The Wulver’s Library‘s Review of Empire of the Vampire by Jay Kristoff
Vampires and bloodlust aren’t usually my go-to story but having read Empire of the Vampire by Jay Kristoff I wonder if I’ve been missing out. I felt invited to a malicious tale of heroes and despair that had me questioning everything surrounding this story.
Empire of the Vampire had me feeling like I was playing Bloodborne again. A medieval landscape where the world is filled with darkness and monsters that once feared the sun and instead now wreak havoc. Vampires waged war with humanity and have built an empire that lasts eternal. The story is told in two parts with Gabriel reciting the events that have led him to being imprisoned by a vampire historian, documenting the tale whilst the older, broken Gabriel speaks to them. This is not a straightforward journey, and the perspectives jump around and are told via this unreliable narrator. Kristoff has beautiful detailed the words here and the sense of impending threat and foreboding is stagnant throughout.
The world-building was incredibly expansive, and Kristoff has created a hellscape that feels desolate and dark enough to hold the monsters that live there. The lore reads almost like a bestiary whilst Gabriel recounts and describes each terrifying monster à la Geralt. The characters are each distinct within themselves. We have agents and ideals that all intertwine brilliantly. The mythical mimicry of each interaction set against faith and morality strikes us with each polished conversation.
Empire of the Vampire was a different but immersive story that had its way with tension and emotions. The themes that are evident are satisfying and epic and I am all in for the series if this continues at this level. Save me a seat with Gabriel and I’ll be completely invested in all these stories.