The novel takes you to the smoggy, cobbled streets of Victoria’s vile and villainous Britain, but not as you know them …A layer of horror will be seamlessly woven in to comedic effect. You’ll meet Queen Victoria not as the bitter old widow forever draped in black, but transformed into an ass-kicking killer of evil creatures. It will be so scarily convincing that you’ll be certain that in the dark days of Queen Victoria, it was more than just the pick-pockets you had to look out for.
This story follows Victoria as she becomes Queen of England, and realises there is more to life than she’d thought. On the night her uncle dies and the throne becomes hers Victoria meets her first demon, and Maggie Brown one of the team of Protektors charged with keeping her safe from them. There is far more that she will have to learn than she’d ever imagined, and all whilst she pursues Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gothe. At the same time in London Lord Quimby holds a party that ends up with a bloodbath and his loyal manservant Perkins being turned into a zombie. Whilst trying to foil a blackmail attempt they start to formulate a plot that will allow them to use their new zombie making skills.
I was fairly dubious before I started reading the book – I’d avoided all of the monster twists on classics but as this was original fiction based on facts I thought it might be okay. I’m no historian so I wasn’t too worried about glaring historical inaccuracies – it’s worth a mention that there are deliberate anachronisms that may bother readers with an interest in history.
It’s really hard to try and describe this book and I think one of the main reasons for this is that there are two main plotlines working throughout the book. Whilst they’re both just about working toward the same end point they don’t feel very connected. Victoria’s plotline does at times feel very thin. I liked the idea of a secret demon hunting team within the royal household and Victoria’s involvement with them. I frequently found myself wishing that the author had carried on with her story rather than jumping back to the other main plot. The plot for Quimby and Perkins on the other hand was stronger, it did add a little more graphic detail at times for my tastes but I’m sure many readers will love this. The dark humour that accompanied their story worked really well, I found myself really enjoying it.
I enjoyed some but not all of the characters, there were a number of characters that felt a little panto-like. I would have loved to see more of Victoria and Albert, and the Brown family. The bizarre Jeeves and Wooster style pairing of Quimby and Perkins were wonderful.
I did, in general, enjoy this book though I think I would have enjoyed it far more if the two plotlines had been expanded and given their own books. I suspect that if this had happened the Victoria book would have been the book I had expected to pick up and the Quimby and Perkins book would have been a thoroughly enjoyable bonus.
With thanks to Keris who ran the competition I won this book in.