The Kingmakers by Clay & Susan Griffith – review

THE KINGMAKERS (Vampire Empire, book 3) by Clay and Susan Griffith
Pyr, 2012, 396 pages, 978-1-61614-674-8, Trade Paperback, $17.95

Genre: Fantasy/Steampunk

The final book of the Vampire Empire trilogy released not too long ago. Other fans were no doubt, like me, both elated and sad to see it arrive. But they can rest assured that they’re in for another amazing installment.

Following the events of the last book, Adele has become beloved of her people (with the exception of a few political types) and even more powerful as a geomancer. She is strong and unafraid of dangerous tactics in the war with the vampires. Even so, she begins to wonder if the extermination of an entire race is morally right, no matter how much of a danger they are. Her character, while essentially the same as the young woman we met in The Greyfriar, is more seasoned and much more aware of the fact that nothing is black and white.

The romance between Gareth and Adele is as wonderful as ever, but it’s even more contrasted by the tragedy and complications of war. The characters themselves acknowledge the impossibility of the situation between them, but, ever stubborn and idealistic, they refuse to give up their relationship.

Most interesting in The Kingmakers, I think, is watching these characters evolve. Gareth, in particular, makes unexpected choices—usually with Adele’s interests at heart, it’s true, but choices he wouldn’t have made in the first two books. Other characters evolve as well, some in a distinctly negative and insane direction, and it’s fascinating to see where everyone ends up by the conclusion.

Now, is everything in this book perfect? Well, no—there are a couple of things that might frustrate more particular readers. At the very least, they might take a moment to raise an eyebrow and look bemused. By the end of the story, however, you probably won’t care about those details. I didn’t.

I’m not going to belabor every potential point here because, frankly, anyone who is ready for book three in this series already knows how good it is and, if they haven’t already read this final volume, then they will soon. For those who are reading this and wondering whether or not to try the series, I say, yes, if you like action, adventure, and romance, then you should absolutely abandon this post and go buy a copy of The Greyfriar.

On a more whimsical note, what do I think would be utterly brilliant for fans of this series? Why, the occasional short side story of future events. How do these characters get on after the last book? Since it’s left quite open for speculation, any number of scenarios would be fun to read about. (I almost started listing them here, but then realized how spoilerish that would be for people who haven’t yet read the ending. Alas….) Plus, I find the idea of a story based around plain old day-to-day activities for these characters potentially amusing….

In other words, I have immensely enjoyed my time in this universe, and I wouldn’t mind revisiting it in some form if that were ever an option. Many thanks to Clay and Susan Griffith for making the Vampire Empire trilogy such a fantastic way to spend my time.

 Thank you to Pyr for providing a review copy of this novel.

Read more reviews about Greyfriar and Adele:

The Greyfriar by Clay & Susan Griffith
The Rift Walker by Clay & Susan Griffith

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