From holy cup comes holy light;
The faithful hands sets world aright.
And in the Seven Martyrs’ sight,
Mere man shall end this endless night.
It has been twenty-seven long years since the last sunrise. For nearly three decades, vampires have waged war against humanity; building their eternal empire even as they tear down our own. Now, only a few tiny sparks of light endure in a sea of darkness.
Gabriel de León is a silversaint: a member of a holy brotherhood dedicated to defending realm and church from the creatures of the night. But even the Silver Order couldn’t stem the tide once daylight failed us, and now, only Gabriel remains.
Imprisoned by the very monsters he vowed to destroy, the last silversaint is forced to tell his story. A story of legendary battles and forbidden love, of faith lost and friendships won, of the Wars of the Blood and the Forever King and the quest for humanity’s last remaining hope:
The Holy Grail.
I truly can’t remember the last time I was so enraptured by a story. This was my first book by Kristoff and all I can say is I can’t put into words how life changing it was. I’m not even blowing smoke this is a high fantasy books that will forever change how I look at the genre as a whole. It was a book that never took itself too seriously but spun a story that was rather serious. The topics in it ones that while not as fantastical in real life, we still see daily. It’s a game changer and while intimidating from size alone, it’s one I didn’t want to end because of how good it was.
Gabriel de Leon is no hero. This isn’t a story with a happy ending nor beginning really. It’s about love, loss, faith and the faithless. While a hardened bastard when we meet him, he wasn’t always like that. We get to see his story unfold in a dual timeline, the beginning and the beginning of the end. The way this was written was perfection; just switching often enough to leave you frustrated and wanting more but then being excited to get back to where you left off with the other story. Stories within stories. The storytelling format selected for this book was interesting, often being compared to Interview with the Vampire. It felt like being told the most epic and gore ridden horror story before bed.
As for the story itself, it very much reminded me of the Knights of Templar with a mix of other religious stories. A holy order of vampire slayers set on destroying monsters that go bump in the night. I’m not a religious person and it wasn’t the books intent to sway me to think a certain way or even to mock those that do believe. As I said before it never takes itself too seriously but it did make me ponder.
While I could rant about Empire of the Vampire for days (and I will to anyone who will listen), I’ll be cutting myself off here. If you’re looking for a well written and enchanting story about a man selflessly saving the world from vampires this isn’t the book for you. Instead it’s dark, gory, sad, and there are no heroes save Jezebel. There are brief moments of love and happiness but don’t go into this book looking for that. It’s an epic book about an antihero and how he will bring a wicked kingdom to its knees.