Saturday, December 23, 2017

The Queen Is Dead

The Queen Is Dead
by Kate Locke
Recommended Ages: 14+

When we first met Alexandra Vardan, she was a member of the Royal Guard protecting the vampire Queen Victoria in an alternate present-day version of London. She believed she was just an ordinary halfblood (vampire duke father, human courtesan mother), like her half-siblings Val, Avery, and Dede, and her former lover Rye was killed by some dirty rotten humans (ick), and there might be something special between her and her mentor, the vampire Churchill. One book later, she's learned differently on several of those counts, and will soon be disabused of at least one more. For now it seems Xandra is not a halfblood, but a goblin - what you get when you cross vampire and werewolf blood - and not just any goblin, but a goblin queen, able to take human form and go out in sunlight.

Honestly, she didn't know. But Victoria was not amused. Xandra has moved out of her siblings' flat, banished from the walled Mayfair neighborhood where halfbloods and plagued "aristos" (vampires and werewolves, who have a mutated strain of the bubonic plague in their blood) are free to roam, protected to some extent from another human uprising. Nobody wants to have anything to do with her, except her alpha werewolf lover Vex MacLaughlin, and William, the goblin prince. Forced to live in a human neighborhood, Xandra has trouble getting along with her neighbors - some of whom have taken to nailing rats to her front door. A couple of Scotland Yard detectives suspect her of murdering Churchill (which actually isn't far off the mark). Her werewolf mum and her maternal sister Ophelia want to use Xandra to forge an alliance between their revolutionary movement and the goblins. Vex's pack wants a similar arrangement between the gobs and the wolves. And now a bunch of betties (humans who are obsessed with becoming plagued) has scrobbled Xandra's brother Val, and she fears he may become the victim of either a "horror show" (you really don't want to know) or some kind of fiendish experiments. It's a mystery nobody seems to want solved except Xandra and those closest to her.

Adult content advisory, everyone. This novel is a sexy, free-swearing, sometimes dark and disturbing journey into the seamy underbelly of a society in which the undead feel no need to hide themselves (except, you know, during the daytime). It is a suspenseful, action-filled caper involving sinister conspiracies, media spectacles, extreme violence, and a civilization teetering on the edge of civil war. Also, it's weird, funny, and totally original, exploring an urban fantasy world closely paralleling ours - a present-day, post-steampunk phenomenon with slightly different technology, but the same rock bands and Hollywood movies.

This sequel to God Save the Queen is Book 2 of "The Immortals Trilogy," which concludes with Long Live the Queen. When my mummy asked me what three things I wanted for Christmas, two of them were this book and Long Live the Queen. I just didn't want 2017 to end without finding out what happens in this series penned by a Canadian-American paranormal-romance/steampunk/steampunk-romance/urban-fantasy novelist who, depending on her genre at any given moment, alternates between the pen names Kate Cross, Kady Cross, and Kathryn Smith. Some of her numerous other titles include the "Brotherhood of the Blood" quintet, two "Nightmare Chronicles" books, "The Steampunk Chronicles" (The Girl in the Steel Corset and three more), "The Clockwork Agents" trilogy, and such individual books as When Marrying a Scoundrel and The Dark Discovery of Jack Dandy.

No comments: