Friday, December 14, 2012

Review - God Save the Queen (The Immortal Empire, Book 1) by Kate Locke (4/5 stars)

Reading Level: Adult
Genre: Steampunk
Size: 368 pages
Publisher: Orbit
Release Date: July 3, 2012
ISBN: 978-0316196123
Stand Alone or Series: 1st book in the Immortal Empire series
Source: From Librarything Early Reviewers for Review
Rating: 4/5 stars

This is the first book in the Immortal Empire series by Locke. Right now there are three books planned in this series. The second book is scheduled for a Feb 2013 release and will be titled, The Queen is Dead. The third book, Long Live the Queen, is scheduled for a Sept 2013 release. This was a creative and well done novel.

Our heroine Xandra, lives in a world where Queen Victoria is still ruling as a Vampire and a horrible plague has caused part of the population to mutate into vampires and werewolves. Xandra works as one of the Royal Guard and gets swept up in an investigation when her sister is mysteriously moved into the Bedlam insane asylum.

I really enjoyed this book. It's an interesting blend of Victorian sensibilities, steampunk, alternate history, and good ole urban fantasy. It took me a bit to really engage with the characters, but by the end of the book I was very attached to them.

Xandra is a fun character; she’s a halvie (half vampire, half human) and has excellent fighting skills. There are a lot of awesome action scenes in this book. In the course of her investigation Xandra uncovers some interesting secrets about her own past.

There are a number of intriguing supporting characters as well. Vexation is the werewolf alpha who kind of tumbles into Xandra’s life and becomes both an ally and a lover. He is an excellent character and has this whole respectful, yet dark and dangerous thing going on. Churchhill is Xandra’s instructor in all things fighting and investigative, he adds an interesting dimension to the story as well.

The setting is incredibly interesting. It’s a fairly dark setting. There is a lot of oppression against halvies and some rather unsavory activities that happen in the ranks of the vampiric aristocracy. It’s interesting how having a ruling class that is centuries old makes the world a blend of old traditions with new technologies.

This was a very fun read. I love how goblins play a prominent role and I love their part in whole big picture of the plague and how it was formed. Locke’s created a very good history here and a very complete world. The story has some excellent twists and turns that are hard to predict, the book was very engaging and hard to put down.

On that note there is a glossary and afterward that explain in detail how the plague came about and how the genetic modifications work. I strongly recommend reading this before you read the book so that you aren’t so lost in all the strange terminology early on.

Overall a strong start to a wonderful new steampunk/urban fantasy series. Xandra is a fascinating heroine and has an excellent staff of supporting characters. This is a fun new world that is very creative and intriguing. Mostly this book is just good fun; full of interesting races, a wonderful world, and lots of action. Recommended to those who like a little steampunk in their urban fantasy. I can’t wait to see what The Queen is Dead holds for us!

This book goes towards the following reading challenges:
- Horror and Urban Fantasy Challenge
- 150+ Books Reading Challenge

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