The Geomancer by Clay and Susan Griffiths

The Geomancer by Clay and Susan Griffith is a further instalment that brings to us the very readable world of The Greyfriar (Gareth) and the Empress of Equatoria (Adele).  This is the fourth story set in this unusual alternate world and whilst I will try to avoid spoilers for this particular novel this review may contain spoilers for previous books.  To be honest – I wouldn’t advise reading this as a standalone, but I concede I may be too close to the characters here and simply want you to read all the books – check out this great review by Mogsy at the Biblioscanctum who thinks this can be read without the first three – in which case – dive in!   My original review for this was posted at The Speculative Herald and this is an abridged version.

I’m not going to give a long description about the past history  – my previous reviews are here for The Greyfriar, The Riftwalker and the KingMakers.  They’re all great stories!

At the conclusion of the Kingmaker’s Adele was manipulated into using a surge of geomancy which wiped out the British clans, freed the land from vampire rule and created a protective barrier to prevent their return.  Unfortunately, it also left huge scars on the natural rifts and badly drained Adele.  On a recent visit Adele and Gareth discover that a number of grisly murders have started to re-occur in London.  The vampires could be returning and it appears that Adele isn’t the only geomancer. It seems she has a rival called the Witchfinder.  The Witchfinder works for the vampires and is discovering ways to protect them from Adele’s power and also to use geomancy in a way that will kill humans instead!  And so we enter a race between Adele and the Witchfinder to try and find an ancient artifact that could spark an apocalypse.

I think this was my favourite of the series so far.  It has perfect pacing and plenty of action.  There are a number of tumultuous battle scenes with airborne scenes of vampire fighting vampire, some amazing locations and further character development accompanied by excellent dialogue.

The winning element is Adele and Gareth.  They have a strong relationship and seem so much in love that it’s impossible to read these books and not become involved.  This isn’t an easy relationship – Adele is human and Gareth is a Vampire.  Adele is strong and stubborn.  She will do anything to protect her family, friends and people, she has a vision which doesn’t involve one race wiping out the other, plus she carries a shining torch of optimsm.  Gareth differs from other vampires.  He believes his race to be ultimately doomed, he believes he’s the only one to treat humans with respect and is more despondent about the future.  He lacks Adele’s belief that both species can live together.

Anhalt also makes a very welcome appearance.  I do like this character.  He’s so very proper!  You feel for him as his battle wounds are taking their toll and he’s not the sort of character that waits on the sidelines while the action plays out.  We pay a visit to Adele’s brother Simon – this was an interesting development.  Simon is growing up and starting to rail a little bit.  He gets left behind with the boring paperwork while Adele dashes around the world pursuing adventure.  I wonder where that element of the story might take us.

These books are well written and easy to read.  They convey a wonderful amount of detail without slowing the pace or becoming tedious. In this particular story we once again visit Paris which is simply a great setting with the ruined city, dereliction and catacombs adding a dark and seedy element to the vampire world. We also travel to a hidden monastery in the mountains of Tibet.  This was a really surprising element to the story and one I really enjoyed.  I can’t go into a lot of detail because it will give too much away but it’s at this point where we finally start to see something of a breakthrough in terms of the way that vampires and humans regard each other.

In terms of criticisms – well, I would have liked some more detail about the Witchfinder and his motivations but although this might be lacking slightly there is another evil baddie on the scene – who, again, I can’t really say anything about.

I really enjoyed The Geomancer.  It has a great plot with lots of potential for future storylines.  If you’re looking for a vampire story with a difference, plenty of action, steampunk and romance then I strongly recommend this series for you.

I received a review copy courtesy of the publisher for which my thanks.  The above is my own opinion.

9 Responses to “The Geomancer by Clay and Susan Griffiths”

  1. Lisa (@TenaciousReader)

    I was really glad to hear you liked this one so much. I am torn about using it as a starting point.

    • @lynnsbooks

      Well, I guess I like the back story because I’m very character focused so for me this book story builds on the others. I hand it to the authors because, well, similar to all series, they do provide some history, so, probably it could be read individually – i just like the story of how Adele and the Greyfriar got together. I have read some stories recently though where I just jumped in – The Apprentice to Elves being a really good example – and I didn’t feel the loss at all.
      Lynn 😀

  2. Tammy

    I think I’m going to dive into this first. I do want to go back and read the others, but I know that isn’t going to happen anytime soon:-)

    • @lynnsbooks

      I think you should – I would love to know how you feel about it starting from this point. I think I’ve got a little bit too involved because I’ve read them in quick succession. Plus I do love the story of the two getting together.
      Lynn 😀

  3. DJ (@MyLifeMyBooksMyEscape)

    I do, kind of, want to check this out. A steampunk/vampire combo seems so unique to me! I read Mogsy’s review too, and I probably should start with the original series, but I have this weird obsession with novels that have snow on the cover 😀

    • @lynnsbooks

      Well, to be honest Mogsy thinks you can start here so why not go for it – you can then make up your own mind if you want to go back or not.
      Lynn 😀

  4. Mogsy @ BiblioSanctum

    I read the first two Vampire Empire trilogy books years ago, and recently just caught up with third book The Kingmakers to get ready for this one. Considering how long it was since I read The Greyfriar and The Rift Walker, I had surprisingly little trouble getting back into this series. I think that’s because while The Geomancer does reference past events, people, and places a lot, the Griffiths do a great job explaining things and catching us up. I think that if you have the choice of starting with The Greyfriar or this one, definitely choose Greyfriar…but if you don’t have time or don’t mind starting spin-off series without having to read all the previous books, then go for The Geomancer 🙂

    • @lynnsbooks

      I think you’re right – I’m a little bit too close to it all having read all four fairly close together – I think you lose a sense of how much detail has been included somehow – plus I loved the original story and the setting so much – it did have a slightly different feel as well I think. But, I kind of think of myself as being a completionist but now I’ve just remembered that I’ve started two series recently not from the beginning and still enjoyed them – Apprentice to Elves for example. So I’m sure that anyone picking up the Geomancer will probably have exactly the same experience.
      Lynn 😀

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s