For What It's Worth

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Review: The Rift Walker (Vampire Empire #2) by Susan and Clay Griffith

Princess Adele struggles with a life of marriage and obligation as her Equatorian Empire and their American Republic allies stand on the brink of war against the vampire clans of the north. However, the alliance's horrific strategy for total victory drives Adele to abandon her duty and embark on a desperate quest to keep her nation from staining its hands with genocide. Reunited with her great love, the mysterious adventurer known to the world as the Greyfriar, Adele is pursued by her own people as well as her vengeful husband, senator Clark. With the human alliance in disarrray, Prince Cesare, lord of the British vampire clan, seizes the initiative and strikes at the very heart of Equatoria.

As Adele labors to bring order to her world, she learns more about the strange powers she exhibited in the north. Her teacher, Mamoru, leads a secret cabal of geomancers who believe Adele is the one who can touch the vast power of the Earth that surges through ley lines and wells up at the rifts where the lines meet. These energies are the key to defeating the enemy of mankind, and if Princess Adele could ever bring this power under her command, she could be death to vampires. But such a victory will also cost the life of Adele's beloved Greyfriar.

The Rift Walker is the second book in a trilogy of high adventure and alternative history. Combining rousing pulp action with steampunk style, the Vampire Empire series brings epic politcal themes to life within a story of heartbreaking romance, sacrifice, and heroism.

This is a bit of a different review for me - I'm not going to discuss the over all plot - just my thoughts without context so read the very thorough Goodreads summary above first.

I absolutely loved The Greyfriar (Vampire Empire Book 1) so I was dying to get my hands on The Rift Walker (Vampire Empire Book 2). Just look at that cover!!

Sadly, it didn't live up to my expectations. First I'll point out the good things of which there are many.

What I loved:
Princess Adele continues to be one of my favorite heroines. She accepts the challenges thrown at her with a maturity we just don't see from girls her age in YA these days. She is intelligent, kind and brave. Adele sorts through her options and decides on a course of action often putting her personal happiness aside as the future ruler of her people. She's neither snarky or TSTL (too stupid to live), just a compassionate young woman with growing confidence in her abilities.

The Greyfriar is heroic and self sacrificing. He is but one person fighting against his own kind and even his own family. Like Adele, he believes there is hope for an alliance between the vampires and humans and never relents in his pursuit of peace but is willing to kill anyone who harms those he holds dear.

The world building is just as exquisite and painstakingly laid out as it was in The Greyfriar. The Griffiths excel at creating a world that is both fascinating and terrifying.

What I didn't love:
There is an epic war brewing between the humans and the vampires. I understand why there needs to be a build up to the final battle but I was shifted between so many characters POV's that I ended up not caring so much after awhile. I'm not sure it was necessary to show every single persons (even minor character's) motivations at the expense of the core story and characters. 

Princess Adele and The Greyfriar's relationship was so captivating in the first book but fell flat for me in The Rift Walker. Gone was the intellectual sparring and discovery of each other. I wasn't even sure why they were in love in this book. They save each other, admire each other but past that there wasn't the spark that I felt from the first book. Their love was almost too tragic and a little boring to read. I was left thinking that they should just end this now before it gets ugly rather than rooting for them to make it against all odds as I should be.

I still highly recommend reading The Greyfriar, and despite my personal opinion of The Rift Walker it is getting rave reviews on Goodreads

This is a first rate vampire series. It has the feel of an old time swashbuckling adventure with forbidden romance, hidden identities and epic battles with steampunk elements.
Another thing - these are evil vampires. Be afraid. They are out to crush humanity. They keep humans as cattle for feeding. They are NOT romanticized in this series. On another note - the humans can be fairly evil also as their goals and allegiances shift.

Rating: 2.5 out of 4 The second installment of The Vampire Empire didn't captivate me like the first book in the series but I would still recommend it to readers looking for a fresh take on the vampire genre.

Find the authors: WebsiteTwitter
Buy the book! The Rift Walker (Vampire Empire Book 2)
Source: Purchased
Publisher: Prometheus Books September 2011


  1. ah sorry to hear that you didn't love this book. Love the covers

  2. I am very intrigued by this series even if you didn't love this book. Steampunk, vampires, and evil vampires at that. I will definitely read the first one. :)

  3. Sorry that this didn't live up to your expectations. Is there a third book planned?

  4. I've been wanting to read this series. Wish the second one had been as good as the first, but there is usually a let up in the second of a series. I almost expect it.

  5. I didn't know this series was YA! in that case i may have to check out the earlier books b/c vampire steampunk =awesome! (but you know how I am with adult paranormals-too scary :))

  6. @Carrie - I talked to the publishers at BEA. This was originally an adult title but it was popular with YA readers so that's how the series is being marketed now. I'm not sure I agree with that. It's not overly graphic so you might be able to handle it :-) but the vampires are truly evil & cruel.

    @Petty Yes, it is a trilogy. It wasn't a bad installment - it just felt scattered to me.

    @mbreakfield It did feel like more of a set up to the final book which I guess is standard for trilogies but like I said above to Petty - the story seemed all over the place instead of focusing on a few key characters. I understand the need to explain things but I didn't feel as connected to Adele & The Greayfriar as I did in the previous book.

  7. Well, since I don't mind taking a little bit of bad with the good, I think I'll still be checking this one out. But it does help to know what to expect.

  8. Same with me, yes I liked it but no it did not captivate me as much as book 1 did.

  9. You like Adele a little better than I do, but we're identical on everything else. Way too many people getting POVs makes me divide my focus too much and makes the romance less satisfying--what's left of it, that is.