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on 2 May 2011
In my experience, a book like this, with its tongue-in-cheek humour and colourful rewriting of history, will be either brilliant or a complete waste of time. Fortunately for me this one turned out to be the former. What I discovered was an entertaining page-turner that had me hooked from the first word.

I came across Queen Victoria: Demon Hunter while browsing the shelves of my local bookshop and I fell in love with the cover the moment I saw it. The iconic image of Victoria in her mourning dress with the addition of a bloody axe in one hand and a decapitated head in the other is priceless. And if there was ever any doubt that I had to own this book it was banished by the tagline: She loved her country. She hated zombies.

The book follows a young Victoria (despite what the cover image may suggest) from the moment she becomes queen at the tender age of eighteen, through her engagement and marriage to Prince Albert and the birth of their first two children. Moorat has stayed quite close to the actual events in Victoria's life while throwing in zombies, demons and the occasional werewolf.

I sometimes find that in books based on historical fact (however loosely) the characters derived from real people can be flat or wooden. But I was pleased to see that this was not the case here. Victoria is a strong-willed character and Moorat does a good job of giving her a very real personality that a modern audience can relate to. Her love for Albert burns brightly throughout this story and it helps to mould and shape the young queen. I also liked how Victoria takes the revelations of supernatural events in her stride and she adapts quickly to her new role.

Then there is the Protektorate, an elite group of Demon Hunters who defend the realm and the monarchy against demon invasion. For the demons want nothing more than to have one of their own sitting on the throne. The Prime Minister, Lord Melbourne, is among their rank and they are led by the remarkable Maggie Brown who takes the young queen under her wing for training.

One of the great delights in Queen Victoria: Demon Hunter is the double act of Lord Quimby and his faithful manservant Perkins. Quimby delights in all manner of debauchery and when one of his parties doesn't go quite according to plan he is forced to turn Perkins into a zombie to save his life. Their relationship is filled with comedy and a strange camaraderie develops between them.

The action in Queen Victoria: Demon Hunter is smoothly written, with the swordplay and daring chases described in an almost cinematic style. The scenes are paced well and they add to the enjoyment of the book.

Moorat has created an action-packed supernatural romp set against the backdrop of history and I love it.
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on 13 October 2009
I bought this book on the day it came out simply because I liked the cover, started reading it and couldn't put it down - I guess you'd call it a "mash-up" of the zombie / horror and historical genres. It's set in the reign of Queen Victoria and Demons and Zombies are secretly calling the political shots in the upper echelons of Victorian society - who's gonna stop `em - you guessed it, only the Monarch herself? This sounds a bit bonkers but it works brilliantly, Moorat manages to combine extreme tension with laugh out loud humour and completely nails the sense of period without ever sounding stuffy, in fact if anything the humour has many modern resonances. It's peppered throughout with really well drawn characters and the violence and gore are described in blood chilling (or should that be "blood swilling"?) detail - it's terrific. This would make a great movie, I'd be surprised if it wasn't picked up.
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on 30 November 2012
This is not what I was expecting. The title and tagline "She loved her country, she hated zombies" suggest a comedy & although there is humour, it's actually played fairly straight.

The devil's hordes have been insinuating themselves into the royal family to control the country and on accession to the throne (and following a close encounter with a succubus)Queen Victoria learns the truth from Prime Minister Lord Melbourne. She meets The Protectorate who are led by the Brown family including proud warrior Maggie, her trainer John & their clairvoyant son John Jr who is the ghillie who later became famous as her close companion & comfort of her widowhood.
Victoria learns quickly and become an able warrior but she may lack the wisdom she needs. She suspects her mother's Comptroller may be among the devilment, but is this true or based merely on the fact she can't stand him?

The characters are good ones notably warrior Maggie, the depraved Quimby and his undead servant ansd the Queen herself. Moorat has done enough research to make his Victoria seem authentic.

Moorat's monsters are a mix, werewolves & zombies who can still hold conversations and succubi number among them. He doesn't shie away from gore. Battle scenes plus zombie chow down moments leave you in no doubt as to how high his mental budget for entrails is!

The humour comes from a House of Commons awash with zombies and from Quimby. Quimby is turned on by the sight of a dead prostitute's leg that he has generously attached to the stump where his undead factotum lost one. this is a nice nod to the Victorian idea that bare ankles could inflame passions!

A good page turner of a tale, the door left open for more but as yet the only follow up has been Henry the 8th Wolfman which is not linked directly to this.

Not quite as good as Pride and Prejudice & Zombies but a really enjoyable romp all the same. If you enjoy the mish mash novels then you're sure to like this!
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on 24 March 2011
I was really looking forward to reading this but I feel abit let down. I wasn't sure if it was meant to be scary or funny - it didn't really scare me (and there were parts of it that, done differently, would have been horrible) but it did make me laugh - just not enough for me to be sure that that was the intention throughout. I did particularly like the moment when Quimby tells a "photogenic drawing" expert that the French word of "photographie" will never catch on.

