I hate admitting this, but I zeroed in on this book at the book store because of the cover. I try to base my book-buying on authors I have heard good things about, or books given to me. But this, how could I not notice that unbearably bright pink? The book sounded vaguely interesting, so I took a chance for the blog!
So, so happy I did. Within the first few pages I was hooked.
This book follows in the foot steps of other Authors like Laurell K Hamilton and Jacqueline Carey, to name a few. Namely – female lead, supernatural type being, vampires, werewolves, and the female is linked to the Justice system somehow.
Locke stands apart from many others I have read because she actually explains WHY there are Vampires and Werewolves, and how they changed the path of history. Back during the plague, the disease caused mutation within people and that brought out Vampires in England, and Werewolves in Scotland. The Queen became a Vampire, and because of that, her rule is coming up on 200 years. With Werewolves and Vampires, and a Queen’s obsession with the Victorian Age, certain war’s didn’t happen, but also ushered in a steam-punk like modern era.
Pure bloods are known as Aristos (aka aristocrats) because they are the ruling bodies – they are the Nobles, the Royalty. Humans are still abundant, but are working class and below. The main character, Xandra Vardan, is a Half-Vampire, more widely known as halfies. Any other time, I would have been irrationally angry, but Locke doesn’t describe Vampires as reawakened corpses, just another supernatural creature born of the Plague mutation. And not all women have the ability to carry halfie children. Human women that carry the “Prometheus Protein” can have half-blooded children. And as you can imagine, these women are highly sought after – think Inara from Firefly. It is a great honor to be a Companion and bare a half-blooded child. Because Aristos trying to have children sometimes produce a Goblin. The Goblins are the top of the food chain, namely because everything under them is food. Including Vampires and Werewolves, and they are stronger than both.
Xandra, and all of her siblings, are military/justice officers, some to protect the Queen, others to protect the Aristos. Up until Xandra’s youngest sister goes missing and is found dead inside Bedlam. This launches Xandra into the world of Goblins, and into a journey to find out about herself and everyone around her. Suddenly her world isn’t so black and white.
Another thing I found Locke did differently, that all paranormal (and hell, ROMANCE novels) fall into, is actually the topic of Romance and sex. Almost every book I have read (willingly or not) writes sex like it is the end-game, like everything done throughout the book is just leading up to that. Xandra slept with her love interest literally the second day she met him. Her family knew, they didn’t shame her (mostly cause he was the leader of the Scottish Werewolves, but whatever) and she didn’t shame herself. There was also no pledges of pure love or any of that sappy shit. The relationship was just part of the story, not the reason for the story. Xandra did not rely on Vex for absolutely everything, she actually commented several times that she was keeping him at arms length cause she couldn’t trust him yet. Even when she blurted out ‘I love you’, it was in the nature of someone you care about doing something awesome. Her response was even to panic he would take it the wrong way because she meant it the same way she said it to her siblings or friends (ie a best friend bringing a coffee at the exact time you needed it), and he laughed it off because he understood what she meant. Everything read as just …mature! No drama for the sake of drama, didn’t need to “test” their relationship because that wasn’t the focus of the book. She kept on track (instead of stuffing the plot away to focus on the relationship) and wrote a non-bullshit relationship I can root for, on top of creating interesting characters and a cool storyline!
To be perfectly honest, I was blown away by this book. Even before finishing it I think I recommended it to three people in my life. It is a full trilogy, but as far as I’m aware, this is the only stuff she has written. If you read that type of book, I highly recommend it! The genre is not for everyone, but if it is, this book is for you!