Series: The Immortal Empire #2
Published: 2013 by Orbit
Genres: Fantasy, Urban Fantasy
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The Queen is Dead is the second novel in Kate Locke’s The Immortal Empire trilogy, an urban fantasy series that reimagines the Victorian era, but with lots of undead and otherwise plagued creatures. The protagonist, Xandra Vardan, is having a hard time dealing with the fact that she’s the queen of the goblins. Until recently, she didn’t even know that she was a goblin, and was only familiar with stereotypes about goblins snatching children. But as Xandra found out in the previous book, she was the product of genetic experimentation, which makes her a somewhat unusual David Bowie type of goblin who can go outdoors, survive in sunlight, and hide her fangs when in polite company.
When Xandra’s brother Val disappears, she knows that something is very wrong. She suspects that Val has been taken for his blood, and that because Xandra and her sister both had unusual qualities, that he will too. Xandra’s treading in dangerous waters, and she knows she can’t do it alone, so she enlists the goblins and her werewolf boyfriend for help. As she does so, she’s still trying to live in both worlds, but it isn’t working. Her former friends and colleagues want nothing to do with her now that they know she’s a goblin, the goblins want her to accept her crown, and her boyfriend’s pack wants the goblins and werewolves to forge a formal alliance. And as much as Xandra doesn’t want to deal with any of this, she’s got no choice. It’s kind of like a coming of age story, except instead of a story where you overcome some major obstacle and feel like more of an adult, you’re already an adult even though you don’t feel like it and are just trying to figure out what the hell is going on and why people are trying to kill you.
I’m a big fan of the way the book is designed–it’s a smallish hardcover that reminds me of the Nancy Drew books I had as a kid.
Sometimes you want deep literature, and sometimes you just want something fun. The Queen is Dead definitely falls in the latter category, and I loved it. It’s a little bit predictable, and it has a pulpy feel, but that doesn’t really detract from the story. It had also been a couple years since I read the first book in the series, but I was able to jump into this one without a problem.