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Review: Queen Victoria: Demon Hunter by A.E. Moorat

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Queen Victoria: Demon Hunter by A.E. Moorat
Historical Fiction, Demons, Spoof
Trade Paperback (EOS, 384 pages, $14.99)
ISBN# 0061976016
There were many staff at Kensington Palace, fulfilling many roles; a man who was employed to catch rats, another whose job it was to sweep the chimneys. That there was someone expected to hunt demons did not shock the new Queen; that it was to be her was something of a surprise.
London, 1838. Queen Victoria is crowned; she receives the orb, the scepter, and an arsenal of bloodstained weaponry. If Britain is about to become the greatest power of the age, there’s the small matter of the undead to take care of first. Demons stalk the crown, and political ambitions have unleashed ravening hordes of zombies even within the nobility itself.
But rather than dreams of demon hunting, Queen Victoria’s thoughts are occupied by Prince Albert. Can she dedicate her life to saving her country when her heart belongs elsewhere? With lashings of glistening entrails, decapitations, zombies, and foul demons, this masterly new portrait will give a fresh understanding of a remarkable woman, a legendary monarch, and quite possibly the best demon hunter the world has ever seen.
In another incarnation as a more serious (though still satirical) author, A. E. MOORAT has won critical acclaim and been shortlisted for awards. Here, however, he was chained in the dungeon, fed tea and ghost stories, and kept busy writing the adventures of Queen Victoria, Demon Hunter.
Author Site: www.harpercollins.com

False Advertising Run Amok (1 star)

Surely by now most readers of popular fiction have heard of the popular spoof concept being applied to classic works of fiction. The light-hearted humor is intended to poke fun at these popular classics while also being just plain entertaining. Queen Victoria: Demon Hunter attempts to take that concept a bit further and present a reimagining of the life of a historical figure.

In theory the idea of a Queen of England as a demon hunting protector of her people is both bold and exciting. Unfortunately the excitement stops there. Presented in painfully slow, crude but dry humor the story of Victoria as demon slayer lacks any intensity that would appeal to the urban fantasy reader. The plodding pace is bogged down with point-of-view changes that only add to the drag and characters are so under developed it's a wonder anyone cares what happens to any of them.

My biggest beef with this book is the title itself. Don't go in expecting Victoria to actually be doing any demon slaying for the first 300 pages. I assumed this book was going to focus on her exploits as a demon killing machine by night, queen by day. Sadly, that's not the case. I won't offer any spoilers but I don't think it would be fair not to warn readers looking for something with a little action that the title and summary are a bit deceptive about Victoria's actual actions.

I rarely give one star reviews but I was so disappointed with this book I wouldn't want anyone to think I liked it even a little bit.

Notes: I received this book as an ARC through the Amazon Vine program.


Andrew Holmes said...

Hi Rhianna,

Thanks for the review, though obviously I'm sorry you didn't like it. Re your point about Victoria's journey, well, I saw this very much as her origin story. To me, much of the pleasure of the book was in solving the puzzle of how the Queen of England might find herself decapitating demons as a sideline. Not for you, obviously, but you must admit she starts her demon slaying well before the 300 pages you state. After all, the book's only 370 pages long! Each to their own, though, and I thank you for reading the book, and take your points onboard. I wish you luck with your own writing.


Rhianna said...

Thank you very much for your comment Andrew. :)

One of the most difficult parts of reviewing for me is putting into words what I may not have enjoyed about a story. Thank you for taking my critisism without taking it as a personal assault.

As you said "each to their own" and unfortunately your book didn't work for me. Perhaps because I was reading it expecting something different? That's always frustrating for a reader! I may not have liked it but I read a lot of reviews that loved it.

And best wishes to you as you continue writing.

-- Rhi


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