Thursday, October 18, 2012

Review + Giveaway: The Kingmakers

THE KINGMAKERS
(Vampire Empire #3)
Clay Griffith and Susan Griffith
Urban Fantasy
392 pages
Pyr
Available Now
Received from publisher for review

THE STORY (from Amazon)
A war to the death.

Empress Adele has launched a grand crusade against the vampire clans of the north. Prince Gareth, the vampire lord of Scotland, serves the Equatorian cause, fighting in the bloody trenches of France in his guise as the dashing Greyfriar. But the human armies are pinned down, battered by harsh weather and merciless attacks from vampire packs.

To even the odds, Adele unleashes the power of her geomancy, a fear- some weapon capable of slaughtering vampires in vast numbers. However, the power she expends threatens her own life even as she questions the morality of such a weapon.

As the war turns ever bloodier and Adele is threatened by betrayal, Gareth faces a terrible choice. Their only hope is a desperate strike against the lord of the vampire clans—Gareth's brother, Cesare. It is a gamble that could win the war or signal the final days of the Greyfriar.

The Vampire Empire trilogy rushes to a heart-wrenching conclusion of honor and love, hatred and vengeance, sacrifice and loss.

MY THOUGHTS
Completing a dark and brilliant trilogy, The Kingmakers beautifully balances the brutality of the war Equatoria wages against the vampires in the north with the warmth and tenderness emanating from the relationship between Adele and vampire prince Gareth. We are continuously subjected to the death and destruction claiming the front lines – the frailty of human bodies remarkably apparent as the claws and fangs of the vampire hordes easily rend flesh from bone – but just as we are reminded of our physical vulnerabilities, the Griffiths pull us out of the darkness with a display of mental fortitude and strength of will from Adele and those around her, keeping us hovering on a precipice between success and failure in the many battles facing our beloved protagonists.

The highlight of this series is the should-be impossible relationship between Adele and Gareth, their quiet moments together ones that hold us captivated as we revel in Gareth’s unexpected sense of humor and their clear love for one another. Gareth possesses a dry wit, bantering with Adele in a way that never fails to surprise us given the dark seriousness of his brethren, and delighting us with a laugh before the reality of their circumstances sobers us one again. Part of Gareth’s appeal has always been his unusual interest in everyday human activities, and in this last installment we get to see that inquisitiveness in all its glory as he attempts to make a suitable dinner for Adele and accompanies her to the opera. We’re never able to forget what Gareth truly is despite the differences in his personality, and it’s an equal pleasure to watch Gareth use his vampire abilities to come to the defense of Adele and the country she loves as it is to see him obliterate everything humanity thought it knew about vampires.

The Griffiths do a spectacular job of bringing Adele and Gareth’s story to an end in a way that satisfies without tying up every last thread into a perfect bow, allowing us the freedom to use our imaginations as to their future without overwhelming us with a vast expanse of uncertainty when we finish the last page. The battles with the various villains aren’t perhaps quite as epic as we might have anticipated given the build-up, the fight with Flay in particular over with unexpected speed given her fighting capabilities and her surprisingly human motivation to hurt Gareth as much as he’s hurt her. That said however, things toward the end are anything but easy for both Gareth and Adele, and we can’t help but grip the pages of the final chapters with such force our fingers tingle for long minutes afterward as the blood finally returns to them. Powerfully romantic, gritty, and compelling, the Vampire Empire series is a success on every level.

Rating: 4/5

More information on Clay, Susan, and the outstanding Vampire Empire trilogy can be found here:
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GIVEAWAY

Today kicks of the blog tour for The Kingmakers (ignore the starting date on the banner, it lies ;-), so be sure and check out Clay and Susan's blog for the full tour details and the list of participating blogs. As part of this promotional tour, the Griffiths are offering up an amazing giveaway including autographed copies of the entire Vampire Empire trilogy as well as a stunning steampunk-themed necklace:



How gorgeous is that? To enter, please just fill out the Rafflecopter form below. Good luck everyone!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

71 comments:

  1. Well, it's too bad this one didn't have more of a punch for the ending, but overall, this really does sound like a consistently good series! I have never seen a negative review and people seem to love the characters and the relationship, so that all sounds good to me! I will definitely have to check it out sometime. Thanks for the review, Jenny!

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  2. Thanks for sharing your review and the fab giveaway. :) One thing that scares me are ghosts. Can you imagine one popping in front of you while you're going home at night?! :)) I would pee my pants on the spot. :)

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  3. What scares me? Everything! My parents were fearful about everything and raised us to be afraid of everything too. Bummmer! Steph

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  4. Most likely what scares me the most would be loneliness and the fear of the future. I've always been scared of what's to come, as I'd rather be young and sheltered by my parents. But everyone goes through that stage of separation, so I hope I'll be able to get through it. Loneliness because... well... who wants to be alone?

    Thank you for this wonderful giveaway!

