(The Immortal Empire #1)
Release: July 3,2012
Queen Victoria rules with an immortal fist.
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 being nobility means being infected with the Plague (side-effects include undeath), Hysteria is the popular affliction of the day, and leeches are considered a delicacy. And a world where technology lives side by side with magic. The year is 2012 and Pax Britannia still reigns.
Xandra Vardan is a member of the elite Royal Guard, and it is her duty to protect the Aristocracy. But when her sister goes missing, Xandra will set out on a path that undermines everything she believed in and uncover a conspiracy that threatens to topple the empire. And she is the key - the prize in a very dangerous struggle.
"Obviously the world had gone arse-up-hatters and no one had thought to send me notice."
God Save the Queen is a fun, paranormal steampunk ride. Set in 2012 in an alternate Britain where Queen Victoria was a vampire and therefore never died, this book combines the best elements of two genres and throws in one spunky heroine. The smartest thing author Kate Locke does is give the reader a brief Author's Note at the beginning of the novel that gives the reader a little insight into the world she's created prior to diving into the book. This was insanely helpful before starting the book and I wish more authors did something like this.
The main character, whose first person point of view the story is told from, is Xandra Vardan, a "halvie" - the product of a vampire father and human mother. Locke spins a fabulously intricate tale about how vampires, werewolves, goblins, and halvies came to be. A mutation of the Bubonic Plague las led to some people mutating into these creatures, and then this gene is passed along to children through the generations to eventually create a society where humans, "aristos" (the term for vamps and weres), and everything in between co-exist - albeit not always peacefully.
Xandra is a great heroine - tough, funny, and sensitive. She knows something weird is up when she is told that her sister committed suicide and she sets out to discover the truth. Along the way she uncovers MUCH more than she bargained for as her entire life unravels and everything she thinks she knows is turned upside down. Some of the plot points are predictable while others truly surprised me. Xandra has a hard time coming to terms with the things she discovers and stubbornly hangs onto what she believed in for a large part of this book. I didn't really find this annoying because it was very believable. If she has willingly accepted everything she was told without proof she wouldn't be the smart character that she is.
There are some great secondary characters in this book as well, but Lord Vexation MacLaughlin takes the cake. Vex, or The MacLaughlin, is the sexy alpha of the werewolf aristos and he is highly interested in Xandra.
"'I'm courting you,' he announced, words wrapped in a growl. 'I haven't courted anyone for more than fifty years. I don't even care if that makes me sound like a fucking antique, so drop the self-deprecation, get a leash on all the reason why we shouldn't do this and just admit you want me too.'"
There were many scenes involving Vex and Xandra that brought a smile to my face. I wish this was a bit more romance-y so that I could have read more details of their encounters, but unfortunately this leans more toward urban fantasy in that department. That didn't stop me from adoring Vex and thinking he is one delicious werewolf!
"I ran upstairs, the wolf giving chase. My room wasn't too bad, only a pair of stockings and bloomers on the floor. He didn't seem to care, and neither did I. In minutes we were both naked and he. . . he was so impressive with his clothes off. He seemed equally enamored of me, which was arousing in itself. Nothing like seeing worship in the eyes of a lover to make a girl forget her flaws."
God Save the Queen started off a bit slow for me, with the first 100 pages not being nearly as engrossing as the other 250 pages. But once the story really got rolling I loved it was was lost in the story! I really enjoyed the world Locke has created and also loved the plucky and fun English setting. I look forward to reading the rest of the series as it comes out!
Recommended for fans of: steampunk, British stories, creative paranormal words, and Albert's fangs.
This review is based on an early finished copy of the book provided by the publisher.