Member Reviews

How is it that a sequel can be so amazing, and still leave a person SO GUTTED??? Do you love horses? Don't read this book. Do you love darkness, blood, love, lust, adventure, surprise, CRYING, and laughing out loud in public while reading? Then read this book. But if you love horses... well, hearts can mend after they are broken, right? The wait for this book was well worth it, and so the wait for the final book should be worth it as well. Creating worlds, writing them on paper, and transforming thought and vision in a reader's mind is such a magical gift and Jay Kristoff is master! Read this book, even if you love horses and hate death! READ IT.

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I absolutely loved Empire of the Vampire. I loved Empire of the Damned but it was just 1/2 a star short of a 5 star read. The story was GREAT, but there were just a couple parts in the middle that was hard to get through. It did pick back up and so glad it did.

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"Empire of the Damned" delivers a highly anticipated sequel that lives up to the excitement generated by the first book in the series. As someone who thoroughly enjoyed "Empire of the Vampire" and eagerly anticipated this follow-up, I found Jay Kristoff's continuation of the story to be engrossing and well-paced. The dynamic relationship between Dior and Gabriel is further explored, adding depth to the narrative. Kristoff's inclusion of a recap serves as a helpful refresher for returning readers, ensuring continuity. Despite its darker themes, the book is engaging, with a cliffhanger ending that leaves readers eagerly awaiting the next installment. Overall, "Empire of the Damned" is a must-read for fans of dark fantasy and vampire tales, offering a compelling continuation of the saga.

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4 Stars
I enjoyed the pacing of this book. I loved Dior and Gabriel's relationship it was so good! I can't wait to see the finished copy.
Thank you to the St. Martin's Press and NetGalley for the opportunity to read this.

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5 Stars!! LOVE Jay Kristoff's writing. The sampler was amazing. I can't wait to read the whole book.

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When Empire of the Vampire came out I had to read it immediately. I have always loved the Vampire tropes and that means ALL vampire tropes. It started out with Twilight and then Salem's Lot. Both which I loved when I read them and I knew this one would be no different.
Once I read the first book in this trilogy I knew I'd love it and with all the hype reviews, it did not disappoint. Since then I've been anticipating this book.
This book is seamless from the ending of the last book to where it starts in Empire of the Damned. Jean-Francois is entering Gabriel's prison to continue on recording what Gabriel has been up to before ending up where he is currently. Gabriel's retelling begins with him and Dior. Wondering where they need to go. Unfortunately for Gabriel his sister Celene claims that her people know how to end days death and they must go with her to find answers. Dior willingly goes along. Through their journey to Celene's people they end up in some sticky situations and hurdles to cross. On top of all of that Gabriel is being hunted by some powerful vampires that he has had beef with since the first book.
Cons: I felt that it didn't have as much action as the first but I'm not entirely sure if that's true or just how I felt because I read this 700+ paged book in just a couple of days.
Pros: This book was just as great as I hoped it would be. For those of you who thought the crude talk was a bit over the top. It's a bit mellowed out in this one. This story was intriguing from beginning to end and now I'm highly anticipating the last book in the trilogy and wishing this was a longer series. The ending leaves a bit of a cliffhanger. Actually TWO cliffhangers. We have a cliffhanger in the story Gabriel is telling and a cliffhanger with Jean-Francois when he leaves Gabriel's prison for the day/night.
This book was everything I hoped it would be and I gave the book 5 stars.

Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for an early arc copy in exchange for my honest review.

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I'm lowkey mad at myself for downloading this ARC because it just means a longer wait period for me until the next book :(

Like the first book in the series, this will absolutely pull you in and leave you wanting more. This is the perfect vampire series. If I really wanted to, I could look for things to nitpick, sure, but the overall transportive feeling of Jay's writing makes up for any and all of those little things. I could. not. stop. reading.

Really looking forward to more!

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I love Jay Kristoff, and anything he has to do with. SO, yes, 5 stars. This and Nevernight are a personality trait for me at this point.

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It took me a while to read this sample, simply because I was not in the mood for this type of book. That being said, the writing, descriptions, and dark vibe are very similar to what we saw in Empire of the Vampire, so if you enjoyed the first book, you will adore this sequel for sure (or at least the first part of it since I only received a sampler).

Gabriel is still held in the Chastain Fortress’ dungeon, and he continues to tell his tale to Jean-François, the Queen’s historian, in this deliciously dark sequel. His story picks up where it ended in the first book, right after he rescues Dior from being sacrificed, and escaped death at the hands of the Ordo Argent himself. Dior and Gabriel have to accept Celene’s help in this sequel, as they seek answers about the Holy Grail and how Dior’s could possibly be key to ending the end of the world.

