Set in a near-future world where the British Empire was preserved, not by the cost of blood and theft but by effort of repatriation and promises kept, That Inevitable Victorian Thing is a novel of love, duty, and the small moments that can change people and the world.
Victoria-Margaret is the crown princess of the empire, a direct descendant of Victoria I, the queen who changed the course of history two centuries earlier. The imperial practice of genetically arranged matchmaking will soon guide Margaret into a politically advantageous marriage like her mother before her, but before she does her duty, she’ll have one summer incognito in a far corner of empire. In Toronto, she meets Helena Marcus, daughter of one of the empire’s greatest placement geneticists, and August Callaghan, the heir apparent to a powerful shipping firm currently besieged by American pirates. In a summer of high-society debutante balls, politically charged tea parties, and romantic country dances, Margaret, Helena, and August discover they share an unusual bond and maybe a one in a million chance to have what they want and to change the world in the process —just like the first Queen Victoria.
This book was really weird.
The premise is (to me) instantly gripping: a sort of combination of science fiction and historical fiction in a world dominated by monarchies and teenagers getting married, but also the existence of advanced genetic technology to ensure the most compatible matches. I loved the idea of Princess Margaret having a fun summer of parties and social events, of children logging their DNA onto a Computer and sort of online dating.
Unfortunately, I feel like there was so much wasted potential. This world could have been incredible, but I feel like there was just not enough time devoted to the world building and instead it was just…weird. I didn’t understand how closely regulated genetics really were, and if or why or how a person’s genetic material was used, and if it was mandatory or voluntary? There was a discussion I liked on how the Computer that matches people is really God, but it was only like one page and I feel like this idea fully developed could have been so great. I didn’t really understand how the princess could just go out in disguise just to have fun with no protection and nobody recognizing her or anything, and what was even the point in that and how it made sense in the context of the world. I don’t really understand how politics worked, or if the princess was really important or just more like a figurehead? In a word, I was confused.
One part of the world I really did like though was imagining a world where people were never discriminated against on the basis of ethnicity, sexuality, disabilities, etc. This book had incredible diversity! I can’t say that there was one character that was so and so ethnicity because they were all just ambiguous. There was also incredible lgbtq+ rep! There is an intersex character, a f/f relationship, and a poly amorous relationship.
One other problem I had with this book though was that it was really boring. At least, I found it to be really boring. The writing style sort of mimics classical authors and reminded me of a Jane Austen novel, and I personally get so bored by that writing style that I was really not having this book, but if you like that style, then you might really enjoy this one! Also, for about the first one third of this book nothing interesting really happens and it was kind of a snoozefest.
Finally, the romance annoyed me. I was really excited for the romance since it has such fantastic lgbtq+ rep, but to me it really felt like an annoying instalove, and I was really not feeling it. Also, I feel like the ending was resolved way too quickly.
What I did like, though, was the characters on their own! The book is mostly told through the alternating perspectives of Margaret, August, and Helena, and I feel like they had quite a bit of development over the course of the story. They discovered themselves and became more comfortable being who they were, and I loved watching them grow!
2 thoughts on “That Inevitable Victorian Thing Review || A Disappointing Execution of an Exciting Concept”
The premise of this sounds super interesting! I’ll have to check it out and see if I fancy reading it even if it is a bit of a snooze fest 😀 Thank you for sharing your thoughts! x