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  5. Things that trigger my trypophobia and large, fuzzy spiders. I once encountered a wolf spider inside my fiancee's house, let's just say my fiancee had to leave work early to kill it haha.

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  6. I love this series! Thanks for the giveaway guys =) There is not a whole lot that scares me..if anything it would only be bugs...more creeps me out. I'd love to encounter a myth...ghost, vampire, fairy...even if they were horribbe and going to kill me I'd still want to see them...lol..how sick is that..oh well. Thanks again guys.
    Tanyaw1224(at)yahoo(dot)com

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  7. I so want to start this series! It's been on my radar for a while now.

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    1. What Scares me? Honestly, waking up one day and realizing that my life has been wasted.

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  8. I LOVE this series! On the second book now! What scares me are snakes. Ever since I was a kid I have been scared to death of them! Thanks for being apart of the awesome tour!
    ehaney578 at aol dot com

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  9. Great Review and Giveaway.
    Keep meaning to pick the first book in this series up, it would be great to get them all at once.
    Cheers
    j9book.blogspot.com

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  10. JENNY!!! Oh my goodness I remember how much you loved the first book, I found it over the summer at a used book store for 50 cents and I bought it!!!! I will be for sure reading it when my vampy mood hits again. So fingers crossed I win...! :)

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    1. Ps- what scares me? Demon Possession stuff.

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  11. Oooo shiny.... pretty pretty necklace...

    Now that I'm done being a demented albatross, I've seen this series making the circuit, and I have to say I like the sound of it. Sounds like an exciting series!

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  12. I LOVE the first two Vampire Empire books. Can't wait to read the third.
    -Lynn
    faitschl(at)hotmail(dot)com

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  13. Zombies scare me. I suppose I shouldn't enter this because I have 2 of the 3 books, but none of them are signed. And that necklace looks great!
    Glad you liked Kingmakers as much as me.

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  14. Love this review! And I'm so glad you enjoyed it as well! Loved that scene where he makes her... dinner. lol

    What scares me... hm. Horror movies of any kind... I avoid even trailers of those on TV like the plague.

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  15. I only skimmed this review, Jenny because I only read book 1. Though it was a slow starter for me I loved the budding relationship between Garth and Adele. Looking forward to learning about them and finishing up the series!

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  16. I just keep hearing good review about this serie. I sooo need to start reading it.

    I'm scared of the unknown.....

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  17. Sounds like a series that manages to consistently deliver! I love how you describe the main relationship. Sounds like my kind of read!

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  18. I loved the first two books in the series, so I really need to get on the ball and read this one! Hopefully even though the fight with Flay was over so quickly she'll still get what she deserves, lol!

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  19. Oh boy dark and gritty with a powerful romance! The vamps sound brutal and scary but I want to meet Gareth he sounds wonderful! Also curious about the Griffiths. I am glad after the gripping ending, you found relief! Awesome!

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  20. By blending attributes from various genres together with two unique and compelling characters, awesome settings and story lines, the Vampire Empire trilogy rejuvenated this longtime vampire fiction fan's love of the lore and made me a believer once again. And for that I thank the Griffiths. Not since Anne Rice's Lestat have I been so blown away by a vampire and his princess.

    Laurie

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  21. Spiders and hearing noises in the house when you're home alone at night

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  22. I actually liked the romance less than you did in this book. There was so much impossibility within it and how they finally got together was a bit too simplistic for me because of all the buildup. I still recommend the whole trilogy, but still liked this one less than the other 2.

    My fear? Fear itself and spiders... oh and clowns. :D

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  23. Great review, Jenny! I haven't heard much about this but you have me curious as always. I'm glad to hear it was a great end to the series. :)

    What scares me? Ahhh, Snakessss! Lock me in a pit full of rats any day, just keep those awful reptiles away from me. :D

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  24. Great giveaway! I'm drooling over that necklace!

    What really scares me is running out of books! Or like in the Twilight Zone episode where I'm the only survivor of a world apocalypse surrounded by books. . . then I break my glasses. :'(

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  25. Exciting sexy series!! Nice contest too!
    What scares me is the future of this country!! I have 5 sons and I worry about their futures.
    On a more positive note, good luck with the release! Can't wait to read!!

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  26. I haven't read, or heard about actually, this series before but seeing such a positive review for its conclusion makes me want to pick it up at once! It seems too good to miss - fantastic review, Jenny! :D

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  27. Heights scare me! Thanks for the giveaway.
    Damaris (Maris)

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  28. This has been a really series--so different than what I expected. I haven't read the third one yet, though. Adele and Gareth have such an intriguing and complex relationship.

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  29. Death and spiders.

    Absolutely love this series and am sad to see it end. I guess I'm also scared of reading the last book, in case it doesn't turn out the way I hope!

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  30. Flying. Actually, it's not the flying, it's the possiblity of hurtling to my death from 35,000 feet that terrifies me!

    Love this series!

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  31. I am still excited to read the end. A great series to read.