There is less back and forth between the past and the present in this book, and it focuses more on Gabriel’s story. It set a more addictive pace, compared to the first one where the action often stopped just as it became more intense, so we could jump into the present for a few pages, before being plunged back into the past and the action.

There is a lot of character development in this first third, and I love that the author also took the time to develop and flesh out important secondary characters. We also get a better, deeper insight into the world-building and the history of the vampires’ rise to power, without having to go through unending descriptions. The author managed to keep a good pace and to build a story full of action, while also delving deeper into the Lore and the characters’ layers.

The last chapter also reveals that Celene is also a prisoner of the Chastain’s dungeon, and will also have to tell her tale to Jean-François, so I am very curious to see the new details and insight she will give to what Gabriel already revealed.

I might not pick up this book right away, because as I said, I am not in the mood for this type of heavier writing at the moment, but I will read it eventually so I know what happens next.

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This book was a whirlwind of action. I was hooked from chapter one and I enjoyed the twists. I definitely didn’t see most of them coming. This was such a phenomenal book.

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This is a great sample to whet the appetite for the full book. Kristoff briefly recounts where you are in the story, letting you familiarize yourself with the world, events and characters, and then takes you right into the story. The characters, setting, and action is so vivid that you can't help but be propelled into this world. I hope I am able to get to the full story soon.

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**Thank you, Netgalley and publisher, for giving me an electronic ARC copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.**

I was so hooked on this story that I reached the rnd of the sampler too soon and I needed more. I found myself immersed in the world again and I loved the illustrations.

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Kristoff does not disappoint! What a great start to the book. This is just sample arc and it left off on such a cliff hanger bomb! We get so much action and blood shed! Im glad to see so many amazing characters again and learn more about others! Cant wait to see how this book continues.

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Thank you NetGalley for the preview of Empire of the Damned! I only got about the first two hundred pages to ARC read and it was everything I wanted and more! If you loved the first book, Empire of the Vampire, then you will love this sequel as well! I am already hooked into the story and am ready to read the rest on release day. Be ready to go on an adventure with good ol’ Gabriel and Dior as they continue the adventure from book one. The second book still gives off Witcher vibes as Gabriel retells the story of his life in this interview-with-a-vampire-style narration. Plenty of horror vampire scenes even in the first part of the book. The length of the books is intimidating but definitely worth the read! I’m getting ready for the emotional damage as I go to finish reading the rest of this book…

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Before getting into the review itself, thank you to St. Martin's Press for approving my request for this [partial] eARC!

I went into this book with only the knowledge of having read Empire of the Vampire and that this is the sequel, but you don't have to! Read an official summary of Empire of the Damned on Goodreads.

Recommendation: Because this eARC isn't the full manuscript, I can't speak to whether Damned is better or worse than Vampire, but I can say that, at the end of this eARC, I was more excited for this release than I was before picking it up. Even if only having part of the story is a mean tease. So far, Damned is shaping up to be a great continuation to Vampire, and I'm looking forward to finishing it once it reaches me! At this point, I recommend this book to everyone who enjoyed Empire of the Vampire, and I still recommend this series to anyone who enjoys dark vampire stories [with spice, though Damned seems to have less spice than Vampire, at least where this eARC leaves off].

Since I've only read a partial ARC at this point, I'm going about this review a little differently: instead of speaking to character arcs over the course of the story, I'll speak to my [non-spoiler-y, of course, since I don't have the full story to speak to] anticipation of what the character arcs might do from the little bit I've been able to read.

Balancing what is essentially two-progressing character arcs for the same character, I didn't realize I was worried about there being a stagnation to the current character arc, especially with Gabe essentially being locked in a stagnate situation where character progression is likely stilted, but, with Gabe's current reactions to his past actions and his current responses to Jean's conversation, it doesn't feel that way at all. That said, there's something about Damned already that feels somehow different then Vampire - even excluding the surprise twist of the "uncharacteristic switch" at the end of this eARC. I'm really looking forward to Gabe's progresson thorough this book, especially with the . . . advancement of his affliction and the impact it will have on other characters.

I'm also really enjoying Dior's character progression. Damned seems to be our first real up-close look at Dior as a person, rather than the figurehead role everyone tends to treat her as, and the little taste I got in this extended sampler has me excited for the rest of her progression through the story. The progress this sampler touches on about the prophecy involving Dior has me really excited for how her journey continues.

