Member Reviews

Thank you to NetGalley, St. Martin's Press, and Jay Kristoff for giving me a Sampler of Empire of the Damned in exchange for my honest review.

Confession time. I read two chapters of this book and had to put it down until Empire of the Damned came out. This book was so good that I knew I would not be able to wait months for the rest of the book. Empire of the Damned picks up very shorts after Empire of the Vampire left off. What I really appreciated is that at the very front of the book there was a rundown of who all the characters were that you need to remember from book one. In this book we follow Gabriel and Dior as their journey continues. This book allows you to see so much more of this post-apocalyptic world and the vampire community as a whole. I HIGHLY recommend this book to everyone who loved book one. While I want to do a reread of the series, before the next book, whenever that is, you can absolutely jump right back in and not be confused. That is the sign of a great second book, when you are given just enough to remember what you need to know from book one. While I am not going to give the entire book at star rating until I finish it (I am 400 pages in currently), the sampler portion that I was given access to was a 5 star read for me.

Update: I finished the book and am now counting down the days until the next book. That cliff hanger KILLED me. It was so subtle yet now there is so much more that I want to know. AHHHH! I need more information now!
Final Rating: 5 stars

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My Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Thank you to Netgalley for providing an arc for the first part of this book. I did also preorder this book, and waited to read the whole book before writing my review.

Man, Kristoff has yet to disappoint me with a book. He doesn't even know what middle book syndrome is.

Empire of the Damned picks up right where book one left us - and never fear! If you've forgotten all the nitty gritty details from Vampire, Kristoff has graciously left us with a recap of it's events. We're back with Gabe and Dior, and my love for them only continues to grow through their bonding and witty banter. I can't get enough. It almost gives me The Last of Us vibes. Our reluctant hero, who would give up the world for that girl. I laugh. I cry. Kristoff has me deeply invested in these two.

One thing I really enjoyed was the addition of a new storyteller. It really added a new perspective to the story we know so far and allows us a glimpse of the events through a new eye. This series has a unique way of of providing us with everything we know through secondhand accounts being told to the historian. Adding another voice to the mix really helped to shed some new light. It was especially helpful towards the back half of our story when so much was happening in different places, but we were still able to see the full picture.

I also found the pacing of this book to be really successful. In book one I found myself waning a little in the middle while events were unfolding, but book two kept me on the edge of my seat from start to finish and I was never bored. Even when we were learning new world lore or character history, it was delivered masterfully.

That ending, though. I admire Kristoff for the way his stories always pack a punch, and he never holds back, playing on all of my emotions. I always have a bunch of theories of what might happen, and think "surely, he wouldn't go there." But he does. And I'm gutted. He should buy some shares in Kleenex.

I genuinely don't know where this story will take us next, but I am on the edge of my seat waiting to find out.

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This one ended up just not being for me. It was a writing style that I just didn't mesh with, so maybe I'll come back to it another time.

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An absolutely brilliant sequel. I finished this book several days ago and I still cannot get over that ending! An excellent continuation of Gabriel and Diors story, filled with brilliant world building and fantastic characters. I cannot wait to see what happens next! Thank you to Netgalley and St. Martins Press for the Advanced Copy.

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I'm so glad I was able to get my hands on this sample. I enjoyed Empire of the Vampire and now I'm ready for the rest of this book! I just hope this one lives up to my expectations, but this was a great start and a TEASE!

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"Eat shit, you cack-gargling twatgoblin."

Jay Kristoff is everything amazing about the book world ❤️

I loved everything about Empire of the Damned. Every plot point, line of dialogue, detail, and moment, brought this whole book together and it was fun to read from start to finish. There was not a moment where I was bored or wasn't in the mood to read. I just wanted more of this world and more of Gabriel.

Empire of the Damned is darker compared to EOTV. There were moments when I had to pause and remind myself that it was a book. The book is not for the faint of heart or "happily ever after" chasers. You will be crushed. You will cry. BUT, isn't that what makes reading fun?!

I will recommend this book and Jay Kristoff until the day I die.

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Interesting beginning to the story which I hope lives up to my expectations. Unfortunately still waiting for the audiobook from my library for a full review since this was only a Sample.

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Ready to read the whole book but so happy with the sample of this being as long as it was. I remember picking up the first book and saying this will either be a great read or boring. So happy it was a great one.

