Book Review: Empire of the Vampire by Jay Kristoff

From the Cover

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 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.

My Thoughts

For anyone that knows me, not being able to explode into a thousand bats and fly off into the night is a source of contention for me. Although my love of reading was sparked in school, it wasn’t until my mother handed me The Vampire Lestat that I fell in love with reading for pleasure. Anne Rice and sexy vampires are my jam.

While having read many vampire novels, a lot of them seem to echo the same kind of back story. (With the exception of the Cullen clan and their sparkling skin) In almost every vampire story, sunlight is the bane of a bloodsucker’s existence; however, Kristoff has imagined a world where the sun has died and vampires can walk freely ‘day’ or night. That premise alone intrigued me. (Also the cover of this book is insanely gorgeous) I found myself asking questions like: how would the world fare without sunlight? What foods would they eat? How would humanity vs vampires co-exist? Would humanity even have a chance at survival against the elements + day walkers? I bought the book immediately.

Kristoff begins by introducing us to Gabriel, a rich and complex character with major antihero vibes. (Think Loki with a dark sense of humor) You can’t help but root for this man, often his fictional trials mirroring our own realities. In a similar format to Interview With A Vampire, Gabriel is being held against his will and forced to relay his life story to a vampire historian. We are told his story as the historian receives it, which could prove to be very interesting if in further novels if we learn Gabriel has been lying…..I digress.

Be warned: this book is not for the faint of heart. It is brutal (no sparkling vampires here) and bloody. Kristoff will rip out your heart but you’ll beg for more. I can tell you that this book wasn’t long enough, despite it being 700+ pages long. The world building is spectacular and the cast bloody brilliant. I’ll spare you a lengthy review here and just tell you to go buy the book. I’m smitten and a forever fan of Kristoff.

I have to note this about Kristoff: he is a man about his fans. I sent Kristoff a love letter of sorts expressing my gratitude for this darkly gothic vamp masterpiece and to my surprise, he replied! I’ve even had some follow up conversations where he answered some of my questions about the book + plot. Jay has shown kindness, gratitude for the support and genuine love. He likes or comments on his reader’s posts and had even shared a couple of my reels + photos. (While on tour no less!) Jay has quickly become one of my very favorite authors, not just for his work but for his dedication to his readers.

Did the book earn a permanent spot on my bookshelf?

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