cover image Long Live the Queen

Long Live the Queen

Kate Locke. Orbit, $17 trade paper (320p) ISBN 978-0-316-19614-7

In Locke%E2%80%99s third and final Immortal Empire novel, Alexandra Vardan is the newly crowned Goblin Queen in an alternate Britain where Queen Victoria is a vampire. Under Victoria, social change has slowed down, and class struggles have become more deadly. Unpopular with the vampire nobility and the general populace, Xandra faces a plot to frame her for brutal murders. Meanwhile, she has to figure out who is engineering an especially deadly form of the vampire plague. Xandra faces a wide array of enemies, adding an element of intrigue, but it%E2%80%99s disturbingly unclear whether Locke realizes she%E2%80%99s an antihero rather than one of the good guys. Xandra allows her goblins to murder and eat unsuspecting drug addicts, and seems to think they deserve it, yet public dislike of her and the goblins is depicted as mere prejudice, easily countered by good PR. These moral considerations are never quite eclipsed by the proliferation of secret labs, dark conspiracies, colorful anachronisms, memorable characters, and convincing and logical world-building. This is an absorbing and unusual read for fans of alternate history and urban fantasy. (Nov.)