Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Review: The Rift Walker

THE RIFT WALKER (Vampire Empire #2)
Clay Griffith & Susan Griffith
Urban Fantasy
400 pages
Prometheus Books
Available Now
Received from publisher for review

Warning: Contains spoilers from The Greyfriar

After being forced to separate from Gareth, the vampire she loves who also masquerades as vampire hunter the Greyfriar, princess Adele of Equatoria is struggling with returning to the life of an heir. Forced into a relationship she doesn't want with senator Clark in order to form an alliance with the Americans, she's truly dreading each day that brings her closer to her wedding.

When plans for her big day go awry, Adele finds herself reunited and on the run with Gareth, fighting to stay hidden from both human and vampire enemies. The political situation in Equatoria becomes increasingly intense with the battle-loving Clark vying for control and her father the emperor reluctantly agreeing to his plans, so while she cares for a weakened Gareth she's also sets out to find a way to make her father understand what's at stake.

As if politics weren't enough for her and Gareth to deal with, they also find danger in the form of Adele's ever-growing powers–what lives inside her having the potential to destroy all vampires in her path should she lose control of it–and no vampire is closer to her than the one she loves.

After introducing us to a world of astounding technological advancement and creativity combined with the nightmarish yet innovative portrayal of creatures of the night in The Greyfriar, we find in this installment an increased focus on the truly labyrinthine world of politics. Navigating the twists and turns of Equatoria’s political maze is fascinating, and we read with our noses pressed to the pages as the desire for power blinds some to the cruelty of their actions, while those who have little desire to assume what is theirs by birth rise to the occasion. The Griffiths do a brilliant job of building their characters, writing in degrees of villainy and heroism so that nothing and no one is ever easily definable or clear cut, but rather everything exists somewhere on the incredibly long spectrum between black and white. The words “human” and “monster” hold little meaning in this tale, with humanity proving it can be every bit as brutal as the vampire race, and certain vampires proving the numbness of their long lives has not reduced them to beings enslaved by only the basest of urges.

Adele shows remarkable growth both physically and mentally from book one, refusing to fully cow to the demands her status as heir places on her and rising up in defense of the man, the people, and the country she loves. While Greyfriar repeatedly came to her rescue in rather brave and daring fashion previously, it is Adele who is protector and defender in this tale, caring for Greyfriar as he struggles with the heat of the southern regions while she contemplates how to make her father and senator Clark see reason with regard to the impending vampire war. Though her thoughts and opinions sometimes get lost in the churning sea of testosterone surrounding her, she remains steadfast and persistent in what she believes, and we can’t help but be excited about where this attitude will lead her moving forward.

This story is by no means a romance, but the relationship between Adele and Gareth is one that never fails to bring a smile to our faces, the tension and distrust prevalent in The Greyfriar melting away and leaving behind a comforting camaraderie consisting of genuine affection and witty banter. Though their situation is often dire and the reasons why they can’t be together increase in number and significance, they still find time to tease or share a gentle touch that reminds us of all the reasons they should fight for what they’ve found in one another. Things for them are never easy, but both are confident in their feelings and in their purpose, making them a couple we will to succeed with all the strength we possess.

Though the number of characters and stories running parallel to one another in conjunction with some epic political maneuvering can be just a touch tedious at times, the richness of this world never fails to enthrall. The separate plotlines, though numerous, do come together beautifully–cogs in a bigger machine we can’t wait to see revealed in all its glory in the final installment. This series is an absolute joy to read, and something we long to experience again and again during the wait for book three.

Rating: 4/5


  1. I have the first in this series!!! I need to read it! I've heard really AMAZING things about it... But in a bit concerned if there's a bunch of stories going around the main one... You know how easily confused and distracted I get!! Lol

  2. I definitely have this series on my TBR. Not for right away, because I'm completely burnt out on vampires at the moment, but for eventually. It sounds too good to pass up. The politics do indeed sound fascinating, even if they were a little boring at times.

  3. Ashley - There's a lot going on in both books, but once you kind of settle in you stop noticing and just get involved. Such great characters in this series though:)

    Aylee - I love their take on vampires, and Gareth and Adele are favorites of mine:)

  4. I keep hearing positive reviews for this series; will have to bump it up to the top of my TBR. I love stories with complex, evolving characters, and from your review it sounds as if these stories have lots of those. I'm growing impatient, and want to read them NOW. :)

  5. I only skimmed your review and read the last paragraph. It definitely sounds like something I would want to read. I keep her amazing things about it from you, Missie, and Melissa. I'll have to remember to take notes while I read it. I don't mind the many characters and multiple storylines but if its intricate as it sounds, I'll need to take notes to keep me sane! Yes, I'm a nerd. English major, can't you tell? ;) I'll see if I can get it from my library.

