Chris Schwarzkopf's Reviews > The Greyfriar

The Greyfriar by Clay Griffith
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's review
Jul 02, 2012

While I'm glad to see that steampunk, as a genre, has been making a comeback, the term still gets tossed around too much and applied to stories that may not have any more than a loose association with the traditional elements of that branch of sci-fi. This is one such instance. It was a fun read, too be sure, but the presence alone of dirigibles does not a steampunk story make.
The story is, at heart, an alternate history and this is what drew me to it in the first place. In 1870 vampires, as a species, rise up and begin a wholesale slaughter of humanity, thus altering the course of human history. Jump forward 150 years and the remnants of humanity have established empires in the tropics, since vampires can't bear the heat and humidity, and worked their way back up to an early 1900s level of technology. From here, the central characters are introduced and the main storyline develops. The title refers to a warrior who is able to battle the vampire up close and personal, on their own terms.
A love triangle is part of the proceedings. As is a fair amount of magic and mysticism, which I don't feel meshes well with the so-called steampunk trappings. Steampunk, as a genre, is technology driven. Readers who are aware of this distinction might want to overlook that or risk becoming frustrated. This is straight pleasure reading. Don't examine the story too closely. It won't hold up under scrutiny.

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