Geomancer: Vampire Empire is marketed as “the first Gareth and Adele novel”, and is actually a continuation of Clay Griffith’s Vampire Empire series. This means that newcomers to the world of Vampire Empire are in for a tough ride. This is not really a jumping-on point, despite what it may say on the back of the book.
The Vampire Empire books are set in a fantasy and steampunk-style world. The setting itself is approximately the modern day, but human development has stagnated thanks to the proliferation of vampire clans. Humanity has zeppelins, clever clockwork widgets and the usual trappings of a steampunk setting. As the novel begins, the bloodsuckers have been driven out of England, thanks in part to Adele, the titular Geomancer who can use her magical powers to blow up vampires. Of course, her friend and lover Gareth is a Vampire Prince, but one on the side of the angels. Or something.
With their very existence at stake, the vampire forces have begun to plot and plan ways to topple Adele and her consort, recruiting those who can foil magic. As humanity starts to find freedom, the ancient enemy begins to find a way back to the top of food chain, and it’s up to the powerful Adele and her pet monster to stop them.
The main problem with all this is that a lot of it makes very little sense if you haven’t read the previous books. Our emotional investment in the pair of them pretty much depends on us having cared about them previously. Add to this clunky dialogue and poorly realised relationships, and the whole thing is a bit dull. The vampires are villainous and unlikeable, of course, but that’s what they’re for. Without any grounding in the world, everything feels forced and mechanical. Those looking for some pleasing steampunk fantasy with vampires and a modern day twist may want to consider checking out Kim Newman’s work instead.
THE GEOMANCER: VAMPIRE EMPIRE / AUTHOR: CLAY GRIFFITH, SUSAN GRIFFITH / PUBLISHER: PYR / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW