God Save the Queen
The Immortal Empire, #1
Genre: Steampunk/Urban Fantasy
Narrator: Courtney Patterson
Date of Publication: July 3, 2012
Abridged or Unabridged:Unabridged
Length of Production: 11 hrs and 36 mins
Queen Victoria rules with an immortal fist.
Welcome to the realm of 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.
I am going to start by admitting that I have absolutely no idea where I first ran across this series. But some how it popping back up to my notice. The cover looks vaguely steampunk, and with a title like God Save the Queen, very, very British. After waffling back and forth, I finally decided to give this series a listen.
The book begins with the explanation that there is set in an alternate timeline. One that started to split away from our own around the late eighteenth century. Basically the bubonic plague caused a genetic mutation in the aristocracy creating vampires, werewolves and creatures known as goblins. With an increased lifespan, Queen Victoria is still ruling, the Russian royal family wasn't killed, WWI and II never happened and Britain still rules most of its colonies and has the largest empire in the world. Technology is available, but since the monarch mindset is still very much "Victorian", we get that great steampunk feel to everything.
Our protagonist is Leftenant Alexandra Vardan of the Royal Guard, aka Xandra. She is a half-blood, born of a Aristo father and a human breeding courtesan, who is specially chosen due to her ability to give birth to "halvies". These halvies have much of the Aristo strengths and less of their weaknesses. They are basically raised and trained to defend and protect the Aristocracy from human uprising.
We are introduced to Xandra as she is braving the Plague-Den of the Goblins. Goblins have a double dose of the mutation and have double the strength of the vampires and weres, but with even less ability to withstand sunlight or silver. They have become the boogie man to Aristos, halvies and humans. Xandra, however is bound and determined to find out what has happened to her younger paternal sister DeeDee. So she goes to the Goblin Prince to find out what he knows. What she will discover leads her down a dark and dangerous path of discovery.
Can I just say, OMG!! Loved this book. Courtney Patterson did a good job with the English and Scottish accents in the book. Her pacing and tone were spot on. I especially loved when the British curses were used, such as Bloody Hell! (Is it wrong that Ron Weasley flashed through my mind?) I love the way the book is full of steampunk, but not quite. I must say that this is one book where I wish there were pictures of the fashions because they make me think of cosplay costumes. This is a book well worth 5 stars for its originality, let alone great dialogue and a spitfire heroine. It has something for almost everyone: vampires, werewolves, steampunk, urban fantasy, and even a mystery to solve.