With a few exceptions the characters weren't developed brilliantly, and there were parts to the plot that were never explained (or, if they were, I missed them) and seemed inserted just to explain away other parts.

This was first foray in Steampunk - I have another on my TBR and I can only hope it leaves me more satisfied than this!
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on 22 October 2009
I couldn't resist buying this for the title, and thoroughly enjoyed it. Can't give many details or it would spoil the plot, but this is exciting, funny, gruesome and I shall never be able to think of Queen Victoria in the same way again.
She is quite splendid - if I had a hat I would take it off to her!
Now waiting impatiently for the next Moorat book next year . . .
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on 19 October 2009
Heads will roll in the Palace once the source of A. E. Moorat's extraordinary exposé is unmasked. Literally. For now we know the truth, and can gasp in wonder at this hitherto secret aspect of the Monarch's constitutional role. Who would have thought the old bird had it in her?

Funny, gruesome, wildly inventive and hugely entertaining, this is so much more than just a mash-up. I can't wait to see where (and when) the mysterious Mr (Ms?) Moorat goes next.
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on 11 December 2012
I so enjoyed Henry VIII Wolfman by the same author, I immediately bought Queen Victoria Demon Hunter - and it was just as good. A laugh-out-loud funny book which never tries to take itself seriously.

The young Victoria accedes to the British throne in 1837, to learn that her country is on the brink of being over-run by flesh-eating monsters from Hell. Her Prime Minister, Lord Melbourne, is a member of the Protektorate fighting against the threatened demon-invasion, and her beloved fiancee Prince Albert is the last in the blood-line of the demon Baal.

This book should be reviewed purely on what it is - unashamedly low-brow escapism and rattlingly good entertainment. It isn't perfect by any means: many scenes, particularly those involving Lord Quimby, are brilliant - but there are also dull passages and under-developed characters (including that of the eponymous heroine). But if you don't take your horror or your history seriously - or even if you do - you will thoroughly enjoy this intestine-eviscerating romp.
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on 21 June 2010
"She loved her country. She hated zombies" Announces the cover, which also, perhaps rather unfortunately, portrays the iconic image of the widowed Queen, in her mourning dress, but gripping an axe and a severed head.
This story is really about the young Queen, who discovers, on the very night that the Lord Chamberlain and the Archbishop bring her the news of her succession that her life and her throne are threatened by demons when she has to fight for the one even before she has ascended the other, against a succubus, and Maggie Brown, the Protektor of the crown comes to her aid. Meanwhile the wicked Lord Quimby who has been involved in experiments in revenance is about to exploit the new invention of photogenic drawing to record an exciting evening with "three of London's most debased and degenerate women." His plans are spoiled by an eruption of zombies ... and everything gets rather complicated.
Fun, though.
There are dreadful revelations about the royal family and most of the ruling families of Europe, scenes of low life, scenes in Bedlam, the strange and possibly touching relationship which develops between Lord Quimby and his newly zombified manservant, Perkins (or perhaps it is with Perkins' leg and foot, with its varnished toe nails previously the property of the unfortunate Sugar, who no longer has any use for it...), and shocking carnage as zombie MPs succumb to their hunger for human flesh..
Oh, and Queen Victoria's somewhat disappointing look-alike...
It's a romp. With werewolves. And zombies.
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on 3 January 2010
I was expecting a mix of Brian Keene & Phillipa Gregory; instead, this was more like Army of Darkness meets The Mighty Boosh...a very entertaining fantasy-adventure, but not quite horror.

The main story is about Queeen Victoria fighting the evil clan of Baal, with the help of the Royal Protektor, Maggie Brown. Most of England is completely ignorant of the demonic dangers, so the Royal battles are suppose to be kept secret.

I found myself more interested in the adventures of Lord Quimby and his zombie-manservant, Perkins. "Drag, drag, drag." Every scene with those two made me laugh out loud -- I wish they had their own novel. I will think of Perkin's leg replacement every time I see red nail polish, from now on. The high-speed carriage chase with werewolves in wigs seemed boring compared to the House of Commons being over-run by zombies.

I didn't think much of the ending with Conroy; after the way he tortured others, I wish he suffered more. I also didn't like the way things were left open with the Dutchess, after we find out her lineage, considering her relationship with Conroy. BUT, I still thought the novel was amazing. This is such an unusual work of fiction that I recommend it to anyone looking for a different twist on zombies and/or demons.

Two books that came to mind while reading this were Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and Zombie Jim.
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on 23 May 2010
This book is not a great work of English literature. You're probably not going to be rushing out to write a thesis on it.

However, it is entertaining and it will keep you turning the page. Personally I found Victoria's character refreshing. If you are looking for serious horror - either macabre or gore, you're not going to find it here. Equally if you're a history scholar who can't detach themselves from the facts, you'll probably be flinging this book away after a few pages.

This book needs to be taken in the light hearted, fun manner that it's title suggests at. A wonderful read in the sun, or to dip into at bed time. And perhaps if you knew nothing of Queen Victoria before, it'll stoke some deep down interest in British history (or maybe Demon hunting!)
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