Description from Goodreads:
In the year 1870, a horrible plague of vampires swept over the northern regions of the world. It is now 2020 and a bloody reckoning is coming. Princess Adele is heir to the Empire of Equatoria, a remnant of the old tropical British Empire. When she becomes the target of a merciless vampire clan, her only protector is the Greyfriar, a mysterious hero who fights the vampires from deep within their territory. Their dangerous relationship plays out against an approaching war to the death between humankind and the vampire clans.
The first book in a trilogy of high adventure and alternate history. Combining rousing pulp action with steampunk style, the Vampire Empire series brings epic political themes to life within a story of heartbreaking romance, sacrifice, and heroism.
I’m going to call this an OK read. I didn’t love it, but I didn’t dislike it either. I liked that Adele was self assured and self-confident, but also willing to accept help. Plus, she never threw a strop and ran of to do anything TSTL. I can appreciate that. And I admit, I thought Gareth was just adorable. I liked the writing and it’s well edited. But I had one major personal niggle.
The whole premise of the plot hinges on a subtle supremacy of the human race. Gareth not only appreciated humanity in a way no other vampire does, he actively want to be human and is willing to risk his whole race for the desire. I’ll grant that the vampire culture seems to be in some decline in this book. But I am never comfortable with books that present two competing cultures and make one more morally desirable than the other. Especially when this is done subtly, such that the reader is gently nudged to see one race as superior to the other.
See, I’m uncomfortable with it in the same way I am uncomfortable with that last sentence when used just for humans, when one race is presented as superior to another. Nope, I’m out. I realize this isn’t necessarily something that was intended and it’s totally superimposing reality on fiction, but it’s something I’m almost always sketchy about.