ARC Review: Empire of the Damned by Jay Kristoff

Posted by Jessi (Geo) on March 11, 2024 | 0 Comments

ARC Review: Empire of the Damned by Jay KristoffEmpire of the Damned by Jay Kristoff
Series: Empire of the Vampire #2
Published by St. Martin's Press (2.29.2024)
Genres: Adult, High Fantasy
Format: ARC, 736 pages
Source: From Publisher

5 Stars

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.

Gabriel de León has saved the Holy Grail from death, but his chance to end the endless night is lost. Drawn into an uneasy alliance with the mysterious vampire Liathe, Gabriel must now deliver the Grail to ancients of the Blood Esani, and learn the truth of how Daysdeath might be finally undone.

But the Last Silversaint faces peril, within and without. Pursued by terrors of the Blood Voss, drawn into warfare between the Blood Dyvok and duskdancers of the frozen Highlands, and ravaged by his own rising bloodlust, Gabriel may not survive to see the Grail learn her truth.

And that truth may be too awful for any to imagine.

My thoughts

A HUGE thank you to St. Martin’s Press for sending me an early copy of the book!

“Sunset waits for no saint, and the Dead run quick.”



I daresay Damned was even better than Empire. This book rocked my fuckin’ socks off! Something I adore about Jay Kristoff is that he is a PRO at middle books. No second book syndrome here! (Actually, I think the second book has been my favorite in all of his trilogies!)

“The right book is worth a hundred blades.”

In typical Jay form, we have his stunning, quotable prose; but on top of that, this one BROUGHT the action! I felt like there was never a dull moment. Despite being a very lengthy 700 pages, I gobbled this baby up in a matter of a few days. I didn’t want to put it down! And when I wasn’t reading it, I was thinking about it.

I just need to take a moment to appreciate the characters and the relationships in this series so far. Jay has a way of writing the most distinct and memorable characters, and they all have their own personality. And the descriptions? *chef’s kiss* I haven’t drawn in YEARS, and I was itching to bust out my drawing pad and sketch scenes from the book. Just like the characters, the world building is top notch and positively cinematic. The world and its scenery were just as vivid as the characters!

I adore the relationships in this book. The dynamic between Gabe and Dior is SO FUCKING WHOLESOME and one of my all time fave platonic relationships! I love how far they’ve come since the beginning. There were so many heart warming moments between them and it gave me ALL the feels!

“Hear me now. If the legions of heaven stood between me and that girl, I would slay every angel in the Host to get back to her side. She and I have walked through hell together. I will never leave her, you hear me? And I would never hurt her.”

In fact, pretty much this whole book gave me all the feels. I tabbed the shit out of the ARC, and at least half of my tabs are my ‘feels’ color! I laughed, I cried, I gasped, I yelled…I fucking loved it so much! *hugs book to chest*

I loved the other relationships too, one in particular that I did NOT expect at all! View Spoiler » I really enjoyed the introduction of new characters as well!

I could gush all day long about this bloody brilliant book, but you should do yourself a favor and read it for yourself! If you haven’t read the first book, the audiobook is FANTASTIC. Damian Lynch’s accents are absolute perfection and he really brought the characters to life. I can’t wait to listen to this one for my re-read!

One more thing before I go: THAT ENDING. Ahhhhh!! Um, excuse me, Mister Kristoff, HOW RUDE. If you’re going to read this, PREPARE YOURSELF because that is one fuckin’ dooooozy of a cliffhanger, dude!! Damn! View Spoiler »

Favorite quotes

Seriously, this book was SO. QUOTABLE. It was really hard to narrow it down to 5 in this section. There’s just something about Jay’s prose that rearranges my brain chemistry and sticks with me. It’s no wonder so many people (including me) have his words inked on their bodies!

“The road is black ahead,” I told her. “And it’s hard to keep walking when you can’t see the ground beneath your feet. But that’s what courge is. The will to keep walking in the darkness. To believe the end is just beyond your outstretched hand, rather than a million miles away. And while some might falter, some might fail, some might curl up like babes rather than walk on through that lonely night, you are not that girl.” I squeezed her hand and searched her eyes. “You are not that girl.”
That last line moved me to tears! That is one of my all time favorite Kristoff quotes to date.

“It is through falling that we teach ourselves to fly. Our measure be not in how many times we stumble, but how oft we rise. Failure is how we learn.”

“Hate is poison. Hope is salvation. And there’s still some things worth saving.”

“I’d rather die from something that matters than live for nothing at all. And because a man survived long enough to have a grey beard and wrinkles means not that he’s actually lived. To live is to risk. To fear and fail. A man must dance on the dragon’s teeth to steal the fire from its tongue.” (there was more but I was too lazy, lol.)

“They know you as well as I, Dior Lachance. They know you to be brave as martyrs and bright as heavens and fierce as wolves. That you are someone worth fighting for.”

Overall Assessment

Plot: 5/5
Premise: 5/5
Writing style: 5/5
Originality: 5/5
Characters: 5/5
World-building: 5/5
Pace: 5/5
Feels: 5/5
Cover: 5/5
Overall rating: 5/5


Jessi (Geo)

Posted in: Book Reviews | Tags: , , , , , ,

Subscribe to Novel Heartbeat to get more posts like this!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.