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Empire of the Vampire (EOTV #1)

[A quick note: How freaking beautiful is this edition? Absolutely stunning, folks. Officially my prettiest book on my shelves. Okay, so…I feel like no matter what I write in this review, it won’t live up to the actual book. When a book contains so much perfection it’s difficult to match that in a review. But I will say upon some reflection, that this read might not be for everyone. I’ve heard some say they weren’t into the style of storytelling. But most of the feedback I’ve heard has been all praise. I myself found it difficult to find anything at all to critique.]

“𝐈𝐭'𝐬 𝐢𝐧 𝐬𝐢𝐥𝐞𝐧𝐜𝐞 𝐰𝐞 𝐤𝐧𝐨𝐰 𝐨𝐮𝐫𝐬𝐞𝐥𝐯𝐞𝐬, 𝐯𝐚𝐦𝐩𝐢𝐫𝐞. 𝐈𝐭'𝐬 𝐢𝐧 𝐬𝐭𝐢𝐥𝐥𝐧𝐞𝐬𝐬 𝐰𝐞 𝐡𝐞𝐚𝐫 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐪𝐮𝐞𝐬𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧𝐬 𝐭𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐭𝐫𝐮𝐥𝐲𝐦𝐚𝐭𝐭𝐞𝐫, 𝐬𝐜𝐫𝐚𝐭𝐜𝐡𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐥𝐢𝐤𝐞 𝐛𝐚𝐛𝐲 𝐛𝐢𝐫𝐝𝐬 𝐨𝐧 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐞𝐠𝐠𝐬𝐡𝐞𝐥𝐥𝐬 𝐨𝐟 𝐨𝐮𝐫 𝐞𝐲𝐞𝐬. 𝐖𝐡𝐨 𝐚𝐦 𝐈? 𝐖𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐝𝐨 𝐈 𝐰𝐚𝐧𝐭? 𝐖𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐡𝐚𝐯𝐞 𝐈 𝐛𝐞𝐜𝐨𝐦𝐞? 𝐓𝐫𝐮𝐭𝐡 𝐢𝐬, 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐪𝐮𝐞𝐬𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧𝐬 𝐲𝐨𝐮 𝐡𝐞𝐚𝐫 𝐢𝐧 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐪𝐮𝐢𝐞𝐭 𝐚𝐫𝐞 𝐚𝐥𝐰𝐚𝐲𝐬 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐦𝐨𝐬𝐭𝐭𝐞𝐫𝐫𝐢𝐟𝐲𝐢𝐧𝐠, 𝐛𝐞𝐜𝐚𝐮𝐬𝐞 𝐦𝐨𝐬𝐭 𝐩𝐞𝐨𝐩𝐥𝐞 𝐧𝐞𝐯𝐞𝐫 𝐭𝐚𝐤𝐞 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐭𝐢𝐦𝐞 𝐭𝐨 𝐥𝐢𝐬𝐭𝐞𝐧 𝐭𝐨 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐚𝐧𝐬𝐰𝐞𝐫𝐬.”—Jay Kristoff

I loved this book. Everything about it. Pure sin and darkness bottled into a captivating story. The writing in this book was exquisite. It was raw and brutal and portrayed the characters through an honest lens that didn’t sugarcoat their personalities. I loved Gabe and Dior the most. Gabe’s IDGAF attitude and Dior’s unapologetic sarcastic charm won me over immediately! This was the kind of book that sucks you in every time you pick it up. While it’s long, I felt like I breezed through it.

The story was told from a unique perspective that you don’t often see, jumping between different timelines. From the first pages, we see Gabriel (at present) in his current confinement, telling his story to a historian. We see two storylines: him at sixteen and thirty-two. There’s nothing, I repeat, absolutely nothing soft and fuzzy and warm about his story. It’s a tragedy. One you see coming from miles away. Kind of like watching Titanic and knowing exactly what’s going to happen, yet, you can’t look away from any of the events leading up to it. Somehow, through it all, Jay managed to capture endearing moments.

If you’re looking for an amalgamation of amazing tropes and stories, you’ll find it here. I felt so many different vibes. From the Interview with a Vampire style of storytelling, to the tones that drew parallels between the Silversaints and the Night’s Watch from Game of Thrones, to similarities between some cool ideas in the DaVinci Code with the holy grail, there’s definitely some age-old-ideas here, but Jay does a fantastic job OWNING all of them. I love the spin he put on everything and the way it came together.

“𝐓𝐡𝐞𝐫𝐞’𝐬 𝐧𝐨 𝐦𝐢𝐬𝐞𝐫𝐲 𝐬𝐨 𝐝𝐞𝐞𝐩 𝐚𝐬 𝐨𝐧𝐞 𝐲𝐨𝐮 𝐟𝐚𝐜𝐞 𝐛𝐲 𝐲𝐨𝐮𝐫𝐬𝐞𝐥𝐟. 𝐍𝐨 𝐧𝐢𝐠𝐡𝐭𝐬 𝐝𝐚𝐫𝐤𝐞𝐫 𝐭𝐡𝐚𝐧 𝐨𝐧𝐞𝐬 𝐲𝐨𝐮 𝐬𝐩𝐞𝐧𝐝𝐚𝐥𝐨𝐧𝐞. 𝐁𝐮𝐭 𝐲𝐨𝐮 𝐜𝐚𝐧 𝐥𝐞𝐚𝐫𝐧 𝐭𝐨 𝐥𝐢𝐯𝐞 𝐰𝐢𝐭𝐡 𝐚𝐧𝐲 𝐰𝐞𝐢𝐠𝐡𝐭. 𝐘𝐨𝐮𝐫 𝐬𝐜𝐚𝐫𝐬 𝐠𝐫𝐨𝐰 𝐭𝐡𝐢𝐜𝐤 𝐞𝐧𝐨𝐮𝐠𝐡, 𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐲 𝐛𝐞𝐜𝐨𝐦𝐞𝐚𝐫𝐦𝐨𝐮𝐫.” —Jay Kristoff

And there’s some amazing character growth. Uhmmmm, who doesn’t love a fantastic arc?? **raises hand** Gabe is this tragic hero suffering from a great loss. He starts off with his own selfish goals during his secondary timeline. He uses everyone around him to get what he wants. But so much of that changes in time. HE changes. I loved loved loooooved that.

Hype wise? For me (unpopular opinion) It didn’t QUITE live up to the hype. I still like Jay’s Nevernight Trilogy better. I think because there were so many ideas in this one that didn’t strike me as original (Got’s Night’s Watch, Interview with a Vampire, DaVinci Code Holy Grail) that felt so close to already existing content, and I know there’s no such thing these days as “original” stories, I guess I was expecting more originality from something this hyped. But I blame the hype, after all, for setting my sights high. And like I said, Jay managed to put his own unique spin on everything.

Okay, there’s not much more I can say here beyond what everyone else has already said. It’s a fantastic read. I cannot wait for the next book. Unlike the forever king…I do NOT have forever! So please, for the love of God, give me the second book!

𝐌𝐘 𝐑𝐀𝐓𝐈𝐍𝐆: 𝟓/𝟓⭐️


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