Empire Of The Vampire by Jay Kristoff

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 the 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...

Empire of The Vampire is probably one of the most anticipated and talked about books in the last 12 months or so. I waited over a month to get a copy from my local library, so needless to say I was more than excited to start reading this super hyped book.

The story follows Gabriel, a teenage boy who lives with his mom, dad, and sisters in this fantasy realm. The world that Gabriel lives in is plagued with vampires. As Gabriel reaches puberty he starts to realize that he is not quite like other people, so after the death of his sister and a very explicit incident with his girlfriend, Gabriel joins this sacred brotherhood.

The book starts with Gabriel shortly after he’s been captured by vampires and forced to tell his life story to a vampire chronicler. Jay Kristoff called this book a mix of Anne Rice’s Interview With a Vampire meets Patrick Rothfuss’ The Name of The Wind. So let me start by saying that the only thing about Empire of The Vampire that could relate to these two novels is the format of a story-within-a-story and the fact that the main protagonist is telling the story to a chronicler.

I really went into this book thinking I was going to absolutely love it. Not only because of the hype surrounding it but because I love vampires. I love Anne Rice and The Name of The Wind is one of my favorite epic fantasy books.

So let’s start by talking about the elements that work in this book. Although the plot in itself is fairly simple. The world is dominated by vampires and a small group of people is out to destroy these vampires and restore peace to the world. I have to say that Kristoff’s choice to not write these vampires as boyfriend-like, cute vampires was a huge bonus for me. I also appreciated the fact that these monsters are brutal and there is no real, significant romance in this story. Although I love romance in a plot, I appreciated Kristoff’s different approach to the vampire genre. The illustrations in the book are brilliant and certainly a bonus to the story.

However, I wouldn’t be giving a fair and honest review if I didn’t mention the several elements that did not jive well with me, and might not with you either. This book has a strong start but it is way too long. This is a story that could’ve easily been broken into 2 books. At times the story drags on and on. Gabriel, the main protagonist is a self-absorbed a-hole, and I could not relate to him at all. The fact that every female character in this book is depicted as either a whore or a bitch was also annoying. I like to consider myself a quite open-minded person who reads all sorts of books and I don’t get easily offended by politically incorrect topics, but I have to say that all that misogyny eventually started to get to me. I’m also not going to talk about triggers because, honestly, if you are someone who gets triggered don’t even bother to pick up this book as I guarantee you will find something to get triggered about.

Format: Hardcover, 739 pages
Published: September 14th, 2021 by St. Martin’s Press
ISBN: 1250245281
Source: Library loan
Rating: 3 stars
Genre: Fantasy, Horror, Adult Content

The Death of Jane Lawrence by Caitlin Starling

death-jane-lawrencePractical, unassuming Jane Shoringfield has done the calculations, and decided that the most secure path forward is this: a husband, in a marriage of convenience, who will allow her to remain independent and occupied with meaningful work. Her first choice, the dashing but reclusive doctor Augustine Lawrence, agrees to her proposal with only one condition: that she must never visit Lindridge Hall, his crumbling family manor outside of town.Yet on their wedding night, an accident strands her at his door in a pitch-black rainstorm, and she finds him changed. Gone is the bold, courageous surgeon, and in his place is a terrified, paranoid man—one who cannot tell reality from nightmare, and fears Jane is an apparition, come to haunt him. By morning, Augustine is himself again, but Jane knows something is deeply wrong at Lindridge Hall, and with the man she has so hastily bound her safety to.

The Death of Jane Lawrence is a gothic/horror novel very much in the style of The Haunting of Hill House, Crimson Peak, and Rebecca. I have to admit that although I loved those stories, I was not very impressed with the beginning of this novel. Jane Shoringfield is this logical accountant who reaches a point in her life where  she sees the need for marriage. Not necessarily for the romantic aspect of it, but for convenience. She sets her sight on recluse, albeit good-looking, Dr. Augustine Lawrence. After convincing him that the marriage would be beneficial to both of them, they get married with the condition that she is never to set foot in Lindrige Hall, Lawrence’s family manor.

Needless to say, after a series of “unfortunate events” Jane finds herself at the entrance of Lindrige Hall, and instead of finding her dashing, and sharp new husband, she finds a weak and paranoid man who believes Jane is nothing more than an apparition and hallucination. 

From that point, we embark on the more gothic portion of the novel and the mysteries that surround Augustine and his manor. At about 50% of the book, the story takes a turn, and elements of the supernatural and the metaphysical come into play. 

I have to admit that I came into this story knowing this was primarily a horror/gothic/ghost story. What I initially thought set this story apart was the use of logic and the paranormal together. So when you take this novel for what it is, it’s certainly an interesting read, especially during the Halloween season.

The reason I couldn’t give it more than 3-stars was the fact that at times I felt Starling was trying too hard. This novel felt as if it wanted to be so many things at once and in the end, failed miserably. In terms of character development, there was none. All the characters were pretty 2-dimensional, but the novel is pretty gory with strong elements of the macabre which suits the genre.

Possible triggers include descriptions of miscarriage/infant death which may be a sensitive topic for some readers.

The Death Of Jane Lawrence is scheduled to be published on October 5, 2021. I want to thank St. Martin’s Press and NetGalley for providing me with an advanced copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.


Format: Kindle edition, 352 pages
Published: October 5th 2021 by St. Martin’s Press
Source: Free copy provided by the publisher, St. Martin’s Press, and NetGalley in exchange for my honest review
Rating: 3 stars
Genre: Horror/Gothic
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