“Every girl’s meant to fantasize about being Alice.
But I think it’s mainly guys that get all hot about rabbit holes.”
God Save the Queen is an adult tale full of visceral imagery and harsh realities that merge the aesthetic of British Punk with the magical but equally fearful nature of the cautionary tale / fairy story. Those two things on the surface would seem to have nothing in common but Carey makes it work.
You’ll meet characters from other well-known Vertigo titles, namely The Sandman, The Dreaming, and The Books of Magic, but the book exists on the fringes of all three titles so you don’t need to have read any of them prior to reading this.
The story revolves around Linda, a bored, alienated, self-absorbed and self-destructive young adult. If trouble doesn't find her, she’ll actively seek out and embrace it. The rebellion of the individual against society and family is concurrent with the catastrophic repercussions that follow when Titania, the Queen of Faerie, receives an unwelcome visitor to her realm.
It’s a joy to see Carey get to write some strong female protagonists because he’s so very good at it. On the flip side, the depth of many of the lesser characters is sacrificed due to the short page count.
It feels directionless for a time but pay attention to the small things because the strands weave beautifully as it gets nearer the ending.
The book once more teams Carey with artist John Bolton. Bolton’s art is a good fit for the dark themes on display. His panelling is traditional but he’ll occasionally break out with a full page piece that teems with life; it’s clear he enjoys the freedom that brings. His history of horror illustration brings an elegant darkness to the visuals which highlight the grimy and terrible nature of the environments, and the people.
3½ Midsummer ‘Red Horse’ Nightmares out of 5