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I AM SCREAMING! Where has this book been all my life? Why has it been so long? This teaser of a book was just enough to leave me wanting more. I cannot wait for it to come out.

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I can't wait to read the rest of this book!!! I am so excited to see Celene's point of view and learn more about what happened to her between when she was turned into a vampire to now. I will be diving right in!!

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In the immortal words of Gabriel de Leon:

Did I just read the greatest high fantasy book of all time?
Because Empire of the Damned has wreaked me for all other books.

Sequel to Empire of the Vampire, this series feels like Interview with the Vampire meets The Witcher, but even better.
Everything about this sequel has blown me away- the writing, the action packed battle scenes, the crude humor, the love and sex and violence and heartache.

And here’s the thing-
There are no happily ever afters.
The vampires are unspeakably cruel.
The humans, cattle.
The narrators, unreliable.

And yet I have never been so fully engrossed in a tale as this one. I honestly cannot remember a book I’ve enjoyed reading more.

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I’ll be honest, I ended up buying a copy and reading the whole thing after I found out this was only an excerpt.
Loved it, 5 stars. If you love great world building and characters, this is the book to read!

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Wow! Wow! Wow! As Gabriel would say, “F*ck my face!” That book was so freaking good and that ending was so freaking epic I’m just sitting here in awe. The layered nuance of the story unfolding further, being told now to Jean-Francois by both Gabriel and Celine, but also at times from three perspectives, the battles, the horror, the love, both romantic and familial, it all was just so very rich and enthralling! I love the new places Kristoff took us to, the new main characters forged in a unified belief in Dior and the Grail. The banter, the wit, the insults and creative combination of filth spewing out of mouths…I just loved it! I never foresaw where this story was taking us at just about any turn in the book! Aaron, Baptiste, Phoebe, Lachlan, Celine, Ash, and more—all so richly layered and uniquely their own—I just love them all! Plus the artwork is phenomenal and really enhances the experience of reading this tale. But, the reveals at the end, bam, bam, BAM!! And then one final one from each sibling—holy crap!! Like mind blown and blown again! I need more and I need it now! Such a fantastic world Kristoff has created with epically badass characters and a unique take on the whole vampire lore world!!!

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Thank you to netgalley and SMP for the opportunity!

This was such a fun sampler that I absolutely DEVOURED.
Kristoff does it again (and really...he never disappoints), and I highly recommend it to anyone that loves a darker read.
I cannot wait for the next!

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Thank you to NetGalley for supplying me a free copy of the first portion of the book. Of course, I devoured it in one night and then had to anxiously wait to get the full copy in my hands. Always still appreciate receiving free copies to read before others. This full review is after I read the entire book, not just the free portion you receive. The free portion is the first 220 pages and ends with a cliffhanger of introducing a second narrator that is also imprisoned.

Wow, what another fantastic dark fantasy book from Jay Kristoff, and a perfect sequel to the masterpiece that was Empire of the Vampire. I read Empire of the Vampire just last year (2023), so I luckily only had to wait a few months before this sequel came out but I was still counting down the days to get my hands on it. Kristoff did not disappoint.

I'm very impressed how Kristoff keeps the timelines so clear and fluid. Although you bounce back and forth to the past and present, it never feels abrupt. Every stop and restart has a specific reason and adds something extra to the storyline. The interview aspect of this retelling also adds an extra dimension that makes the story that much more entertaining.

The main character and narrator, Gabriel, was just as fantastic as in the first book. Witty, brutal and flawed but also with a tender, bleeding heart makes for an intriguing combo when fighting vampires and trying to keep the Holy Grail and savior for their world alive. I love how he and Dior's relationship continues to develop, the way they speak to each other at times gives much needed levity between fight scenes and dark situations. Plus, it just makes both characters even more interesting.

There is a second narrator added to this book to help fill in scenes where Gabriel is unable to shed light on. I enjoyed this addition to get a bit more detail regarding vampire's lifestyles and hierarchies as well as receive more development on this second narrator. You also get a great new character, Phoebe, who helps Gabriel see things in different ways. I felt she was a wonderful addition and enjoyed the complexity she added to everything. However, Gabriel is definitely the best character of the series and I so enjoy his side comments and quips as he is recounting the story.

