Member Reviews

I was excited to start the second book of the series and so excited to be given the opportunity to read the sample. Let me just clarify that the sample is around 200 pages!! This was the perfect amount needed, though, to thoroughly get you hooked and ready for what comes next. I've already received my book and am looking forward to finishing the rest of the book.

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This made me hyped for the next full novel but left me wanting more so mission accomplished. Thank you to NetGalley for the sneak peek.

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Thank you so much to NetGalley for giving me this advanced sneak peak into Empire of the Damned! I had kind of forgotten just how epically intense a world Kristoff had created in these books & the second one picks things right up, throwing us back into the action!! Even though it was just a sampler, I was hooked from the first page. Thank goodness I have my physical copy now becasue I need more Gabriel de Leon in my life!!

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Empire of the Damned is an amazing follow-up to Empire of the Vampire that does not disappoint. If anything, it may be even better than Empire of the Vampire. I’m anxiously awaiting book number three!

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This was a 5 star read for me!

This series is amazing. It’s an epic tale full of battles, gore, hilarious profanity, sentient swords, and found family.

Gabriel De Leon is hell bent on revenge and protecting those he loves. Blood debts need to be paid, family needs to be protected, the undead have the upper hand, and the fate of the living hangs in the balance - what could go wrong?

Great redeemer…… I need the next installment ASAP!

If you haven’t read this series, you are missing out. Life altering good!

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Empire of the Damned started right where Empire of the Vampire left off. I loved getting more of Gabriel’s story and appreciated the new POV. I can’t wait for the next installment in this series.

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Taking place immediately after EotV, this sample of EotD is a wonderful glimpse into book two of the trilogy. Because this review is only for a sample of the whole novel, I can only touch on the text provided. However, thus far, I can tell I’m going to enjoy the sequel more than the original. EofD does a wonderful job of reminding the reader of events from book1 without being too repetitive. Kristoff’s writing is superb— rich while not being overwritten. Celene is a welcomed addition to the cast and being reunited with past characters is always a treat. The issues I had with the first book (female characters, overuse of the word “bitch”), are gone too— huzzah! Excited to keep reading!

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This was just a sneak peek but man mind blown! Off to read the entire book now that it’s published!

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Empire of the damned is a dark bloody tale of the monsters in the night. No glittery vampires here only dark violence and the near end of the world. Humans are nothing but playthings and cattle to feed a deep and never ending bloodlust. If you like dark horror and fantasy you will enjoy this brutal vampire story as one among the humans can save them all or end them. What will become if the world will humanity persevere or fall to the night.

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Empire of the Damned is the second book in the Empire of the Vampire and no holds are barred and many emotions are had. Personally, I was over vampire books but then Jay Kristoff drags me back in with a dark and horrible tail. This is not the romantic heroes, or sparkly vampires of other books. This is dark, brutal, full of despairing moments in a world being taken over by vampires where humans are food or servants. Gabriel saved the living grail from her fate, but in so doing did he damn the world? Only time will tell.

There is something about Jay Kristoff's writing that draws the reader in. He does grimdark so well and Empire of the Damned has so many great moments of triumph and despair that ye gentle reader is never truly safe. Reunited with his sister Gabriel will journey to find answers to Doir's true powers and how she may possibly save this Damned empire.

“I mean it," I told her, searching her eyes.
"By the Blood, I vow it. I know not where this road will lead us, girl. But I'll walk it with you, to whatever fate awaits. And if God Himself should tear us asunder, if all the Endless Legion stood in my path, I would find my way back from the shores of the abyss to fight at your side. I'll not leave you, Dior." Reaching down, I squeezed her hands tight as I dared.
''I will never leave you.”

In Empire of the Damned we get more relationship building. Between Dior and Gabe, Gabe and his sister and some of the other cast that helps along the way. They are bastards all and the relationships they have are both complicated, giving and selfish depending on the moment. Dior is but a seventeen year old girl and Gabriel is akin to the father she has never known along with teacher, mentor, protector. Depending on the situation it gets complicated as Gabe battles with the role of needing to protect Dior and teaching her to become the savior of the realms, whatever that is going to cost.

The story is opened up even more as Celene, Gabe long lost Vampire sister and one of the Esani Vampire's with abilities over manipulating their blood gets a PoV. Having the dueling narrators helps make the characters even more dynamic and three dimensional as each narrator gives their PoV of the other and Dior. Celene has her own agenda and it doesn't necessarily line up with Gabriel's., but she will play nice while she has to since Gabriel has Dior's trust and she will not leave his side willingly. Celene will bide her time, she believes the girl will bring an end to days death that lets the vampires rule this world, she believes in the balance the grail will bring. But they will have to travel far to get all of the knowledge needed from the different reaches of the empire to make it happen. Hopefully they can do it before Gabriel goes even more mad than he currently is as the bloodlust creeps up on him.

