Soon he would have to reveal himself to her, and he knew what her reaction would be. His numb heart broke at that realization.What to say, what to say, what to say...Swashbuckling Adventure! Political Intrigue! Forbidden Desire!My apologies in advance for the sheer amount of quotes I'm saddling you with this time. I tried to cut back as much as possible, but I was so in love with the imagery through words in The Greyfriar that I had such a hard time choosing what to include and what to leave out. My absolute favorite quotes would have been spoilers so I had to sorrowfully (dramatic much?) leave those out. I got so many warm fuzzies from this book and this isn't even a "warm fuzzy" kind of book. When blood is spurting everywhere and heads are-a-rolling, you'd think I would find no time to say things such as awww. But I did. And I think I said (or at least thought) it quite often. You might ask - what kind of book is this exactly? Let's see if I can come up with an appropriate answer. The closest I could probably get to defining a genre would be something along the lines of Alternate History/Steampunk with aspects of horror, mystery, and traditional fantasy politicking. There is the potential for romance, but the connection between characters dances on a line of 'want what you can't have,' so my guess it that we'll have at least a book or two of heavy sexual tension before any deals are sealed on that front. The first half of this book read closer to a traditional fantasy. I was enthralled from the get-go (how can you go wrong with a kidnap scene thrown in almost right off the bat?), but a couple of my reading buddies took several chapters before they started to warm up to the story because of the heavy emphasis on wars, factions and racial politicking upfront. If you are the type to struggle with this sort of dry information dump, I'd ask you to consider giving the book at least a few chapters. There is something magical about the interaction between the Greyfriar and Adele which will suck you into the story.Speaking of the Greyfriar and Adele... Is there ever a time in the history of ever when a mysterious masked man isn't intriguing and sexy? EVER? How could you not want to know who this person is? It's like V for Vendetta or Zorro all over again - JUST LET US LOOK BEHIND THE MASK!"I wear a mask to hide my true self."Plus, the man knows his way around a rapier (that's a special skinny sword-thing, not a bad sexual act). Yes, that would equal double swoon points. But then, there's Gareth, the unusual vampire prince holding the princess hostage... He's taken a curious interest in Adele. What are his motives? Is he wanting to protect her or use her?It's an interesting take on a vampiric world when you realize that the vampires are the ones holding most of the power. I was fascinated that they'd used brute force to make humans do all of their work, so that they had no use for knowledge of menial, everyday tasks. If the vampires needed something, they'd steal or force a human to make or get them what they needed. It was so extreme that their society had little use for even the written word or many necessities of human-kind."We use your clothes because your skin is too fragile to wear.""Would it insult you if I used your alphabet? I don't think I could start from scratch."Gareth and Adele's interactions were quite amusing. At times I felt like Adele was the teacher and Gareth was not much more than a child because his social graces were extremely lacking. I was almost vaguely reminded of Tarzan and Jane."Well, newborns could well nurse their mothers to death." Gareth waved a dismissive hand. "Things happen.""Don't worry about the meat. It is cow. And some horse. That is acceptable to humans, yes?""Horse? No! Civilized people don't eat horses. We ride them. Oh God, have you fed me horse?"Actually, horse can be considered a delicacy in many countries, which means that it might be viewed by some as food for civilized people. Not that I would know. I have yet to try horse and doubt I ever will. I really wish there was a way to explain the way that I felt while reading The Greyfriar. Horse meat aside - it's almost as if I'd been snacking on books which weren't fully satisfying my hunger and then I stumbled upon one which satiated me.The imagery was raw, gory and sometimes beautiful. You felt like you were dropped right there in the middle of a scene.The palace's decrepit decorations were overwhelmed by piles of bone and hundreds of skulls staring down from broken chandeliers. Vampires slouched along the walls, drunk with blood, sometimes with red hands resting on humans who still showed signs of life.And did I say there were humorous moments too?"I'm sorry, but watching a vampire talk politics is like putting a gown on an ape and calling it a duchess."This book might not be for everyone, but I loved it.His whole species was damned, but he didn't care.He looked up, his breath a shuddering inhale. "I will always protect you."Thanks Joan, Crystal, Rebecca and Amanda for the buddy read!