I had lent the first book in the 'Vampire Empire' series from a friend a couple of weeks ago but only managed to finish it today.
The story starts when princess Adele and her crew are attacked by vampires while travelling by airship. She manages to escape with the help of a mysterious man who calls himself the Greyfriar. Together they travel and try to avoid the vampires, but are not exactly successful. Throughout the story the main character Adele finds friends and enemies and makes some shocking discoveries.
The setting is 2020 Great-Britain, but the society seems to be that of Victorian England. This was one of the first things that frustrated me; no progress whatsoever in 200 years seems to be quite extreme, vampires or not. This Victorian vibe appeared on every level of the story: technology, religion, martial arts, gender 'equality', politics, language, etc. The list goes on and on. Most of them didn't seem to be researched very well either.
I also wonder where the authors got their knowledge on steampunk, because to me it seemed like they saw some pictures of people on airships wearing goggles and just found it a good idea to add some vampires, pirates and samurai to the mix.
The character development was absolutely minimal, but by the end of 'The Greyfriar' the Mary-Sue vibe had regressed enough to gain a little sympathy for Adele. The few characters that play the role of villains show no trace of humanity throughout the entire story, their extreme malice makes it hard to take them seriously.
All these things crossed my mind while reading the first 150 pages. However, after a while the story does get interesting. Once Adele has stopped being the most annoying damsel in distress ever, her interactions with Greyfriar are quite heartwarming. Maybe it's my inner romantic, but the love story definitely was touching. I'm also curious about how the war between vampires and humans will end. I might read the second novel in the series as well, but it's definitely not at the top of my list.