Again, thank you to St. Martin's Press for this eARC, even if it was a bit of a mean tease, and I can't wait for my copy of Empire of the Damned to arrive to finish this interesting story!

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This was a great sample to get us ready for the release of book two I love this series and can’t wait to continue to dive into it

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"You've no idea the devil you waltz with, Chastain."

FIRST OFF, before I say anything else: You know an author cares about their readers when they include a Dramatis Personae (or in layman's terms: my memory is shite thank you for the recap, good sir).

Now, for the actual story:
"Who the fuck told you I was a hero?"

Kristoff is back at it again with a masterpiece of bloodshed, gore, and general vulgarity (including a certifiable fuck ton of cussing).

Gabriel continues to be one of the best male protagonists I've read in a long time. This might be a fantasy book, but his personality is a very real depiction of wrath, heartbreak, self-loathing, and vengeance. At war with oneself (well, and many others). The way this story is told - split between past and present - gives hints to how his personality continues to develop.

"Your fire is a candleflame compared to the hate I keep for myself."

THE END OF THIS BOOK GODDAMN YOU. I flew through it with a broken heart.

I genuinely think I enjoyed this more than book one, a feat in and of itself. The exploration of found family. The growth of his relationship with Dior. Endless vulgar banter.

"The right book is worth a hundred blades." read this one!

"'I heard ye were dead, de León.' 'Heaven was full. And the devil was afraid to open the door.' 'Then the devil is a coward.'"

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Since this was a sampler, I don’t really count this as a full review, but it made me SO excited for the full book! The best part was the fact the author included a recap of the characters and their fate from the first book. Just THANK YOU!! Someone like me who reads hundreds of books a year, I can forget details and non-major plot points if it’s been over a year since I read a book. I read EOTV back in 2022, so the refresher was definitely needed and I’m so thankful for it. I believe a recap should be the standard for all series. I won’t speak much on the actual content, as I don’t know all the events that will happen and I don’t want to spoil anything. But the dynamic between Dior and Gabriel is the best! It’s so much fun following along their adventure again, and I can’t wait to read the entirety of Empire of the Damned.

Thank you to NetGalley, St. Martin’s Press, and Jay Kristoff for providing me an early sample. I’m leaving this review voluntarily.

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4.25 stars

This was a short sample so it's a bit challenging to give a review, especially with it ending on a cliffhanger that will change the tone of the book but I'm really excited to read what's coming next.

This series has fairly dark tones and crude humour. There's betrayal, violence, sexual content and death. Lots and lots of death. If you enjoyed the first book or the author's Nevernight series, you should enjoy this instalment.

Without giving anything away, the first book is about Gabriel, the last member of a holy brotherhood of warriors called the Silver Order, recounting his past. It's set in a world with magic and creatures but focuses on vampires. There's 4 bloodlines of vampires that each have their own magical abilities that make them formidable. In this world, the vampires are monsters. They slaughter, torment and hunt humans for pleasure. After an event causes most of the sunlight to disappear, humanity is on its last leg. As a member of the Silver Order, Gabriel is a half-vampire and one of the few able to kill vampires. He's been captured and is currently being held prisoner by vampires, forced to recount his story and what happened on his quest in finding the Holy Grail, humanity's last hope.

At the start of the Empire of the Damned, there's a recap of all the important characters from the first book which was really helpful since it's been over 2 years since the first book came out. There's also so much that happened in the first book (almost 750 pages) that I seemed to have forgotten more than I realized.

The book starts off right after the events of Empire of the Vampire. It is a bit of a slower start, with the author weaving in reminders/recaps of what happened previously, in a seamless way without it feeling forced. We also see more of what's happening in the present time and learn a bit more about Jean-Francois, the vampire Gabriel is telling his story to.

This series has some great characters and more importantly villains. In this short sample, I felt like a lot of things have already been expanded. We learn more about some side characters from the first book that were really interesting but barely explored. We get introduced to a bunch of new vampires. We get to see more of the different magics. New locations. Really interesting character relationships. Honestly, everything from EotV but just more.

I hope my preorder comes right away because I can’t wait to finish the book. It definitely has the possibility of becoming 5 stars.

I received a sample of this book from NetGalley and St. Martin's Press in exchange for an honest review.

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Thank you so much for this ARC. I think this book will attract a certain kind of reader, and that certain kind of reader just isn't me. This was very dense and quite laborious for me to get through, and the vulgarity was a little much for me. I think fans of this genre and readers who enjoyed the first book will be excited for this one, but it just wasn't my cup of tea.

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