This sequel has several heartbreaking scenes, I of course won't give details but best to warn you so you prepare your mind and heart. Although a bit sadder and darker at times than the first book, it was a thrilling book that continued to raise the stakes of the Grail and Gabriel's journey. Some of the secrets brought up in book one are revealed which I appreciated as it's hard to keep guessing for 3 books straight. The last 100 pages of this book was masterful with a whirlwind of action, emotion and overall chaos. This sequel was just as compelling and hard to put down as the first book and this series is definitely another favorite of mine. I just know the third and final book will perfectly wrap up this story and I cannot wait to fan girl over all these characters again once that book is written and released.

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Wow. There's not much more I can say about this book. Mr. Kristoff, you did it again. I think this book surpasses the vampire. Once again, you've ripped out my heart. Do you enjoy bringing angst to your readers? I'm anxiously waiting for the next book in the series, yes, I'll read it, and have my heart destroyed once again. Damn you Jay Kristoff!!!

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Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Genre: Fantasy

This is a follow-up to Empire of the Vampire, a vampire dark fantasy story that I really enjoyed. The Silversaint, Gabriel, continues to tell his story to the historian vampire, except in this book, we also have a new narrator, Gabe’s sister Celene. They both narrate the story to the historian about the events that preceded their arrest and what happened to the Grail.

In this sequel, many new, important characters affect the direction of the story. Like book one, this one, too, has excellent world-building and interesting characters with complex dynamics. The author ensured that the tale was filled with crucial events and action scenes.

For the most part, the journey is just as exciting and dark as it was in the first book, but I believe that I still prefer the first book to this one. It is possible that Celene's narration was not as entertaining as Gabe's. I am not trying to imply that hers was poor; however, I believe Gabe's had a more significant impact.

The relationship between the brother and sister, as well as their interaction with Dior, is, in my opinion, the biggest highlight of this installment. It would be an understatement to say that the ending is iconic. It satisfies, but at the same time, it makes you want to read book three as soon as possible.

Note: I received a sampler copy from NetGalley but ended up purchasing the book myself when it was released.

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This was such a fun sampler and follow up to the first novel, I cannot wait to read the whole book. Definitely love books about vampires and this one doesn't disappoint.

Thank you to SMP and NetGalley for an eARC for my honest review!

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I really enjoyed starting this book with a recap of what happened in book 1, more authors should do this!!! It is so easy to forget what happened in the previous books in series!

I was very intrigued by the second POV and I think it threw some very good depth in there!

I really enjoyed this!!!

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Note: Review was also posted to Amazon. Unable to link because it's pending approval.

I re-read Empire of the Vampire before diving in to this (most recent) installment. I enjoyed it just as much as I did the first time through. My original review of that book claims that it's Kristoff at his best, and I stand by that. It's a solid, heavy-hitting work of epic fantasy. The re-read took me longer than I expected, but SO MUCH happens, and it's a journey worth dedicating your time to.

When I started Empire of the Damned, I expected it to take me just as long as EotV. However, my journey through this book felt much shorter. I'm not sure if that's based on literal time spent reading, since I don't time myself when reading books, or if it's because of the content. There are lots of adventures in this book, but I still got to the end and felt like I (and the characters) really hadn't gotten anywhere.

EotD picks up where EotV left off. We follow Gabriel as he attempts to deliver the Grail to someone who will be able to help end daysdeath. Of course, this goes about as well as you'd expect. (There is another book in the trilogy, you know, so resolution can't come just yet.) Gabriel's thirst is getting worse, his religious trauma and resentment are just as present as they were in the first volume, and he's scared of losing yet another person who's important to him. Those internal struggles are, in my opinion, the best parts of this book (well, those and Gabe's banter with the Grail).

After so many of the vibrant characters from volume one were lost, I expected to be introduced to a new colorful cast. However, there are minimal new characters in this book, and they fell flat for me. I can't say much more without running the risk of spoilers, but I really wanted some new well-rounded characters and felt like I had to settle for a rather two-dimensional supporting cast this time around.

I'm still eagerly awaiting the trilogy's conclusion, because I am very invested in the outcome of this saga. I need to know what happens with the tension between Gabriel and his interviewer. I need to know what's up with the moth (moths?) fluttering around the captive's tower. I need to know what happens to the Grail.

I'd still recommend this book, though not as wholeheartedly as book one.

Note: I received a review copy of this book via NetGalley.

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