God Save the Queen (The Immortal Empire #1) Review

God Save the Queen (The Immortal Empire #1) is a 2012 steampunk paranormal thriller mystery novel written by Kate Locke and published Orbit.  Set as the first installment in the The Immortal Empire series, the story follows elite Royal Guard, Alexandra Vardan, who after searching for her missing sister, discovers a conspiracy that could shake the foundations of the very hierarchy she is sworn to protect.


Positives:

  • Good characters
  • Great world building
  • Interesting story
  • Good writing
  • Witty dialogue

Negatives:

  • Cliche subplots
  • Cliche characters

Plot:  The story picks up in an alternate timeline where the Black Plague has genetically altered its victims into different species (vampires/werewolves).  Queen Victoria’s reign has been extended (since she’s now immortal) and charged with protecting her are the elite Royal Guard, which protagonist Xandra Vardan is a member of.  After her sister comes up missing, Xandra sets on a path of discovery that will have her questioning everything that she has believed in. The story is a pretty good mystery thriller, as Xandra’s pursuit of her sister does land her on the path of a conspiracy that does challenge her beliefs of the very Aristocracy that she has devoted her life to protecting. The story is filled with twists and turns, betrayals and conspiracies that go all the way to the throne. There are some pretty predictable moments in the story but it doesn’t make it any less entertaining. (3 out of 5)

Characters:  The book does feature some pretty likable characters.  The main protagonist is Alexandra “Xandra” Vardan, a half-breed and a member of the elite Royal Guard, who is searching for her missing sister, Dede.  Good that she does struggle with issues internally despite being her witty and aggressive attitude (which admittedly does feel like a trope as many “strong” female leads are smartasses). I did like the relationship between her and her family as well as with Vexation McLaughlin, King of the Werewolves, though it is kind of generic.  Vex is a likable and well established character who does have a lot of depth though I didn’t like the whole instant love at first sight.  Another surprisingly deep character is the Goblin King or Prince of Goblins. Especially with his relationship with Xandra.  The goblins are seen as the lowest of the low, but are a good spy network.  (4 out of 5)

Writing:  I really did enjoyed the writing and think that Kate Locke does construct an engaging world.  The overall setting is pretty unique with how the hierarchy is established and how society features the various species. The nobility are made up of vampires and werewolves, the underground is filled with fearful creates called goblins (which are the result of vampire/werewolf offspring), half-breeds (vampire-human, werewolf-human) are used to guard the nobility and finally there are humans, creatures fearful of the unknown but whose numbers make them the majority.   The logistics of the vampire, werewolf, and goblin genetics are sound enough to make sense (though clearly unrealistic) and how the story incorporates the Black Plague is actually pretty clever.  The story does have plenty of meat on its bones; balancing mystery, suspense, and maintaining tension.  Also, for those who enjoy some witty banter, the book has more than enough to satisfy.  The book has a paranormal futuristic steampunk feel to it.  It is an entertaining page turner and points for originality. (4 out of 5)


The Verdict:  In the end, God Save the Queen (The Immortal Empire #1) is a pretty good read though it does have its share of problems, mostly of which are commonly found in these paranormal romance novels.  However, Alexandra Vardan is a great protagonist with a good supporting cast, good writing, witty dialogue, interesting story, and awesome world building. God Save the Queen (The Immortal Empire #1) gets 4 out of 5.

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