    Hmm...I am scared of big fish. I hate swimming in lakes where I can't see what is around me, and if a fish brushes against me? I loose it.

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  32. Spiders and their webs scare me and very high places freak me out, I think I'm going to fall.

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  33. I am afraid of fireworks, I know, how dumb. I don't like the ashy sparks that fall after the huge noise. They may look beautiful, but beware. Ok too much drama, I had my shirt burned by a stray ember and it freaked me out. Would love to win and read this great book.

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  34. Rats and cockroaches, lame I know!

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  35. I hate heights especially when there are see-through floors - totally freaky!

    Thanks,
    Leanne

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  36. thanks for the awesome giveaway! I'm *dying* to read this series :)

    pitch black, small enclosed spaces...*shudders*

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  37. What honestly scares me is getting old and losing the ability to care for myself. I see my FIL who is going on 91, deaf and with two artificial hips. He is dependent on all of us for help.

    I'd rather eat my gun then end up like that.

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  38. OMG Jenny!
    I have seen these books at the bookstore so many times but havent get them yet! Read great reviews about it and your reviews is one more positive one that pushes me to go pick them up!!
    Amazing giveaway! thanks so much for it fingers crossed ^_^

    yay!!!!!

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  39. I'm reading this now (with breaks since its so dark) and I really like this series and love the romance. They are all books I can only read in small increments. Like I read about 50 pages a day and then read something that's a completely different genre. I hope I'm satisfied with the end!

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  40. I am so scared of sharks. I think about them every time I go swimming.
    Thanks for the giveaway!!

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  41. I've never heard of this series, but you have definitely peaked my interest. It sounds like an extremely romantic and edge-of-your-seat read, which are my favorite types of books. I'll have to check it out! Great review, Jenny!

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  42. Thank you for the giveaway!!
    I haven't read this series, but want to now!!

    What scares me??.... Evil in the world now days~

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  43. Snakes and creepy crawlies scare me.

    Thanks for the giveaway.

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  44. I am terrified of spiders and I know that seems so cliche but it is true! I actually just moved to a basement apartment too so I've had to modify a swiffer into a long distance spider killer.

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  45. The deep ocean freaks me out.

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  46. In real life - pretty much everything.
    And in movies too, but I can read about pretty much anything. It's odd.

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  47. Many things are scary. I think what scares me most is losing what I love. People I love and dreams I care about.

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  48. OOO! Urban Fantasy! I haven't read many urban fantasy books before but this one intrigues me. I need to check this one out soon ;)

    Awesome review, Jenny ♥ Glad you enjoyed it!

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  49. Strange noises in the night scare me.

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  50. Wow this sounds awesome!! Im glad that you thought it was brilliant, and even though I haven't heard of this series before, I should really check it out! Great review!
    - Farah @ MajiBookshelf

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  51. Ok, I going to be a big girl and admit...I'm scared of the dark. Even to this day, I have to sleep with either the tv on or a nightlight. The dark for me is unknown and you don't know what you can encounter, I just hate it so much!

    Thanks for the giveaway!

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  52. Spiders. It's silly but it's true.

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  53. The unknown. I know it's vague, but seriously, not knowing whats out there scares the crap out of me!!!!

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  54. I have a fear of stragulation which means I can't wear chokers or role neck jumpers! Just having something around my neck feels really strange and uncomfortable...I'm glad I don't have to wear a tie! :-)

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  55. I don't really get scared, but I'm uncomfortable with a lot of things. I only get scared of certain things, like just watching a scary movie.

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  56. I need to read this series! Gareth totally sounds like a hero that I could love! Lol, and it's so cute that we get to see him make dinner. I'm sure his cooking skills are better than mine :) Thanks for the giveaway, Jenny!

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  58. I'm scared of a lot of things, including horror movies.

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  59. Thank you for the review. I'm glad you liked the trilogy...I still have to start it. I've met the authors a few times and they are so super nice.

    What am I afraid of? If I told you then...well you know the rest. Actually, I don't scared of things in books and movies that often. It's real life crazy people that scare me.

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  61. I'm glad that Adele and Gareth's story ends in a satisfying way :) That always worries me in series and trilogies.

    As for what scares me? Haunted Houses... at the same time, though, I love going in them. I just have to close my eyes the whole time, lol

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  62. This sounds like a series that I would love and that necklace is so pretty!

    I am terrified of heights and snakes! I get all woozy around heights and try to stay as far away from snakes as possible!

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  63. I am oddly afraid of fish. Not cooked fish mind you, but swimming, alive...GROSS fish!

    I can eat them, but they have to be cooked (or in sushi form) without heads or scales!

    Melissa Caldwell

    FB: lexley
    @lexley

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  64. If I keep telling folks what scares me, I just know somewhat is going to show up with cymbals outside my window one night LOL I am sore afraid of thunder ;=D Thank you for sharing with us today and for this awesome giveaway opportunity.

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  65. Heights and bugs(including spiders and snakes) and clowns!!
    Thanks for the giveaway!

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