God Save the Queen: Book 1 of the Immortal Empire

By Kate Locke

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Readers` Reviews

★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
dilara
I was greatly entertained by this book! The plot moved along nicely and kept me guessing the whole time. As usual for this genre, there are a lot of different rules/characteristics for each supernatural group and while that can get confusing, the author gave a glossary and a "understanding the aristocracy" write-up. I LOVE when authors include these tools in a new series because its easy to get lost in the wealth of information the first book will give. Can't wait for the next one!
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
karen weiss
I loved this book! It has everything I love about Urban Fantasy. The story flowed and kept me interested. The heroine and the hero were awesome. I'm jumping right into book 2!
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
dina begum
Set in a somewhat skewed present-day England where Queen Victoria (a vampire) still reigns, the Immortal Empire series introduces a world where vamps, weres, and goblins exist as a result of the Black Plague. Xandra Vardan, a halvie (born of a human mother and vampire father) is part of an elite force that protects the aristocrats. When her sister goes missing, Xandra becomes embroiled in a conspiracy like no other!

Kate Locke (aka Kady Cross) gets big props from me for this first in the trilogy! This urban fantasy series is unique and sure to please readers looking for a new standout in the genre. I can't wait for book two!
Number 4 in series (Finishing School) - Manners and Mutiny :: Etiquette & Espionage (Finishing School 1) :: Imprudence: Book Two of The Custard Protocol :: The Shambling Guide to New York City (The Shambling Guides) :: Silent Spring By Rachel Carson
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
anneliesuitgent
The awesome tagline "Keep calm and pray for dawn" is a tease- promising a slam-bang hell-ride of a story but GSTQ fails to fully deliver on the goods.

The backstory is similar to the Underworld franchise, where paranormals emerged from a viral strain instead of magic. Here we have the Prometheus Plague- a mutagenic virus whose effects, as the name implies, change the course of human development, giving rise to vampires, werewolves and goblins. It's Queen Victoria's transformation into a vampire that both alters the balance of power and stunts the development of Western Civilization. To keep the new aristocracy (vampires) at the top of the pile, they begin breeding with humans and producing 'halvies', turning them into their own version of MI5 and a buffer against the teeming masses of humanity. Here we meet Alexandra (Xandra) Vardan, a halvie, who along with her siblings, serve Queen and Country with a vigor that would do James Bond proud. But as a high society scandal involving one of their sisters begins spiraling out of control, Xandra's investigation of the matter sets her to unraveling secrets and conspiracies best left alone. And the poor girl herself's at the core of them.

Steampunk versions of modern technology are the order of the day, making everything old new again. It's a fun twist on an oversaturated genre, but that's where the fun ends.

The big problem with UF/PNR is the MarySue Effect: where the story pretty much revolves around the main character's rear end and this one's no different. No matter what powerful, influential characters inhabit the world it's still all about HER- the relative nobody who'll somehow end up controlling the fates of everyone simply because of their very existence (hint, hint). And this being a UF/PNR novel, it's the biggest problem here. Characters are characters because of WHO they are, not WHAT they are. Because the plot boils down to what Xandra is, there's almost no point in exploring who she is because we can already see where it's all headed. There are some interesting layers and textures to the story, but as everything centers upon our girl nothing ever ranges too far beyond her grasp. Xandra possess skills and advantages even a halvie shouldn't have and the reason for them is no big reveal; in fact it's been done so many times it's already a standard UF trope. And being a MarySue, Xandra's already on the romantic radar of the uber alpha of the Scottish werewolves- who's also an aristocrat in his own right, making them even more compatible- so as soon as they finally meet face to face, well... you already know.

The showdown with one of the conspirators at the end is such an anti-climax and cliché it's almost corny! Didn't help any that it had been telegraphed about halfway through the book so there was no suspense or drama involved whatsoever.

GSTQ is both fresh and stale at the same time. And that's a shame, 'cause it looks like it could be a fun ride if we could just toss ol' MarySue off the train.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
jonaca
I loved everything about this book. The story and the atmosphere are unique. There is a steampunk feel to the world but it's not steampunk. The characters are amazingly vibrant. I loved Xandra's voice and colorful descriptions bring each character to life. Especially loved William. Excellent book, I'm excited to continue on to book 2.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
steve duffy
This was sold to me by the bookseller as a Steampunk novel. It was in the Steampunk section and the seller said he'd read it. He doesn't know steampunk if he thinks this is it. Despite that, it's a good read. It took me a bit to get into the story because there was so much background that had to be given and then I wasn't overly thrilled for a bit either. I stuck with it though and couldn't put it down for the last 1/3 or so.

