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.
AH’s Review – 3.5 Skulls – B+
Steampunk! Vampires! Werewolves! All of my favorites in one place. Does it work? Yes and no. God Save the Queen has extensive and extremely detailed world building. A lot of thought and creativity went into this world. At first, it really feels like a big, giant info dump. At one point I had noted that the world was fascinating but the story seemed secondary. If you can get through this part, you will be rewarded with a fun and exciting story.
God Save the Queen is set in modern day England, however, the world is very different and the author takes a lot of time to explain the alternate history. This is a world that did not suffer through World War I and II, no Blitzkrieg, no Beatles, and sadly, no Dr. Who. Johnny Rotten of the Sex Pistols croons Frank Sinatra songs. This world has undergone some genetic mutations resulting in vampires, werewolves, halvies (half-vampire or half-werewolf), humans, and goblins. The author assures the reader that these vampires definitely do not sparkle. The technology of this world is stuck in Victorian times because Queen Victoria is still the queen and she’s a vampire. In fact, the aristocracy is all either vampires or werewolves. The vampires tend to live in warmer climates while the werewolves are from Scotland and colder climates.
Our heroine is a feisty gal, Xandra Vardan. Xandra is half-vampire and is part of the Royal Guard. Xandra is a great fighter, smart, and extremely likable. The story begins as Xandra is searching for her missing sister Dede. She enlists the help of the goblins, usually a suicide mission as these goblins enjoy their meat, especially if it comes right up to them. The goblins function as an underground spy network and the goblin prince is able to tell her where her sister is.
While searching for her sister, Xandra learns about her own origins and why she is so special. She is surprised to learn that her mentor Churchill (Church) may be behind a few nefarious plots, including one to kill Queen Victoria.
Xandra’s love interest Vex MacLaughlin was the perfect man errr werewolf. Kind, caring, sexy, and he could cook – this Alpha wolf was everything a gal could want.
I think that what grabbed me about this book were the clever language and chapter headings. You have to chuckle when you see “London, 175 years into the reign of Her Ensanguinated Queen Victoria.” The specific language used was entertaining, although I felt that “Fang Me” was a little overused.
The contraptions were interesting; especially the rotaries which were essentially cell phones with a rotary instead of a keypad. The characters received digigrams, a kind of text message. There were musical cylinders to listen to music, motor carriages, and even logic engines.
The end of the book has several glossaries and author’s notes explaining the aristocracy, a glossary of terms, and a fascinating description of the author’s take on genetics.
God Save the Queen is the first book in The Immortal Empire Series. While this book may not be for everyone, those that enjoy the mix of steampunk, alternate history, and the paranormal are in for a treat.
“All manner of delicacies and sustenance was laid out for the guests’ pleasure, including a platter of live Russian leeches raised on a diet consisting solely of the blood of virgins fed the best beef and the purest vodka. Apparently aristocrats of vampiric nature considered them a delicacy.”
“I shivered as that moist heat fanned over my flesh. I was so randy at that moment I could have taken him right there in the booth.”
“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 reasons why we shouldn’t do this and just admit you want me too.”
“Albert’s fangs. I really was in an American action film. Any minute now some bald man would pop up with a machine gun and call me a motherfucker.”
Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for a review copy of this book.
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