It would appear that, in these Steampunk tinged days, the Victorian world has become the new Medieval world. A fakery of sorts in which the current order is misplaced rather than overthrown and the world comes back to a sort of normality though with some minor changes. There is no real challenge to the world and its assumptions; this might be dangerous.
In God Save the Queen: Book One of the Immortal Empire, the vampire Queen Victoria is still reigning but, perhaps, there is trouble afoot. One of her guards, Xandra, is trying to find a murderer when she hears that he sister has been committed to Bedlam asylum.
In the midst of madness, she finds some sanity of sorts. The loose alliance of werewolves, vampires and goblins exists in careful social balance which is upset when the social veneer is chipped. In part this comes across as a superficially punkier version of the social classes dominated by the ostensibly prettier vampires, in the same vein as Dan Abnett’s comic series, The Deadwardians (though this echoes the more genteel savagery of the Edwardians). Locke does revel in the ordure of the underworld and there is hope that is may come out to upset the Victorian world.
Whilst working on the apparent murder, she discovers a eugenics plot which has been carried out with the tacit knowledge of the vampire elite, in tandem with one that the goblins have been partaking in. Locke, apart from dispatching the progenitor of the programme, does not really engage with the politics of the move and this is frustrating. It does create an unease in liking or trusting the main character when her own secret comes out.
God Save The Queen does have potential to carry out something quite fun and less genteel. It feels slightly caught between revolution and restoration. It does have all the parts of a Victorian fantasy but not quite the feel of one, straining slightly at its own limitations. There is substance underneath the style.