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A Tale of Blood and Darkness ♦ Jay Kristoff | Review

A Tale of Blood and Darnkness - Review

A Tale of Blood and Darkness Jay Kristoff | Review

With A Tale of Blood and Darkness begins Jay Kristoff’s new epic fantasy series Empire of the Vampire. If you have read the book, you will most likely agree with the following words. If you still have it before you, then take my words to heart.
For this tome, at over 1,000 pages (German version), you should stop your real world before boarding the fantasy train. Because from then on it’s time to buckle up for an emotional roller coaster ride into a gothic bloodbath!

I read this book together with Diana (LeseWelle), Tii (Tii&Ana’s kleine Bücherwelt) and Fhina in Buddy Read.

Empire of the VampireEmpire of the Vampire by Jay Kristoff
Series: Empire of the Vampire #1
Published: 7. September 2021
Publisher: Harper UK
Pages: 725
Genre: Dark Fantasy, High Fantasy, Horror, Paranormal, Vampires
Audience: Adult
Link to Goodreads

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.

From the New York Times bestselling author of the Nevernight Chronicle, Jay Kristoff, comes the first book of an astonishing illustrated dark fantasy saga.

Buy the Book: Amazon*

A Tale of Blood and Darkness ♦ Jay Kristoff*

*This is the English translation of my German review to the German edition of the book


I had no idea that this book would take me to the point of obsession. Right at the start I have to make it clear that I love every line, every paragraph, every page of a chapter. I will probably also pick up the English edition very soon in order to be able to experience the depth of the book again in the original. Unfortunately, this will not lessen my longing for the second volume.

After Dracula, this book will probably finally knock Interview with a Vampire into third place on my list of favorite vampire books. A Tale of Blood and Darkness packs a punch. It’s round, it’s exciting, it has depth, emotions, and characters that completely absorb you. The world building is enchanting. But first things first.

The Plot

The story takes up the legend of the Holy Grail and the myth of the vampires, interweaving them so strongly that this completely original and bloody path can only be contested together. It’s dark, brutal and at times profane. During the entire reading I had an oppressive, sometimes overwhelming feeling on my chest.

From page one I was transported into a paranormal, apocalyptic world filled with vampires and fearless heroes. Before me was revealed a cruel spectacle of evil coupled with terrible vows, endless death, and a sinful love. I had to face a deep loss that truly brought tears to my eyes. I met a fate as immovable as the Great Wall of China and a prophecy that shook the very foundations of this fictional world. This book will not let go of me for a long time.

I don’t want to go into the plot any further here. The blurb of the book is sufficient, anything else would escalate into spoilers and I just want to refrain from that.

The Characters

The characters, from the protagonist to the smallest supporting character, are simply fascinating. It is completely irrelevant whether I loved or despised them. Normally, in my experience, it usually takes until the last book in a trilogy for all the characters to fully develop. But Jay Kristoff has done a balancing act here, which I admire. The development of his characters, especially the protagonist Gabriel de Léon, are almost perfection. The author led me brilliantly through various phases of the main character’s life and really every step was coherent.

The Setting

The world of Elidaen is described in such detail that it almost seems authentic and the cogs of the head cinema* run on heavy rotation. It’s the kind of world that just couldn’t let go of me and I can’t wait for the sequel. Jay Kristoff didn’t incorporate much that was new into his vampire myth. Rather, he only worked out the legends of these paranormal beings, which are already known to us, and divided them into different, so-called blood clans. The affiliation also determines the supernatural abilities and how they try to make Elidaen their own.
Also, the event of sudden darkness, also known as the Daysdeath, intertwines masterfully with the setting and imbues the scene with a chilling atmosphere. The world building is to die for.

*German figure of speech for vivid picture on someone’s mind

The Writing Style

I’ve already pointed out many positive aspects of the book, but the writing style is the icing on the cake. It takes the book to a new level in the high fantasy genre and makes the story stand out noticeably. Although the partly obscene way of expression comes across as unrestrained, it is absolutely concise for this book. Because the language is very harsh in many places, but also poetic.
In addition to the fabulous writing style, I also encountered dozens of dark, painterly illustrations by Bon Orthwick, which impressively represent the soul of the book.

Rating Report


At first glance, the book might just drip with contempt. But upon closer inspection, I found myself in a story that carries trust in friends and an unshakable belief in humanity. A story that is less close to a fictional narrative and more like a biography. When the second part will be published, there will be no stopping me.

A Tale of Blood and Darkness is my undefeated Highlight of the Year.

Dear parents, this book is not for children. I would even go so far as to say it deserves the „NC-17″ label.

Empire of the Vampire – The series

Empire of the Vampire (#1)Unknown title (#2)
Unknown title (#3)

This review was also published here:

Goodreads (Ger/Eng)StoryGraph

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