Audiobook Review: The Kingmakers by Clay & Susan Griffith

Audiobook Review: The Kingmakers by Clay & Susan GriffithThe Kingmakers by Clay Griffith, Susan Griffith
Narrator: James Marsters
Length: 14 hrs, 49 mins
Series: Vampire Empire #3
Published by Buzzy Multimedia on January 29, 2014
Genres: Alternate History, Horror, Paranormal, Romance, Steampunk
Format: Audiobook
Source: Purchased
Amazon • The Book Depository

The epic Vampire Empire trilogy rushes to a heart-wrenching conclusion of honor and love, hatred and vengeance, sacrifice and loss. 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 fearsome 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 - Gareth's brother, Cesare. It is a gamble that could win the war or signal the final days of the Greyfriar.

This. This right here is my unenthused face. This series started off well and then steadily nose-dived to this thoroughly uninspiring conclusion. Why come up with really unique and interesting world building only to use it for the setting of a cheesy romance and tepid plotting? What a waste. Final verdict on the Vampire Empire trilogy: NOT FAVORABLE.

It took me almost a complete month to finish this audiobook. How often does it take me that long to read a book? Not fucking often, I can tell you. Sure, I was in Europe for two weeks of that, which did mess with my audiobook schedule, but I could have found time when I was walking around the airport or during some of my time alone, but I didn’t. Why? Because I didn’t want to. Why did I finish, you might be wondering? Well, I’d already bought the audiobook, so it seemed like the thing to do. Plus, I tend to be an optimist and to hope that things will improve. Sometimes that bites me in the ass.

The romance between Adele and Greyfriar/Gareth has been hard for me to handle the whole way through. Oh, they were sort of okay in the first book, mostly because I’m really susceptible to hate to love ships. However, I quickly lost what little interest I had in their romance and holy shit does this series spend a lot of time on their canoodling. The whole war between the vampires and the humans seems to be more an obstacle between their love than an actual plot, even though that’s sort of the whole fucking point.

Adele and Gareth are set up as Romeo and Juliet, in love despite the disapproval of their species. There’s problem number one that I have with this series. I mean, normally vampires are humans with some extra powers. Undead humans, but humans. They might be really old, which can make the romances a bit creepy, but compared to actually being different species that’s not so bad. They are literally not the same type of creature. I mean, okay, I’ve shipped a few like that in my time (generally aliens), but the whole forbidden love Romeo and Juliet thing sort of put paid to any chance at that.

Not to mention the fact that Adele and Gareth are doubly chosen ones. Adele is basically an Egyptian Buffy, with magical vampire-killing abilities. Gareth is the ONLY vampire who can read or who cares about humans or who has fine motor control in his hands. THE ONLY ONE. He’s been masquerading to protect humans from vampires and is pretty okay with his human love killing bunches of vampires. That’s totally okay for a creature to be on board for the killing of all of their kind if it’s necessary to save another kind. Yeah. That happens in totally sane creatures.

To top it all off though, they’re both BORING. They have all the chemistry of a wet sponge and a kitchen sink. Sure, they may go together, but nobody’s waiting eagerly to get home and read about their nice, clean, squishy romance. They are so sincere too each other that I want to just hurl into said kitchen sink. Then there’s the fact that everyone but the evil people come to accept their romance, because WHO CARES IF THE EMPRESS WILL BE ABLE TO HAVE A KID? Totally cool for her to be with a vampire. That is totally how empires work. Like, no one even suggested that he be her mistress and that she get a husband for procreation. Of course, her advisers also let her go running around the kingdom into dangerous circumstances, so this empire isn’t the brightest anyway. If your ideal romance is a forbidden love where the couple keeps telling each other how much they care about one another and constantly running off to save one another and constantly thinking the other one is dead (R&J much?), then you may love this.

Aside from that, the plot’s really lacking in a push forward, despite the fact that there’s a war on.They natter on and on about plans, try them, fail and end up doing something else anyway. That happens, but after endless discussion, I’m not exactly pleased. Then there’s the fact that one of the bad guys was taken out because he took the time to grandstand rather than just dispatching his victim. HOW CONVENIENT. And then there’s the magical survival bit at the end. Basically, Gareth should have been killed by Adele’s powers many times over before the end of the story, considering that they took out other vampires farther from her than he was, but he’s too fucking special for that apparently.

Oh and here’s the icing on the cake, the factor which made me rate this book down from a 1.5 or 2 to a 1. MASSIVE ANIMAL DEATH. It’s even implied that the death of the animals is less terrible than the ripping up of Gareth’s library, consisting of like ten books. NOT OKAY. View Spoiler » Fuck this book and its animal killing. You won’t get any artificial tears out of me, book.

I recommend reading just the first book if you don’t like cheesy romances. If you do like your romances dripping with sincerity and forbidden love, go get this right now because you’ll love it. Yet another series I’ve finished that went down in giant flames. *sighs*

Tl;dr – Review in a GIFfy:

gif buffy spike does not approve

2 responses to “Audiobook Review: The Kingmakers by Clay & Susan Griffith”

  1. […] of Fictions reviews Girl Underwater, by Claire Kells, narrated by Julia Whelan and The Kingmakers, by Clay & Susan Griffith, narrated by James […]

  2. Lyn Kaye says:

    Yeah, the animal deaths were the worst part, ever. I don’t think the book needed that to make a point.
    Lyn Kaye recently posted…Book Review: Counting BackwardsMy Profile

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