her beloved Greyfriar is standing next to her. Would you mess with her?
I received a promotional copy in return for my honest review. Thank you Pyr Books for giving me all three of these ARCs and making a vampire fan ecstatic.