Audiobook Review: The Greyfriar by Clay Griffith & Susan Griffith

Audiobook Review: The Greyfriar by Clay Griffith & Susan GriffithThe Greyfriar by Clay Griffith, Susan Griffith
Narrator: James Marsters
Length: 10 hrs, 39 mins
Series: Vampire Empire #1
Published by Buzzy Multimedia on April 10, 2012
Genres: Adventure, Alternate History, Horror, Paranormal, Romance, Steampunk, Urban Fantasy
Format: Audiobook
Source: Purchased
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three-half-stars

1870. A time known as The Great Killing. The vampire clans arose and slaughtered humanity with unprecedented carnage in the northern parts of the world. Millions perished; millions were turned into herd animals. The great industrialized civilizations of the world were left in ruin. A remnant fled south to the safety of the ever present heat which was intolerable to vampires. There, blending with the local peoples, they rebuilt their societies founded on human ingenuity, steam and iron. The year now is 2020. The Equatorian Empire, descendant of the British Empire, stretches from Alexandria to Cape Town. Princess Adele, quick witted, combat trained and heir to throne is set to wed the scion of the American Republic, a man she has never met. Their marriage will cement an alliance between the nations and set the stage for war against the vampires in an attempt to retake the north. Prepared to do her duty she finds herself caught in a web of political intrigue and physical danger.

The Greyfriar, a legendary vampire hunter from the north, appears ready to rescue the Princess and return her home—but he harbors secrets of his own. As the power struggle between the vampires and humans increase Adele and The Greyfriar are caught in the middle, on the run, being hunted, and fighting for not just their own lives, but for future of humanity.

The Greyfriar came to me highly recommended by my friends who read adult fantasy stuff. Plus, hello, James Marsters narrates the audio, which means that I bought these because I need this in my life. Though not quite as amazing in some respects as I expected, The Greyfriar was a totally awesome listen and I am definitely not regretting my purchase. There’s tons of adventure and really nifty world building and did I mention James Marsters’ voice?

The world building of The Greyfriar is where this book totally shines. It’s an alternate history dealio where vampires are another race. Humans didn’t know they were around, but in 1870, the vampires introduced themselves by attacking. In 2020, when the book takes place, humanity is mostly way behind the world we know now, but with some steampunk goodness, like airships. Vampires rule parts of the world and humans others, with the relationship between them seriously tenuous. The heroine, Adele, is the Princess of the Equatorian Empire, based out of Egypt.

The vampires themselves are pretty awesome too. They’re not humans and they never were. They’re just another sort of creature, presumably made by evolution. They’re pretty terrifying, with claws that can expand or retract, sort of like a cat, and the ability to manipulate their own density, giving them flight capabilities. The Griffiths are playing with traditional lore and I enjoy this. Oh, they also have a unique deficiency: a weakened sense of touch, meaning that they’re not so good at tasks involving fine motor control.

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Help may be needed for cookie eating.

Those things were great. The plot itself is highly entertaining, with many chases and battles. There’s definitely some major infodumping at the start, though, due to all of the awesome world building that had to be established. It also feels like this whole first book was a lot of running around and not so much of the actually accomplishing things. It’s a nice set up for the series and I think it can easily improve from here, though.

What didn’t charm me as much was the romance and the whole Greyfriar thing. I’m not sure whether the identity of Greyfriar was meant to be a spoiler or dramatic irony. I really hope the latter, because it was so damn obvious if you have marginal familiarity with plots at all.

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I saw it coming too, Spike!

Even so, I’ll go into spoiler tags for the romance discussion: View Spoiler »

So yeah, do you want to read about scary vampires in an alternate history world with cool gadgetry and much fighting? THIS. If you want there to be lots of neat twists, not so much the this. If you want to listen to James Marsters, THIS. If you don’t want to listen to James Marsters, I don’t know what you’re doing with your life and I can’t help.

Tl;dr – Review in a GIFfy:

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One response to “Audiobook Review: The Greyfriar by Clay Griffith & Susan Griffith”

  1. Lyn Kaye says:

    EEEKKK!! This is my favorite paranormal series! I’m glad you enjoyed it! The second book is the best out of the bunch, and I hope you can read it soon. Yeah, the Greyfriar thing wasn’t hard to figure out, but I did read it as drama instead of laziness. It worked for me. I love the entire vigilante identity thing – love it!
    Lyn Kaye recently posted…Nest N’ News: April Wrap UpMy Profile

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