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 the 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.
This book was provided for review by the author and the kind people at NetGalley. Thank you!
Trigger Warnings: Human death (adult and child), animal death, physical abuse, mention of alcohol abuse
Empire of the Vampire by Jay Kristoff is the first book in the series of the same name. Told in a way that is very reminiscent of Anne Rice’s Interview with the Vampire, the reader is introduced to Gabriel de León, the last of the silversaints. His life has not been an easy one and as he weaves his tale he does not shy away from that fact. Becoming a silversaint is not easy and even more difficult is surviving in a land of everlasting night.
Several years ago the book market was practically flooded with vampire novels. While this isn’t a particularly bad thing when the market is oversaturated even new and unique novel ideas can seem old fast. This is one of the main reasons why I have reviewed only a handful of vampire-based novels here; there just wasn’t anything new or interesting on the market.
That’s where Empire of the Vampire by Jay Kristoff comes in.
Told in a series of flashbacks, Empire of the Vampire is a novel that has taken numerous tropes and ideas and gives them a unique twist. It’s a coming-of-age story that isn’t quite that at all. It’s a story with secrets and mysteries a-plenty, the majority of them merely hinted at. It’s a story with fight scenes and battles where the good guys don’t always win – and that’s if you can tell who the good guys actually are.
At close to 900 pages and only the first book of the series Empire of the Vampire offers an incredibly tantalizing taste of the world Kristoff has created. The characters that populate the story are a varied bunch each with their own goals and ideals. What those goals and ideals are aren’t always readily known, leaving the reader to wonder. With as much that is said there is just as much left unsaid.
As many other reviewers have stated, Empire of the Vampire is NOT a book for young readers. There are some adult readers who might have difficulties with it as well. Personally, I really enjoyed reading it and devoured it (pun intended) in just over a week. Were it not for pesky things like a job or a family I likely would have finished it sooner.
Readers who love a good, bloody (again pun intended) vampire novel packed with fight scenes and questionable characters would do well to check out Empire of the Vampire.