Audie Award Nominee, Paranormal, 2013
1870. A time known as The Great Killing. The vampire clans arose and slaughtered humanity with unprecedented carnage in the northern parts of the world. Millions perished; millions were turned into herd animals. The great industrialized civilizations of the world were left in ruin. A remnant fled south to the safety of the ever present heat which was intolerable to vampires. There, blending with the local peoples, they rebuilt their societies founded on human ingenuity, steam and iron. The year now is 2020. The Equatorian Empire, descendant of the British Empire, stretches from Alexandria to Cape Town. Princess Adele, quick witted, combat trained and heir to throne is set to wed the scion of the American Republic, a man she has never met. Their marriage will cement an alliance between the nations and set the stage for war against the vampires in an attempt to retake the north. Prepared to do her duty she finds herself caught in a web of political intrigue and physical danger.
The Greyfriar, a legendary vampire hunter from the north, appears ready to rescue the Princess and return her home—but he harbors secrets of his own. As the power struggle between the vampires and humans increase Adele and The Greyfriar are caught in the middle, on the run, being hunted, and fighting for not just their own lives, but for future of humanity.
©2010 Buzzy Multimedia Publishing Corp. (P)2012 Buzzy Multimedia Publishing
Action. Adventure. Romance.
For me the sign of a good book is when I'm compelled to READ the sequel if it's not available on audible. Wanting to find out what happens next to the characters was what mainly had me dying to read more. The character building is superb which sometimes gets neglected in sci-fi/fantasy books. Princess Adele is a strong, independent and quite deadly heroine as opposed to some of the frail little waifs that have appeared in other vampire fiction. The Greyfriar was a superb hero, definitely far from perfect, but striving to make a difference in a war torn world.
The world building was good as well though I still have lots of questions that will hopefully be answered in future installments in this series. I felt totally immersed in the world and could picture the places and the events as they took place.
There was a twist, which I won't mention here, that I absolutely loved. The aftermath was handled perfectly. Each of the affected characters dealt with the repercussions of this revelation in a realistic way. Loved, loved, loved it.
I also loved the vampires. They definitely do not sparkle. The mythology of their race was fascinating and seemed almost believable, at least more believable than that in recent vampire books I've read. These vampires were downright scary, ruthless, but at the same time fighting to survive, much like the humans in the book.
This brings me to the next thing I liked about the book. Seeing the perspectives of both the humans and the vampires and the driving force behind each of their actions really helped the world and the novel to be more believable.
He is amazing. I'm a fan of Buffy and have always loved Mr. Marsters but I have to say I was shockingly impressed with how well he handled the various voices, both male and female, and those from various parts of the world. I actually found myself forgetting that a man was narrating for Princess Adele. He gave her such a unique voice. He was never overly dramatic, but always pitch perfect in his inflection and portrayal of emotions.
Please get the sequel on Audible as fast as possible. Though I'm tearing through the print version, it's not nearly as satisfying as listening to James Marsters portray these characters.
Give this book a chance. It's a welcome new twist on vampire lore with characters that will stick with you long after you're done listening.
Yes, although I enjoyed the print version the added dimension of James Marsters narrating was impressive. I always love him in the Dresden Files but oh my what he does with this makes me impatient for the next book in the series (I've read the Riftwalker and am waiting for the 3rd book to come out) They even have a little bit of Ney music leading in and ending the book which makes me think of of Princess Adele as a child and her Persian mother.
My boyfriend's favorite was Flay and I guess it is because she is so sexy while being so deadly. For myself it has to be the Greyfriar himself. He is obviously on the classic hero's journey and sometimes it is painful to watch. He is by no means perfect except in the struggle.
James Marsters puts in a performance, not just some sort of mellifluous voice. He handles womens voices so well that I forget it is a man who is doing the reading. He nails the ethnic voices making the Japanese tutor/mystic Marmaru sound more like Lord Toranaga than Mr. Miyagi, his Colonel Anhault, a Gurkha officer who heads the Royal Guard sounds as if he sprang right from the sub-continent and he even does convincing voices for the Persian female mystic and an African sorceress who are members of the cabal. He draws the smallest of characters so vividly that you can feel the warmth folksy appeal of the elderly couple that open their poor home to the Greyfriar and Princess Adele even at great risk to themselves. Guess you know that I've been following James Marsters since he played Spike on Buffy and Angel and he has done nothing other than improve. He never dissapoints.
The first paranormal Steampunk Adventure
The balance of action adventure, mystery and romance makes this audio worthy of your Audible credits.
I'm a voracious audiobibliophile, mainly interested in speculative fiction, with the occasional mimetic fiction or non-fiction title sneaking in.