  6. I really enjoyed this one. It is definitely more complex than the first book (and somewhat less enjoyable), but I respect it. I miss the great romantic moments from book 1 although there are still many. I love that Adele took the lead in this book. That never happens in a second book. And that they were together for most of the story.

  7. BJ - I hope you do! This is a series I probably would have glossed over if not for blogger recommendations, and I would have missed out big time if I'd passed it by!

    Rummanah - Luckily there aren't TOO many characters to keep track of where things just get muddled, but in this second book especially there was just a lot of politics taking place and it would take me a minute or two to adjust when we followed someone new:)

    Alison - I did miss some of that hesitancy and tension from book one, but I loved how comfortable they were with one another in this one, and all the moments they just teased one another:)

  8. I just skimmed your review, since I still want to read The Greyfriar, but it sounds like The Rift Walker is a good follow-up! I love when sequels manage not to get stuck in that rut that often seems to follow the first book in a series. :)

  9. Note to self: Another series I must add to my list. :) I really need to start reading more adult novels. lol! This series sounds fantastic. I love it when the characters relationships make me smile!

  10. I'm thinking this might be one I want to try on Audio. Like Ash, I get confused easily.

    Still the vampires and humans sound like nothing I've ever encountered and that's pretty exiting. Plus witty banter always easily wins me over.

  11. I did enjoy book 1 much more but it was still good, and I sure hope they will be happy in book 3 too

  12. Ohhh!! Is it just me, or does that title sound really cool? LOL! And the thought of vampires and growing characters makes it sound extra cool! :) Plus, I hardly ever read a book without romance as one of the main focuses, but I LOVE genuine affection and witty banter so I know I'll have fun with this!

    Awesome review as always, Jenny! I think I might have to pick up book one soon! ;)

  13. Lauren - It was a great follow up, things are definitely getting even more complex and I'm really excited to see how things progress with Gareth and Adele:)

    Christy - I think you'd really enjoy it! I like mixing books like this in with all my YA reading, it gives me something new and fresh to enjoy:)

    Missie - These vampires are the scary kind, it had been a while since I'd read any like that so I really enjoyed the vampire element and how they combined it with a little steampunk.

    Blodeuedd - Me too! I very much would like them to be happy:)

    Mimi - I love the title of this one. I may or may not have petted the cover when I got my hands on it:) There's just enough romance in this series to satisfy the romantic in me, but it's not all about their relationship which I liked.

  14. The ending completely caught me off guard! I adore how the relationship grew too! I can't wait for the next book!

  15. You always review the most interesting books- I've never heard of this one, but will keep my eye out for it. It does sound interesting with the incorporation of politics...I'd have to read book one first though! Thanks for sharing this series; great review!

  16. I really do want to read this series. Everyone has such good things to say about them. This particular tale sounds a little slow at times with all the political talk, but the characters sound fascinating. I'm would really like to get my hands on this one. Although, the romance sounds lacking which is something I really would miss. I'm a bit torn now. LOL! I think I'll just stick it in the middle of the TBR and check the library.

  17. Oh I agree with you. Adele showed so much growth in this one and I loved that. She really found who she was. I also agree it isn't a romance and yet there is a thread of one that goes through the story. Talk about a romance that cannot be! It just breaks your heart.

  18. I remember how much you enjoyed the first book in the series and I'm glad this one is just as good. I don't normally read adult books but this is one series I plan on checking out. I love it when characters aren't clear-cut and the political intrigue is just a bonus.

  19. Yay, Jenny! Frankly, I liked The Rift Walker just as much (if not more) than The Greyfriar. I can't wait for book three...there's so much more! Great review :)

  20. I have both books and cant wait to start. So multiple characters to keep track of...good to know, I will have to be on my toes. It sounds so good. Cant wait to start!!!

  21. I have to say that this one has been on my teetering shelf for awhile. I think I will add it to my Christmas list :)

  22. I haven't started this series yet, but I still cheated and read your review for book 2. I was a bit worried that it would be too "political" and maybe turn off my brain but it's nice to hear that despite the occasional tediousness "the richness of this world never fails to enthrall". That reassures me quite a bit about starting a new series.

  23. I still haven't read Greyfriar. No big surprise there right? I, of course, have it. I might as well wait for the series to come out. I didn't read the review though I'm sure it's great. I just didn't want to spoil my reading of Greyfriar.

    Heather :)