Spudguns!, It's book club day. This month's selection was Queen Victoria Demon Hunter by A.E. Moorat.
plot: It's the mid-1800's and young Victoria has just both had her eighteenth birthday and been informed she is now Queen. At the same time across town, Quimby and his manservant Perkins have just survived a horde of zombies that have broken out of their captivity. Well, mostly survived, as Perkins is half eaten by a zombie before Quimby is able to save him. Perkins then becomes the latest zombie. As well a large pack of rats have begun chasing people through the streets. The information reaches the ears of Maggie Brown, head of the Royal Protektors, and she is called into action to the Queen's side. Maggie manages to fight off an attack by a succubus saving the Queen. With their assassination attempt a failure, the Queen's enemies lay dormant for the next few years. During this time, the Queen marries her beloved Albert and gives birth to both a daughter and son, all the while unaware that her enemies have been living with her. As we learn, Sir Conroy, the very human familiar to the Queen's uncle; had a hand in setting up the royal marriage. Meanwhile, while this is happening, Quimby, who has managed to create a serum that causes reanimation, has been blackmailed by Conroy into helping the Queen's enemies overtake the Parliament by turning half the members into zombies. The Queen's enemies, who are in fact demons, kidnap her husband Albert, forcing Queen Victoria to rescue him. The Queen, along with Maggie and another member of the Royal Protektors, Vasquez, find themselves first having to deal with the chaos caused by the zombied members of Parliament, before tracking Albert to Bedlam where he's being held captive. And which turns out is also the entrance to hell.
There are so many sub-plots going on here. They do eventually come together to make one cohesive story, but at first glance, they seem almost not to have anything to do with each other. You're about midway through the book before they really connect.
I liked this a lot more than some of the others in this mash-up genre I've read. About the only real complaint I have on this novel is that the last 50 pages becomes one long action scene. Some of the characters could have been a little more fleshed out, such as the Royal Protektors Hudson, Hicks and Vasquez, as it is they ended up being sort of flat. One of the most interesting characters other than the character of Victoria herself; happens to be Egg, and he's only given a few scenes with little to do. I kept expecting him to have a more important role in the whole thing, but sadly he didn't. There are also the mysterious creepy children who are Conroy's bodyguards. A little bit of a back story on them would have upped the game just a notch. There is also, an entire group of werewolves that at first seem like the center of the villains, and are given some depth, but you quickly learn they are just the comic relief.
I don't have a whole lot else to say about this one. It's a lighter book, which sways between action-gore and dramatic-comedy. You're drawn between the relationships which focus on the mentor/student dynamic of Maggie and the Queen, and the buddy/odd couple of Quimby and Perkins more so than anything else.
I'll be back in a day or two with the official announcement for April's selection.