This one is just fantastic fun. Set in an alternate history's future, one in which decidedly non-sparkly vampires are real and have risen up and destroyed human civilization throughout the temperate zone and colder climates just ahead of the industrial revolution, and humans have retreated to the equatorial regions, protected by the sluggishness which heat induces in their stronger, faster, crueller foes. Who can fly by the way, floating on wind currents. A princess of a neo-Victorian Alexandria is to be politically wed to a great American vampire killer, in advance of a great war to push the vampires back and reclaim Europe; however, Princess Adele's airship is attacked in force by vampires intent on her capture. Adele is combat trained and able, though when things look their bleakest... enter The Greyfriar, fast, skilled, strong, and tireless enough to match swords with vampire claws and spirit Adele into the French countryside. So: we have a kind of "Steampunked" alternate future of airships and goggles; we have deadly, amoral vampires and The Greyfriar; and we have the rise of a decidedly fantastic element, of mystical arts, amidst the rising tides of all-out war, circling around a badass and capably armed princess. All narrated wonderfully by Marsters, no stranger to vampires to say the least. Best known in audio as the long-standing voice of Jim Butcher's Harry Dresden, he's absolutely landed on his feet in a role absolutely perfect for him, and one which allows him to display a range of accents, ages, genders, and give voice to breathtaking derring-do. This one's enthusiastically recommended.
I'm a big fan of SF/F/Horror, and all things in between and out.
I love vampires, I love steampunk, and I’d heard some pretty good buzz on this one from friends and reviewers, and decided to give it a shot. They were head over heels in love with it, and the vampire apocalypse steampunk setting sounded thoroughly intriguing to me. Also: James Marsters! I hate being on the outside and wish I could have enjoyed this half as much as they did, but unfortunately the characters and the plot felt absolutely flat and predictable, and there was very little fun to be had.
This is, in essence, yet another vampire romance, set up with some steampunk-tinted goggles. This would not be a bad thing, necessarily, if the story or the characters were captivating, but I just couldn’t buy into any of it. We’re told how smart and cunning some of these characters, but they never do anything to convince us of that, except sometimes they kill vampires. For example, a vampire prince who sympathizes with humans has created a refuge for humanity in Edinburgh, but somehow A) the other numerous vampire clans haven’t figured this out despite his absence from their councils (what, nobody even went looking?), and B) for all his supposed cunning and smarts, this prince hasn’t thought of a way to protect his refugees when a force of vampires that outnumber said prince and his butler are attacked. (Really, you didn’t see that coming?) On the other hand, Princess Adele, who is one of the leaders of the human resistance (think Buffy mixed with Princess Leia, I guess) is so ignorant of other cultures (be they vampire or human) it’s a wonder her lack of poise hasn’t cost her family a war with other factions of humanity, much less gotten her killed.
There’s some cool tech (Fahrenheit blades FTW!) but the characters, plot, and situation are so overly melodramatic, it just became too tedious for me. Marsters sounds like he’s enjoying himself at times, and there’s nothing wrong with his performance, I just wish I had listened to the same book my friends did. But for me, it just felt like another vampire melodrama - one that lacked romance, adventure, humor, or tension.
First of all James Marsters is, as always, excellent. Let me get that out of the way now before I start in on this one. I have never been disappointed by his readings, and this book is no exception.
Now then. Was this a great book? No, it was not. It was entertaining, assuredly. The world is pretty well thought out, though it felt like the steampunk theme had been shoe-horned in on a story that would have been fine without it, and didn't really gain anything by its inclusion. Does the Greyfriar wear a mask? Yes. Also, he wears goggles. Because you see, it's a steampunk book.
Don't get me wrong, Im fine with the genre, I just didn't feel like this particular story had any reason to -be- steampunk. There isn't enough history to explain why there is steampunk, but I guess that isn't really important.
The story is standard adventure fare, with a vampire twist. The 'shocking secret' is neither shocking nor a secret, but i'm not sure it was meant to be. Somehow I doubt it.
I don't know that I will read or listen to the sequel. It was entertaining, but there are a lot better books to be had. However, if you are a big fan of vampires, alternate history, steampunk, or oldschool adventure books, you will probably like The Greyfriar. If nothing else, the portrayal of vampire culture and mindset was certainly interesting.
Two great passions - dogs and books! Sci-fi/fantasy novels are my go-to favorites, but I love good writing across all genres.
The Greyfriar is supposed to be a kind of mash up of alternate history, steampunk, and vampire mythology, but is really just a big mish-mash of multiple genres that never gels into anything coherent. The characters are straight out of a Harlequin romance and not the slightest bit believable, the dialog is stilted and boring, and the plot is downright nonsensical. The steampunk aspects appear to just be thrown in so the book can be labeled "Steam Punk" rather than actually being woven into the storyline and the alternate history doesn't make any sense. A political marriage between the head of a republic and the heir apparent of an empire??? Yeah, that would happen...in a world where there is no political sense whatsoever. (Can you imagine Barak Obama trying to marry off Malia to the king of Spain to make a political alliance??) Nice new take on the vampire origin story totally ruined by harebrained biology. Supposedly vampires are a separate species from people, but like humans and other mammals, they reproduce via sexual intercourse and the females bear children. Unlike every other mammal ever known (including VAMPIRE BATS), the young don't drink mother's milk, but instead drink their mother's blood and babies may even kill their mothers in the process. Sorry, but that is just stupid!