I won't give any spoilers as there have been enough reviews already that have told much of the story but I will say that I'm looking forward to when the 2nd book comes out in February. I'm sure book 3 will have another 6 month lead time as well but I want to see how this trilogy goes. Well done, Kate Locke!
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
darin clark
Even for a reader bloody sick and tired of vampires, this novel is fun - probably because the vampires take something of a back seat in the action. Locke has done some interesting things with her world and I'd love to see her take on Mongolia (believed to be the home of the Plague) and the Papacy (given that most account (as I remember) begin the Plague in Europe with merchants in Rome. I have two complaints about the series. 1) The main characters are already as good as it gets. I just don't see a lot of room for character development. On the other hand, maybe they'll find that they Aristocracy is much more dangerous than anyone outside of it ever expected. 2) The "scientific" explanation for vampirism and lycanthropy isn't much of one. It is only the beginning of explaining what's going on and I don't get the sense that it's going to go much further. That's fine but I'd find it a little more palatable if it were wrapped a little more securely in the "any sufficiently advanced science..." deniability. Anyway, I enjoyed the book. I'm not going to wait on number two but I'll grab it off the shelf if I see it.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
tim mcintosh
This novel begins with adrenaline and never stops. Great plot and incredible details. The heroine is relatable and nevertheless always takes you by surprise. Can't wait for the next book.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
jodi nabor
I don`t review books very often, but this one really needed to be reviewed. The story was complex with a cast of caracters that had depth and personalities that were beleivable. The author concentrated on the story and did not fill up the pages with meaningless erotica. Please take a chance and read this series. You will not be disappointed.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
yasen
4.5 stars

The first chapter or so I wasn't sure this spur of the moment bookstore purchase would be a good book for me. I was worried I'd have a problem getting the author's created world down. Not long after, it all clicked and I was hooked. Fabulous book. Awesome characters. Locke took vamps and weres--among other things--to a whole new level. Can't wait for the next book! :)
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
lauren summers
This was a book that both my husband (British to the core) and I found highly amusing, fun, and with all the good things about British humor and darkness. I loved the dialogue, the intrigue, and most of all Xandie. She is every young woman's role model. She is fearless, independent, kind, funny, and inquisitive. She doesn't put up with a lot of bullshit. I could see this as a movie.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
polly forns
This was a delight-- humorous, and a most unique take on vampire/werewolf/goblin lore, definitely a must-read for fellow anglophiles and overall a lovely presentation in terms of size, quality, etc. Price is good too for those who insist on hardcovers but feel guilty about the price. Best I've read the month of June and have already put the sequel in my cart!
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
elahe mahdavi
This book takes a combination of everything that goes bump in the night and makes it real. A true thrill ride. I can't wait for the second installment. I loved it.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
zuzka
Love this series
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
chingypingy
Fun, exciting, unexpected! God Save the Queen has a clear and unusual voice from the books that I generally read and was such a welcome change! If you're looking for something with a sassy protagonist steeped with mystery, adventure and appreciation for steampunkery and/or urban fantasy then this book is for you!
★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
dennis tomlinson
"God Save the Queen" has all the right elements for a novel I would really enjoy: alternative history set in a supernatural London and a strong female main character, an interesting premise, and Queen Victoria. Unfortunately, an interesting idea fails in solid execution and I couldn't even push through the last five chapters of the book.

In this novel by Kate Locke, a virus commonly called "the Promethean Plague" or just "the plague" afflicted a large portion of the human race. Aristocrats and royalty in particular started displaying mutations, transforming them into vampires or werewolves, with the most extreme and bestial gene expressions throwing goblins. The British Empire flies strong under a vampiric Victoria in her 175th year of rule, while the Americas have broken away and technology and society function along disturbing parallels.

The book badly needed an editor armed with a red pen to stop Stephenie Meyer-esque asides surrounded by hyphens. I found the constant asiding intrusive and detracting from the flow of what was going on. Much of the setting information is dumped scattershot through the first several chapters without rhyme or reason, often mid-narrative. World building's a bit like decorating a cake; sometimes you let the flavours come through on their own, and others you add more elaborate pieces on their own. Locke doesn't have a light hand or a good sense of timing for doling out theme details in the way that two masters of the genre, Kim Harrison (in particular) and Gail Carriger (for steampunk/paranormal or urban fantasy), achieve. Patricia Briggs and the Ilona Andrews duo also excel in developing their urban fantastic worlds, and none of these authors break a thought stream or a conversation for two paragraphs of random information. That's really my largest beef with the book and the reason I had such trouble reading it: I didn't like wresting the storyline from its foundation, chipping away at all the constant interruptions, interjections, and asides to keep track of what was going on.

