Empire of the Vampire, UK paperback cover

Empire of The Vampire Book review

Empire of The Vampire is for those who miss the days when vampires and those who fought them, were to be feared. Bloody, epic and gripping until the very last blood-soaked page.

Review by: Steph Huddleston

Author: Jay Kristoff

Genre: Fantasy

Publication date: 7th of September 2021


Vampires and other creatures of the dark, stalk the night. But what if the day never dawned?

Gabriel de Leon, half-monster has lived through his empire’s darkest days. The sun last rose twenty-seven years ago, and since that time he has battled against the vampires who wage war against humanity. As the last remaining Silversaint (a holy order sworn to protect the empire against the creatures of the dark) it is his duty to do all he can to protect his empire and those he loves.

But the monsters he’s given his life fighting against, have now imprisoned him and insist on hearing his legendary life’s tale. And what a tale they’ll hear.

What we thought of Empire of The Vampire

There’s a reason this book has topped charts since its release. Darkly humorous prose is interwoven through a story of forbidden romance, battles of legend, faith lost and found. Added to that vivid characters and worldbuilding, and this is a book not easily forgotten.

Kristoff has shared that he hoped this book would, ‘make vampires scary again’, and he has certainly achieved that. Empire of The Vampire is filled with graphic horrors regarding the creatures of the night. Yet more horrific, are those horrors that masquerade and go undetected, or unpunished for far too long.

Gabriel, and many of the characters in this book are beautifully broken. Although set in a fantasy world, many of these struggles are rooted in reality; grief, fear, pride and the price we are willing to pay for what we believe in. It makes for a highly engaging read. These are characters you keep turning the pages for, in an effort to unveil their hearts. The payoff is definitely worth it.

Drawing on religious iconography and an at times overpopulated history of vampire lore, this could feel a bit overdone. But it doesn’t, Kristoff has crafted a masterpiece addition to vampire literature. This story manages to toe the line of nodding to the viewer’s expectations when it comes to all things ‘vampire’ but not being intimidated by them.

The rich religious iconography used throughout the book may not be every reader’s cup of tea. But it certainly adds another layer of richness to the worldbuilding.

Final Thoughts

Make no mistake, this book is at times very graphic and violent. Prior to this, Jay Kristoff has primarily made a name for himself writing young adult books. Readers should be aware — this is not a young adult book.

Empire of the Vampire is Kristoff’s debut adult fantasy, and we cannot wait to see the rest of the series.

Empire of The Vampire is perfect for

Readers who enjoyed Anne Rice’s Interview With a Vampire, or other gothic fiction such as Matthew Lewis’s The Monk will likely find much to enjoy here. However, though the book contains elements similar to the aforementioned books, it should be noted that it still stands apart from them.

If you’re an adult looking for a bloody, epic adventure — this book is worth picking up!

This book contains

Swearing, violence, explicit sex scenes, bloody vampires, anti-heroes, families (both found and blood) and an epic adventure across a darkened empire.

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