Saturday, February 23, 2013

God Save The Queen by Kate Locke - review

God Save The Queen
Kate Locke
urban fantasy
***** (five out of six stars)

Cover - the cover is what drew my eye - this old style dress with a miniskirt and boots.  She has a huge gun and a teeny tiny hat.  She has extremely red hair, only I think it's supposed to be very, very red, not hair red.  Good cover - and it was a good book.

I enjoyed reading God Save The Queen.  I loved the whole re-working of the royals and nobles, how the nobles are the ones who've been affected by viruses over and over enough to morph into beings such as werewolves (Scotland) and vampires.  Then there's the half-breeds - born of royal and non royal unions - with a whole class oriented system of birthing...Oh yeah, these people are snooty.  The regular humans are completely the "commoners", with no royal blood and are in fact beneath the notice of the vamps and weres....there's one other group, the most 'pure' of the classes - the goblins...they are also the ones who have been the most dangerous of all, and have to live underground because they cannot stand sunlight.....

In God Save The Queen, the main character (Xandra) is looking for her missing sister.  In the opening scenes, she's visiting the goblin king even though this is the one people and place that she fears - an overwhelming fear.  But she visits because she knows she'll get the truth, if she survives the encounter.  She's treated with an almost surprising respect.  And gets an answer, which leads her to searching even more for her missing sister...until her sister is pronounced dead...  But Xandra doesn't believe that her sis is dead, and she goes about trying to find her, and stumbling upon a plot, a group of traitors and her destiny.

Along with a missing sister who just might be dead, Xandra has a brother and another sister.  And the sister is in a same-sex relationship, which is handled very matter of factly by the author, nothing is written in a "look, see how this lesbian couple is included in the story"  manner.  Rather the girlfriend is just introduced into the story as any girlfriend/boyfriend would be introduced.  I like that in a novel, and better yet - there doesn't seem to be any negative aspects to this coupling.  There is no subplot of discrimination for same sex, or people acting affronted by same sex - the couple is just another couple in a large group of people.  There is also a tranny featured in the story - one of the workers at a club.   There's a good variation of characters in this novel.

Xandra meets up with a group of people who try to tell her that the world she lives in isn't the same world the rest of them live in.  Xandra has a sugar coated view of her Duke father, and the system they work in because she's always been treated well by them, but as one of the others point out, she's treated much differently by her father than even her siblings were.

From almost the very beginning, I had a strong feeling about what was going to happen with Xandra, and even though halfway through the book, this hadn't quite been revealed, I was looking for the next book, and accidentally read in the blurb the big surprise for this first novel, so if you haven't yet read the second novel's blurb, don't.  It's a big spoiler for the first book.

Anyway - the set up and worldbuilding for this series is pretty cool.  The action, the scenes and subplots, descriptions, dialogue, etc all are written and fun to read.  The only issue I had with the novel was a very vague sense of ...stilted or stodgy word usage.  It's so vague, I'm surprised it bothered me, but it did - enough for me to slow down at some parts...but luckily - there were plenty of new situations, actions and goings-ons for me to keep on reading - because a lot happened in the novel.  With the exception of the inevitable questions that are included in any story with a mystery, I enjoyed the hell out this book.  You probably know the type of questions, questions that are part of the narrative and weaved within the story, almost ramming it home to the reader that yes, the character has a lot to figure out.  I think a lot of books would be better off without these paragraphs of questions in the form of narration.  Such as, "Was my sister really dead?", "Was he interested in me because of my activities?", "would he still be interested in me in the morning?", "did my brother suspect me of..." etc.  Not word by word examples, but rather examples from the book in general.

Discounting those pesky numerous questions as narrative, and some vaguely formal wordage, I did enjoy the novel.  I enjoyed it enough that I would love to get the second novel - to see what fun and cool things this girl is going to get involved with next.  And the final fight scene in the novel - wicked.  Simply wicked.

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