Clearly Locke's setting has a lot going for it. Many elements of London remain and others are gone, like the history of the Nazis and the Blitz. Racial segregation and the results of a failed uprising 70 years prior to the story leave lasting effects which the main character is forced to deal with and grapple with if she's to find her sister and solve other issues along the way. But it can't sparkle the way it should, which is a damned shame. Critical details about this steampunkish, supernatural modern version of London are plunked down as we try to follow the protagonist, the daughter of a duke and a half-vampire with the expected suite of unexpected powers and strengths, through her various adventures in the divided capital.

Some sloppy writing habits had me grinding my teeth--the use of hyphens--as I tried to keep track of everything--hard to do, I tell you, when the damned book kept hopping around--when there were multiple interjections. I don't have a problem with the use of hyphens as asides, but overliberal use becomes more than a distraction. Subplots shouldn't happen between a stream of hyphens. Too often setting bits were thrown out this way, and the worst part is how higgledy-piggledy the approach was. If the author set out some key information in a few paragraphs at the beginning, great. Instead, the reader is led on a tedious scavenger hunt to piece together an idea of the setting without a general framework or key details, and that isn't fun. I want to focus on the story as much as the world it takes place in, and trying to perform both simultaneously isn't easy when they keep tripping over one another.

I finally gave up over the Mary Sue qualities of the main character. Of course, she's appealing but too many stereotypical boxes are ticked off: a screaming redhead, highly attractive and charismatic, butt kicking, independent, soft spot for family, well-regarded by most everyone, racy and capable in a corset or leather boots, motorbike riding, hard drinking high aristocrat's daughter. Where are the flaws? Where's the character growth? By the time I stopped, I felt that we really hadn't seen a great deal of growth from someone with a silver spoon in her mouth and all the advantages laid out. "Half" supernatural or not, she really didn't grow. Contrast her to Rachel from the "Hollows" series by Kim Harrison or October Daye from Seanan McGuire's superlative "October Daye" series, and Xandra rings pretty flat and false. I like an independent, sassy female but what I don't like is someone who never grows and whose challenges are met with a deadly arsenal from the get go. That's not quite so fun.

Locke has an excellent imagination and her diversions into explaining various forms of technology showcase a great grip on her world. I found the intersections between modern gadgets we have, like a cellular phone, and her interpretations (a cylinder version, complete with message box) to be intelligent and a bit tongue in cheek. She uses a strong dose of wit and humour to pull the story along. I just wish she'd cleaned up how she wrote to stop the constant asides and to explain critical events/details in a few lines.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
violette malan
This was the first in a new series, and my first steampunk (that I finished) . I absolutely loved the clever twists in the setting of modern day London. And then there's Vex-- WOW! Cant wait for the next book!
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
chasevanmol
I came across this book while browsing in the book store and didn't expect much from it as there are an overabundance of sub-par vampire/werewolf/paranormal books currently in the market. However, the book hooked me from the first page and kept me reading frantically until the end. This is, by far, one of the best books I've read this year and a new favorite author. I can't wait to read the next installment and only hope that it lives up to the first.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
travis mead
Good characterisation and a new 'read' on an alternative history with Queen Victoria a Vampire! Enjoyed the story and the following two books; looking forward to more in the future.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
sarah b
I zipped right through this quick and exciting read by Kate Locke. Set in an alternate timeline in England, she sets the scene for a scientific explanation for the supernatural that is fascinating and refreshing to unfold. All the action in the book moves the plot right along, and Xandra has a fresh but tough voice. I would highly recommend and can't wait to read the next book in this series!
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
jason ray
I thought the English aristocracy IS made up of vampires and werewolves and the Queen IS one of the "undead". (An unnamed source told me she used to hunt for dinner with Nancy Reagan.) Go figure!
★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
lindyloumac
I do not know how good this book is because I cannot listen to it. I am unable to read. I do not understand why some titles do not allow Kindle speech-to-text. I gave this a low rating in hopes that people will look at my review before they buy this title. That way no one else will waste their money purchasing this if, like me, they need text-to-speech.
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