Published: July 3, 2012Publisher: OrbitPages: 368Received: from Hachette Book Group for honest reviewQueen Victoria rules with an immortal fist.
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.
First off I fell in love with this cover - how could you not? Awesome colours, fun text and a wicked chick with a gun and a corset! The book that was sent to me is a cute little hardcover book with no dust jacket and it's smaller than a normal paperback in height. Quite unique.
Now for the actual plot, location and characters. The location is pretty intriguing in itself with this being 2012 England, but in a totally different context than expected. Things seem to be a mix of 1930s vintage and modern technology - they have the vintage cars, clothes and buildings and some even have old ideas on how things should be while they have updated medical, technology and warfare. It's quite an interesting mix of things. And the best part of the plot outline is that it is based around people having mutated genes due to a plague like virus called Black Death which caused a special protein called the Prometheus Protein to change people into either vampires or werewolves. These enhanced humans carry the strains that cause either or and some can even become halvies where they have half-human/vamp or half-human/were characteristics. The full blooded vamps and weres are mostly of the aristocratic lineage and maintain high positions among the hierarchy. Then there are the true Plague victims that resulted in Goblins - they are scary and completely creepy - no one dares to go near them unless they wish death upon themselves.
Now the characters are even more interesting. Xandra is by far a kick ass heroine. Her position as Royal Guard puts her in the mentality of not taking shit from anyone and she is completely full of snark - I love it! She doesn't take no for an answer especially when it comes to anything involving her family or friends. Xandra is completely full of surprises and comes up with all kinds of creative ways around the situations that she gets herself into, thank goodness for all of that special forces training. She also has a huge heart when it comes to family and her family is quite varied. When she finds out one of her sisters is missing she stops at nothing until she uncovers the truth of her disappearance, even if it means finding out things she never thought possible.
There is a wonderful romance that sparks up in this story as well as a few misplaced and misguided feelings from a few others that Xandra is not so sure about. Things get complicated very quickly for Xandra and she is pulled in so many directions: new love, people trying to kill her and others trying to save her. Things are never dull in her life - especially after all of the things that she encounters in this novel.
The entire world building in Kate Locke's book was amazing. I cannot even fathom coming up with such a world and keeping things flowing so well like Ms. Locke has accomplished. The locale, the lingo and the idea of this Plague infested world will just blow your mind. The lingo itself is quite fun and there is even a glossary at the back if you gets stumped. AND there is even a little section in the back called Understanding The Aristocracy that explains how this DNA plague issue came to be, how the different strains of paranormals have come to be and so much more.
I am completely looking forward to the second book in the series, The Queen is Dead (The Immortal Empire #2) to find out what more could happen to Xandra, her family and the new life that she has fallen into.
I seriously recommend this book to any vampire or werewolf lovers out there - this has such a dark and twisted storyline and will have you turning pages faster than you can say GOBLINS!