After a fun-filled visit to family, I took a few days off from the blog to recuperate. But as you well know, no vacation would be complete without books, and I read plenty. I also decided to clear out my shelves a bit and give the Goodreads bookswap program a try, while adding to my kindle library with Amazon Sunshine deals and sales from Avon and Hachette. I’ve included some links at the bottom of this post so you can check out the sales yourself.
Easily my favorite read of the vacation was The Greyfriar by Clay and Susan Griffith. It’s currently part of Amazon’s Sunshine Sale until June 15, and is a great book! This steampunk novel features an exciting world with vampires and magic, and the characters really stick with you long after you’ve finished the novel. In 1870 the vampires organized and attacked the humans, causing the demise of western culture and forcing the humans to flee south. The novel takes place 150 years after the initial attack, known as ‘The Great Killing,’ and the humans are working together to begin a war to regain their territories in Europe and the former US. The technology of this steampunk world is entirely believable because of the devastation wrought by the vampire attack in the 19th century, and we learn about this technology mostly through the characters’ travel and battles with the vampires.
The novel begins with Princess Adele and young Prince Simon of Equatoria traveling to the border of their lands, only to be attacked and separated by vampires. Princess Adele is captured by the vampires, but a mysterious man called the Greyfriar attempts to rescue her. When his attempt is unsuccessful, she’s carried off to London by the vampires. Her father has arranged a marriage with an American war hero, Senator Clark, who arrives in Equatoria to meet his bride, only to learn that she’s been abducted by the vampires. He mounts a rescue attempt, not realizing that Princess Adele is taking care of that herself. In London, Adele meets King Dimitry, the senile leader of the vampire hoard, and his two sons, Cesare and Gareth, and witnesses the brutality of the vampires while learning that vampire politics are as complex as those of the human world. The novel ends on a bit of a cliffhanger, but the arc of the story was resolved to my satisfaction, and I really enjoyed the romance between Adele and the Greyfriar.
The novel’s strengths are many. Both the protagonists and the secondary characters are well-rounded and the writers do an excellent job of switching points of view clearly. The Princess’ interactions with the various vampires in the former Great Britain force her to revise her opinions on vampire character, allowing her to develop as a woman and the future empress of Equatoria. She learns about prejudice and finds her own strength of character, all while beginning a romance. The mystery of who is Greyfriar is resolved fairly quickly in the novel, but Adele’s growing relationship with him allows the reader to realize along with her that vampires and their relationships are as nuanced as that of humans. The steampunk elements of the novel are integral parts of the fictional world and are seamlessly integrated into the action-packed narrative. This is the first of a trilogy and I’m really looking forward to the next installment, The Rift Walker, due out in September.
Book Sale Links
Here are the promised links for the book sales. Amazon is running their Sunshine Deals until June 15. The books are for the Kindle, although you can download them to your smart phone, iPad, or computer if you don’t have a Kindle. They cost between $0.99 and $2.99, and they span lots of different genres, including romance, business, children’s lit, self-help and others. Several of the Agency Publishers have also announced sales on ebooks, but those are not being promoted as heavily by Amazon. DearAuthor.com has put together a list of ebooks on sale by Avon and Hachette, and there’s also a link to explain how you can search on Amazon by publisher. Amazon’s decision to put non-Agency ebooks on sale has generated some interesting discussion about self-publishing and Amazon’s role in promoting books. I know that the books I’ve purchased that were part of the Sunshine Deals are published in trade paperback, which means they normally cost $9.99 for the Kindle. I never try a new author for $9.99, so this has been a great way for me to try new authors relatively risk-free.