I haven’t read much steam punk lately. Shame on me. I attempted to alleviate my shame by reading God Save the Queen, the first in the Immortal Empire series by Kate Locke. Mission accomplished.
This series is set in modern day England, though it is quite reminiscent of Victorian England. And for good reason; Queen Victoria still reigns. And she’s a vampire. When the bubonic plague, also known as the Black Death, swept through Europe in the 1300s, it triggered a slow change in those of aristocratic blood. They became stronger, faster, more sensitive to light and silver, and more bloodthirsty. Eventually, they gave birth to “full blooded” vampires, werewolves, and goblins. Queen Victoria was the first full vampire to take the throne in 1837.
Aristocrats, or aristos, soon realized that they can have children with humans who are carriers of the gene that caused them to change. This created “halvies,” people who are half vampire or werewolf. They can move in sunlight, so they were enlisted to protect the aristos. The Palace Guard is made up entirely of halvies. Ever since the Human Insurrection of 1932, when humans tried to overthrow the aristocracy, aristos and halvies alike have a deep mistrust of humans. No one trusts goblins, or gobs, at all. They are the product of those with werewolf genes and vampire genes. They can’t even tolerate the light of the moon, but they are stronger and more ferocious than either vampires or werewolves.
Alexandra, or Xandra, is one of the Palace Guards. She won the coveted spot by being the best fighter in her class, breaking all existing records. When her half-sister goes missing (same vampire father, different human mother), Xandra uses her considerable skills to delve into her disappearance. All of her preconceived notions of the way the world works are challenged as she falls deeper and deeper into the mystery. Those she trusted most are not being honest with her, and those she thought were enemies are making some good points…
This trilogy is an action-packed good time peppered with humor and many, many curse words, but the violence and sexuality are not too graphic. Read it today to stave off the shame of steam punk withdrawals.