Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Release Date: September 14, 2021
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.
I was slightly hesitant about reading Empire of the Vampire because I wasn’t a fan of Nevernight, however I’m glad I decided to give it a chance because Empire of the Vampire is an epic return for vampires.
It took me about 150 pages to get used to the writing style and narrative choice, but after that I couldn’t get enough. Everything about the story works. The characters, world, and lore all work cohesively to deliver a terrifying world where vampires have taken over.
Empire of the Vampire is a unique novel in that the main character, Gabriel, is telling his story to another individual. At times, the individual Gabriel is telling the story to interrupts the narrative with comments or questions. This happened more at the beginning of the novel to the benefit of the reader as clarification questions were often asked of Gabriel.
I wasn’t a fan of Gabriel at the beginning of the novel, however as time went on and more information was given about him I found myself inexplicably drawn to him. He’s a very difficult character to like, but that’s what makes him so great. By the end of the novel, Gabriel is a beautifully flawed character you can’t help but love. He’s experience, intelligent, and broken. So heartbreakingly broken I often asked myself how he could go on.
The world of Empire of the Vampire is complex and can be confusing at times because of the sheer amount of world building Kristoff is packing into the novel. However, I was able to quickly adapt to the narrative style and understand the world Kristoff was building.
The artwork throughout the novel is exquisite. It enhances the story in and engages readers. The only thing that could have made it better was if all the artwork was in colour.
Overall, Empire of the Vampire is easily one of the best fantasy novels I’ve read all year. Kristoff blended fantasy and horror beautifully to create a terrifying world rife with deep lore and complex characters.
Have you read Empire of the Vampire? What did you think?