'I tell you, the scream my brother let out was like no sound I have ever heard. It was not fury. It was not fear. It was… heartbreak. Perfect and awful and complete. It was the scream of a man who had dragged himself back from the very edge of despair, now plummeting into darkness. It was the scream of a man who had wagered everything - his heart, his soul, his sanity- on never failing someone who had loved him again.
It was the scream of the damned.’

This book is full of great prose and one liners that will make you giggle. This does help offset the dark emotions and darker imagery we see throughout the story as we watch more and more of the humans slaughtered and enslaved to become food. There are so many moments that the group tries and fails, tries and fails again but never gives up and keeps moving forward. I will say I was more emotionally invested in this story and our journey for answers after the betrayals of the prior book. I liked the switch-up to have a different PoV from Celene and her take on the childhood shared with Gabriel along with how she viewed Dior. There is a lot of worldbuilding in this book and opening up the history of the vampire factions and infighting between them.

I will be on pins and needles waiting for the conclusion to this series. There is so much to unpack in this story and I can't wait to see what Jay Kristoff comes up with for what is sure to be a bloody and heart wrenching conclusion.

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The continuing adventures of Gabriel de Léon as he try's to defeat the vampires once and for all. This is book two of a series and so it's required you read book one first. This book still has all the action, humor, darkness, vampires that you can expect. It's pure popcorn. It also ramps up the spicy content. I didn't enjoy the book as much as book 1 (empire of the vampire). It's an exhausting book. The coarse language, the high school level theological discussions, the slower pace. Every plot point you can figure out if you have any passing knowledge of these type of stories. That said, I'll be looking forward to picking up book 3 and seeing where these characters go next. Like I said, it's popcorn and my kind of kernels.

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I was so excited to read the first hundred odd pages of the second book in this series. Empire of the Vampire was one of my favorite reads from last year. I loved it! The change in perspective and narrator immediately grab hold of me.

The story basically begins where it left off, which is always nice for books that are published relatively far apart. Unlike the sort of misanthropic insouciance Gabriel voice lends to book one, being in the heart of the vampire kingdom ratchets up the stakes in book two. I automatically feel an impending dread that I didn’t feel until the final act of EOTV. It’s such a treat. I can’t wait to finish.

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I listened to the audiobook as I read along. I purchased both the hardcover and audio.

Narrated by Damian Lynch & Shakira Shute, Empire of the Damned by Jay Kristoff is the second audiobook in the Empire of the Vampire series. It’s an immersive tale that held me in its clutches from beginning to end. I cannot wait for the next audiobook.

Kristoff delivers a dark, twisted tale as he further fleshed out the world and characters. There are no sparkly vampires here, as Gabriel de León continues to provide the oral history of what occurred to the Vampire Empress’s historian. In book two, his sister Celene, an Esani vampire, joins him in providing her account.

We pick up where the Empire of the Vampire left off. Kristoff does a splendid job of recapping with help from the historian. The author further fleshes out the world, introducing new characters, battles, twists, history, death and suspense. The tale is dark, from the vampires to the gory battles that unfold. I found myself enthralled. The audiobook only heightened my experience because it is an experience. I laughed, cried, screamed and held my breath. We see suffering, wild chases, suffer unthinkable loss and with each revelation and advancement, I found myself unable to set the story down.

Empire of the Damned felt more like high fantasy than its predecessor as we learned of the different factions and demise of this world. We learned more of Celene’s story and Dior’s as events were retold. I don’t think this suffered from second book syndrome, particularly because I never wanted to set it down. In fact, I lost many hours of much needed sleep and regret nothing. At almost thirty-two hours, it ended too quickly for me. Especially after the jaw-dropping ending that left me screaming for more.

Damian Lynch & Shakira Shute did such a stellar job of bringing these characters and world to life. They captured the character’s personalities and emotions brilliantly. The audio enhanced the story and the characters. I highly recommend listening. Be sure to listen to the bonus at the end with actor/director Joseph Morgan (The Vampire Diaries, The Originals, Halo).

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I am unwell. It's hard for me to write a review about this book because I loved it so much and I just want to yell at people to read the series. The world Kristoff has created is so viscerally dark and awful, yet it is interspersed with moments of light and hope that leave the reader with just enough faith that everything is going to work out perfectly well. Spoiler alert: we readers are dumb to believe that. At this point I don't think anyone trusts Jay to NOT tear our hearts out, it's just a matter of how he's going to do it. Well, mission accomplished in this book on multiple fronts.

