I received this book free from Netgalley, the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.God Save the Queen by Kate Locke
Series: The Immortal Empire #1
Published by Orbit on July 3rd 2012
Genres: Romance, Steampunk, Urban Fantasy
Source: Netgalley, the Publisher
The start of a thrillingly original new urban fantasy series—set in a dark alternate world where the Victorian age never ended...
The Year is 2012—and Queen Victoria still rules with an immortal fist.
She's the undead matriarch of a Britain, where the Aristocracy is made up of werewolves and vampires, where goblins live underground, and mothers know better than to let their children out after dark. A world where technology lives side by side with magic, where being nobility means being infected with the Plague (side-effects include undeath) and Hysteria is the popular affliction of the day.
Xandra Vardan is a member of the elite Royal Guard, and it's her duty to protect the Aristocracy. But things get complicated when her sister goes missing. Xandra will not only realise she's the prize in a dangerous power struggle—but she'll also uncover a conspiracy that threatens to topple the empire itself.
This is one of those hodgepodge of genres that is usually a catastrophic mess in my opinion. This wasn’t exactly catastrophic but it wasn’t anything excellent. In ‘God Save the Queen’ we’ve got vampires, werewolves, goblins, ‘halvies’, with steampunk and Victorian elements (think Gail Carriger’s ‘Parasol Protectorate series’…also worth note is a group of individuals contracted as guards for the aristocrats entitled the Peerage Protectorate. Hmm.)
I’ve grown to dread starting a brand new series because of the probability of huge info-dumps that occur when explaining a brand new world. When not done well it can really hurt the overall story. The massive info-dumps occurred in the beginning but were clumsily mixed with the actual storyline of main character Xandra so while you’re trying to figure out who she is, where she’s going, and why… you’re also trying to sort through the strange world and the society and the Prometheus protein aka ‘the plague’ and… it could have been done better in my opinion.
The writing in general left something to be desired; with the story set in Britain it was inconsistently ‘British’ with only the occasional British word thrown in for good measure, it wasn’t a true Steampunk in my opinion as there were just simply references to some gadgets and nothing more, and it had the feel of a YA novel except for a few dirty scenes. I wasn’t surprised to find out that the author ‘Kate Locke’ is also YA author ‘Kady Cross’.
The class system was a bit distasteful how the aristocrats were the supreme beings, then next were the halvies which basically were born to be protectors, and then the humans. It reminded me a bit of Richelle Mead’s Vampire Academy series how the dhampirs were born to protect the Moroi’s but I don’t remember straight disliking the class system; I don’t think that it was made as blatant that they were beneath the Moroi’s. The halvies treated the aristos with a sense of awe that was a bit awkward.
The inevitable relationship with the two main characters was done all sorts of wrong. Sure, you ended up loving the two together but the whole introductory period was completely missing. If you’re going to have a character in a book have a one-night stand then treat it as such. It’s completely unrealistic and downright ridiculous that after sleeping together that you end up a couple without even having a discussion about it and he’s making you breakfast and meeting your family and… I had whiplash. And a headache from all the eye-rolling.
The one saving grace for me was that I felt a semblance of originality finally bloom before the book ended. I was left intrigued and I will say that it was an overall enjoyable story, but didn’t bring enough of anything ‘new’ to garner a higher rating. I will be interested to see how this series continues to develop in the second installment The Queen Is Dead.