I read a lot of fantasy and I totally understand that you have to suspend disbelief to enjoy the genre, but good fantasy has internal logic that Greyfriar totally lacks. That said, there is one stellar thing about this audio book - James Marsters is totally wonderful and his lovely narration is the only thing that got me through the entire story. PS: Kudos to Dave (Whittier, CA) for a well-written, detailed review I wish I had read before I got the book.
It was a very entertaining listen for several reasons, well worth the money.
The setup of the Vampire Empire origin and motivation is intriguing and a good mixture of common elements and new ones (the explanation for them flying being one - no spoilers!)
The characters are well described - also the minor ones - and develop understandably. Adele is no wilting flower and finds a strenght within her while she struggles to survive. I always love strong female characters.
The Greyfriar's secret is reveiled very soon but it was quite obvious from the beginning, so I was relieved that they didn't drag this out. The conflict lies more in his origin than in keeping it a secret anyway. And I found more understanding for the vampires, especially Flay, than Adele's riding-to-the-rescue fiance.
The steampunk is a nice touch and plausible but not really necessary for or prominent in the story. If you consider buying this audiobook just because of that then leave it be.
The narration of Mr. Marsters is excellent and brings color to every character, even the smallest one. He gives them such life and emotion that the story runs like a film while listening to him. With Adele I always forgot that a man is narrating, he captures her voice so well.
Love Sci-Fi, Fantasy and Romance books.
I really enjoyed this book and will definitely read book 2. It is a different twist on the vampire genre and the story leaves you guessing and keeps you listening. If you like paranormal romance or YA, you will not be disappointed. Totally worth the credit.
No. The story was predictable. And I really didn't find the characters intriguing or particularly likable. I always enjoy Marsters, but do not feel this book was "full" enough to take advantage of his excellent range.
Marsters does an excellent job of giving the characters different voices, but I missed how he can deliver humorous dialogue, simply because there was no humor in this story.
No. All in all, I felt it was an average story, narrated as well as it could have been.
Home is where my books are.
Sigh. I was looking for a fantasy, and since James Marsters read it, I thought why not? Unfortunately, it suffers from bizarre world building. At times creepy, it kind of devolves into a depressing mix of genres, doing none of them justice.
I'm giving up so I can reread something better.
"Great fun for both young and old vampire lovers"
I rate Dracula in my Top ten of all time favourite books. I wasn't keen on the Twilight series, mainly because I am middle aged. I loved this book which has all the usual vampiric must haves. Plenty of action, romance and derring do. If you like Harry Dresden by Jim Butcher you will love this. if you have never listened to Harry Dresden then he's worth checking out.
"I'd listen to anything James Marsters is reading."
I came to these books becuaw of James Marsters and was not disappointed. story is very good and an enjoyable listen. Now for book two.
Refreshing, atmospheric, tense, loved it.
, Was not too sure at the beginning, slow to build, but the further in to the story the more I did not want it to end, no PNR generic vampires here..brilliantly executed.
"Great book and lovely story."
This is one of the nicest stories i have read in a long time. I then found it was on audible and i had to have it. James Masters is just fantastic as the narrator, he brings the characters alive with his voices and you do believe that Adele is a women..I hope that James will read the next remaining two books in the series.
An intriguing take on a vampire adventure: action by the bucket-load, an extensive range of well-developed and contrasting characters together with superb narration.
Having listened to all three books in the trilogy I can highly recommend them and await The Geomancer's release on Audible. James Marsters is an excellent narrator with a wonderfully engaging tone (even though his pronunciation of 'Edinburgh' is somewhat amusing). I look forward to listening to more books narrated by him.
"Good Concept & narration weaker world building"
Young Adult Fiction!
I really liked the concept of a vampire takeover of the cooler parts of the world but it was let down a bit by the world building - The inability of most vampires to use tools was implausible in the context of their domination of the northern human populations; similarly the ability of the young princess to recover quickly from terrible injuries.
Least interesting, for me was the romance between Adela and the Greyfriar - snails would have got there more quickly.
Good characterisation, good speed, great voice. I am a fan of the James as the narrator of the Dresden Files
Taking all three books together, I did enjoy....thus three stars.....but the end became far too predictable and the story overly long. For me the first in the series was the best and the third the weakest.
This is a review of all three books in the Greyfriar series
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