I know that sounds bleak, and it is! But the characters and their relationships and their dogged quest to make things better leave you so invested in the story and their lives that you can't help but feel a personal connection with this world. Gabriel in particular is my favorite type of character: a jaded, broken man with nothing to live for. Why these types of characters are like catnip to me I'll never know, but Gabriel embodies this energy so well. I love him so much, and I really loved seeing him try to work through his trauma in this book and start to think about the future. I also adored Phoebe and I am so glad she was added to this book. Her relationship with Gabriel was complicated yet inevitable, and I thought they were exactly what the other needed.

Speaking of Phoebe, I really enjoyed getting to see the duskwalkers in this book! They are an interesting group and culture, and it was just nice to expand on this world a bit more. I don't want to say too much more because of spoilers, but their addition fit perfectly well with everything going on.

The ending was wild, of course, and now I don't know how I'm going to wait for book 3.

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Empire of the Damned continues where Empire of the Vampire left off. The Silversaint, Gabriel de Leon, is still imprisoned and continues to tell his story to the historian vampire, Jean-François. In Empire of the Vampire, the story is told in Gabriel's perspective and bounces between his days as a young Silversaint and his days with the Grail. Empire of the Damned continues the story of Gabriel and the Grail, however, another perspective is introduced - that of his sister, Celene.

Jay Kristoff's writing style makes this book come alive and draws the reader in. There are one-liners that make you laugh out loud one moment and heart wrenching moments that bring you to tears the next. Each character we fell in love with in Empire of the Vampire is further developed and each relationship thoroughly explored.

I have gotten a full copy of the book and I am excited to finish the tale.

Thank you to St. Martin's Press and NetGalley for an eARC of this sampler in exchange for an honest review.

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- Update, I have finished EotD and cannot wait for the next book. Please Mr, Kristoff, don't make us wait too long.

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This man can write plain and simple and I have been counting down the days until I can get my hands on this full books. I have been waiting very impatiently to dive fully back into this world that comes to live so vividly in his writing !

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Anyone who knows me knows I love a good vampire story. From Adam Sandler’s Hotel Transylvania to Bram Stoker’s Dracula—I appreciate a wide spectrum. But I will be honest. My tastes do tend to lean—Stephanie Meyer (glittery), Jennifer L. Armentrout (steamy), Rainbow Rowell (magical and broody), and Tracy Wolff (just plain trashy), and although I LOVE Jay Kristoff, Empire of the Damned is decidedly none of those things.

It’s DARK epic fantasy that takes you to the brink of despair over and over, holding you back only by the smallest, most frayed thread of hope. I think that’s exactly why I love it. Jay twists a beautiful and heart wrenching story about one man’s crusade for justice and hope in a world literally shrouded in darkness and swarming with monsters. But behind all the vampires, all the self-righteous crusaders, death, and carnage, bloodshed and loss, at its most fundamental level, this book is about faith. Jay captures so well the complete mind fuck it is to believe in something good and pure and true, when your experience has been so grotesquely opposite.

Gabriel is quickly becoming one of my favorite literary anti heroes, and this second installment was everything I could have asked for. I loved it even more than #1! Jay did so many things right. Liathe, Gabriel’s sister, was a brilliant edition. Their love/hate relationship was pure gold. I love that she mocks his ego and that she calls him out for being selfish, brash, vain and faithless. I LOVE that she makes the reader question his credibility as he delivers his account of losing the holy grail (the key to ending the vampires reign.) The vampire historian who’s transcribing Gabriel’s account plays a much Larger role as well, often times playing referee between Gabriel and his elusive sister. I also suspect the vampire is a little smitten with our down trodden silver saint… and even though I won’t dare to hope for an enemies to lovers story, I thoroughly enjoyed their barbs and jabs and just their overall dynamic.

Phoebe, the Lion Shifter—amazeballs. Dior, her entire journey into the lions den—a masterpiece. Jay backed each beloved character into corner after corner, and I never knew what to expect. There were also times I laughed out loud, gasped and cried. Jay built an incredible cast of characters in this second installment, and I cannot wait for their journey to continue in book #3.

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I really loved that this book picks up exactly where the previous book left off, allowing the reader to jump right back in to the story!

Gabriel goes through so many different emotions in this one, and the writing lets the reader really connect with the characters in that aspect. I wanted to cry, scream, and fight right alone side them!!

If you’re a fan of vampires, historical fiction, a bit of fantasy, and epic storytelling- this is for you!!

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It's absolutely stunning. The characters are so well thought out and written, and the suspense and horror feels are near unbearable at times. I love the world building in this series and can not wait to see where the story goes next!

I received an advance review copy for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily. Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for giving me the opportunity to review this book. All opinions are my own.

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