Queen Victoria: Demon Hunter by A.E. Moorat

Queen Victoria has long been held as one of the most beloved of British monarchs. After taking the throne at the tender age of 18, the young queen soon finds she has her hands full with matters of state as well as matters of the heart. When she learns of the violent and long fought war between humans and demons; her responsibility towards the Empire takes a darker turn.

Victoria finds assistance in her royal advisers as well as a small group of royal bodyguards called the Protektorate. With their help she will fight monsters of all kinds and protect not only her beloved England but her beloved Albert.

Judging by the reviews on Goodreads and Amazon, those who read Queen Victoria: Demon Hunter seem to fall in to two camps; those who enjoyed the book and those who didn’t. Personally, I fall in to the first group – I greatly enjoyed this book.

Queen Victoria: Demon Hunter takes place in an alternate reality. In this world, demons are real and they have been at war with the human race since the beginning of time. These demons seek to rule the world by any means necessary and the humans who are aware of these demons seek to stop them.

Beyond that, the story stays fairly true to how history played out. Victoria did indeed take the throne at 18 and shortly thereafter met and married Prince Albert. They had several children and were very much in love. These are facts and while Moorat might have fudged a few details for sake of the story, many of the events played out just as history described them.

Moorat did an excellent job with all of the characters in Queen Victoria, both real and fictional. Taking well known historical persons and giving them a unique twist is no mean feat and I believe Moorat did this very well. The characters are not perfect, they each have their own foibles and drawbacks. They each have their own reasoning for doing what they do and behaving why they behave.

As this is a tale about demon hunting, blood and gore is involved. Some readers might find the action scenes a bit off putting. Those who are especially squeamish might find certain passages difficult.

For a book that was released at the height of the zombie craze, Queen Victoria: Demon Hunter is a good addition to the genre. Those who enjoy alternate reality type tales will likely enjoy this book. Moorat does a great job and I’ll be looking for his other books in the near future.

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What Angels Fear (Sebastian St. Cyr #1) by C.S. Harris

In 1811, the threat of revolution is on the minds of the upper classes in King George’s England. When a young woman is found raped and murdered on the alter steps of an ancient church near Westminster Abbey, items found near the body and testimony of a witness both point to one man – Sebastian St. Cyr.

Now St. Cyr is a wanted man but he is not about to go down without a fight. Using the skills he accumulated as an agent during the war, he intends to catch the real killer and prove his innocence. Among the ranks of the well to do nothing is as it seems, yet the truth could hold the key to the future of the monarchy as well as St. Cyr’s own salvation.

What Angels Fear is the first book in the Sebastian St. Cyr series (try saying that five times fast!) and is an excellent introduction. Not only are we introduced to St. Cyr himself, a very interesting man that I am eager to read more of, but also various other characters who are likely to play parts in subsequent books. We meet friend and foe alike, and all are given their own distinct personality.

I believe one of the things I liked best about What Angels Fear is that none of the characters are either wholly good or wholly bad. They all tread that gray area that makes a person truly human. Yes, some characters are a lighter gray than others, but no one individual we meet is completely perfect in either sense. Each one is doing what they believe to be the right thing, even if we the reader disagree. This adds a kind of realism to the narrative that draws the reader in.

There is definitely a good bit of action but there is just as much inaction; sections where characters interact and we are given tantalizing clues and ideas about who the culprit eventually turns out to be.

Some readers might find the actual crime that starts the story off-putting. Rape is a delicate subject. Though no description is given of the crime occurring, it is discussed by police and other characters over the course of the book. Those who find the subject distasteful or otherwise triggering might do well to skip this book.

Real history buffs might roll their eyes at a scene or two, but for the most part I found What Angels Fear to be fairly historically accurate. A fine detail or two might have been glossed over for the sake of narrative but nothing that pulled one completely out of the story.

A decent read with an intelligent and interesting main character as well as a band of equally fascinating supporting cast, I can definitely recommend What Angels Fear to those who like a good historical mystery. Fair warning to those who find some subject matter worrying. All others, enjoy this introduction to a new series.

 

The Reapers are the Angels (Reapers #1) by Alden Bell

For over twenty-five years, humanity has survived in small meager enclaves, guarding against the plague of zombies that have infested America. Among the survivors is a young woman named Temple, who prefers to travel the blighted landscape than stay still. She doesn’t remember a time before the zombies but she does remember the old man who took her in and the younger brother she once cared for.

Moving across the brutal frontier, Temple is haunted by her past and soon becomes pursued by a killer. Surrounded by death and danger she must search where to try and make a home and find the redemption she needs.

This is one of those books that it rather hard to describe. While many categorize it as a sort of post-apocalyptic zombie novel, in truth that barely begins to describe things. Yes, the setting is a post-apocalyptic America; where an unnamed event has decimated the land; and yes, zombies do play a part in the narrative. Yet, there is so much more.

The Reapers are the Angels is coming of age story as well. Temple, our narrator and main character, is barely a teenager searching for a place to call home. Every place she finds herself, events occur and Temple finds herself leaving either by choice or by force. All the while she is trying to come to terms with events that occurred in the past that set the story in motion.

There are some who might have issue with the narrative style of The Reapers are the Angels. It has a very stream of consciousness feel which can be disconcerting at times. There are no actual quotes to indicate when a person is speaking, sometimes leaving the reader wondering who has said what.

Much as I enjoyed The Reapers are the Angels, it is doubtful I will be reading the subsequent books in the series. Certain events occurred, which I will not reveal due to spoilers, that rather ruined the ending for me.

Though the book itself is rather slim, I found it to be a good read. I would recommend it to those looking for something to entertain and perhaps make them think, but know that you might be disappointed too.

Robopocalypse (Robopocalypse Book 1) by Daniel H. Wilson

In the very near future, all the amazing technology that runs our world and makes our lives easier, will turn against us. It will happen when no one is looking and when no one expects it. Led by a massively powerful AI named Archos, shortly after coming online they assume control over the global network of machines and in one moment humankind will be decimated.

Archos’ plans however do not go unnoticed; in the months leading up to the attack, various glitches begin to appear. They are originally noticed by a small handful of humans – a single mother, a lonely Japanese bachelor, an isolated U.S. soldier – yet none realize how vast the problem is until it’s too late.

Robopocalypse was one of those books that was recommended to me by my library. While the initial premise was interesting, I wasn’t that impressed by how it was handled. I didn’t feel particularly connected to any of the characters. While I wondered at their eventual fate, there was little else that drew me to any of them.

It also seems quite obvious that this is meant to be the first book of a series. Several times of the course of the book the reader is told that something will or won’t happen to a particular character or that they will find some new information or skill that helps in the war. Yet, we do not see this occur at all. It is perhaps a foreshadowing of what will happen in subsequent books.

I was rather disappointed by Robopocalypse. Without the second book, the first book just doesn’t make much sense. It didn’t pull me in to the story and at the end I was left wanting. Questions were asked by never answered, clues were dropped but never taken any where. Sadly, I cannot recommend this book. I feel bad about it, but that’s just my take on it.