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That Inevitable Victorian Thing

3.22  ·  Rating details ·  3,952 ratings  ·  1,068 reviews
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 cha
Hardcover, 330 pages
Published October 3rd 2017 by Dutton Books for Young Readers
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E.K. Johnston
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E.K. Johnston The illustration was done by Elizabeth Traynor. The design was Elaine Damasco and Theresa Evangelista.

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Average rating 3.22  · 
Rating details
 ·  3,952 ratings  ·  1,068 reviews

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Elle (ellexamines)
In summary: it's a book about a world in which colonialism ended before its true impact could set in, a world in which brown people and disabled people and queer people don't have to fight for our very right to breathe. And yes, it definitely would never have happened, but it was fucking awesome to think about the world if it had - to wish for a world without the legacy of decades of systematic oppression and scientific racism. This book has a fundamental sense of hope to it, a fundamental wish ...more
Jul 23, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: ya, starred-2017, 3, 2017
I guess I respect the author's desire to show a world where no inequality of any kind exists, but execution of this premise is so... limp in every respect.

In this alternative (or, more correctly, utopian) vaguely defined British Empire all traces of racism, sexism, homophobia, classism, etc. are completely gone and everybody lives in a state of mutual respect and harmony. This approach also spills into interpersonal relationships, where it means that nobody feels jealousy, and the concept of fid
Oct 07, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Readers who love beautiful world-settings
2 stars. Ouch, what a letdown! This book had so much going for it, but delivered so little. The fascinating world and the great representation just didn’t weigh up against the lack of plot and the weak characters. *sad trombone sound*

This is my third book by author E.K. Johnston, and in a way this novel is similar to the ones I read before: “The Thousand Nights” duology. Those novels neither have a exciting plot or a fast pace, but are great to read because the author brings such enchanting wor
Jan 29, 2018 rated it did not like it
DNF at 40% because I have no patience left and this is bothering me so much. Also, I made a goal for this year to DNF books that are not working for me. So, here we are.

That Inevitable Victorian Thing is a book whose premise is basically "what if colonialism didn't bring everywhere racism, homophobia and other similar problems", and it's not an easy concept to explore at all. If not an inherently flawed concept, but I had heard good things from other reviewers and was curious, so I gave it a cha
Katherine Locke
Jan 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I suspect this book will get a rabid cult following, and I am 100% here for it. This book deserves such a following. Bring me the fanart and the fanfic. Inevitable Fandom for the win.

I've always loved Johnston's books. There's something alluring, quirky and inviting about her prose that I don't often see in other books that are lyrical and literary. It's like having a conversation with your best friend from the corner of the room and you're watching and commenting and admiring snickering about
Brooke — brooklynnnnereads
Sep 28, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: arcs
I have so many thoughts and feelings regarding this book yet at the same time, I'm unable to wrap my brain around everything. Here's hoping that some semblance of this review makes sense.

First off, I have to mention my love of the settings within this novel. Rarely do I ever get to read a book where I have visited or have knowledge regarding the setting. With this novel, the majority of the story is placed in locations that I regularly visit! I now understand how much more that adds to the read
Joshee Kun (조수아)
Dear Penguin Random House, thank you so much for giving me pre-approved access to this book on Edelweiss! The cover alone is making me hyperventilate! <3 Gonna start this ASAP!
Oct 20, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: stars-4-0, r2017

Johnston puts together something quite intriguing, an alternate world where colonisation didn’t take the same form and resulted in a place where multi-ethnicity is valued, not curbed. The mixture of old fashioned traditions from the Victorian time, such as entering society through debutante balls, with modern technology (DNA matching) was unusual but compelling.

The plot focuses on three main characters discovering who they are, their sexuality, place and role in this society, but also on h
Suanne Laqueur
One. Million. Stars. Fan-fucking-tastic. In fact it kicked The Essex Serpent out of the #2 spot for best reads of 2017. Holy SHIT!!!
Jan 31, 2017 rated it did not like it
Original review: What a title. I'm in for that alone.

After reading 100 pages: ...Too bad the title was the best part. *sigh*

I was SO excited for this book, and it disappointed me SO much. From the totally uncritical acceptance of British imperialism as an integral part of this utopian alternate future to the lack of any compelling conflict to a confusing mishmash of characters in a third person omniscient narration to the fact that the book takes place in futuristic Canada in a world with an alt
I'm a little torn on this one, honestly! I thought it was a bit slow for my tastes, mostly at the beginning, and I would have appreciated a bit more wallowing in emotions, but I also understand this is a book designed in part to ape Victorian conventions and mores, so perhaps I was never going to get the version of this book that would have pleased me best.

And what a strange little book it was!

This is an alternate history/speculative take on quite a complicated scenario. Basically, what if Quee
Ashley DiNorcia
May 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction-fiction
Really interesting world building in this book. I like the futuristic Victorian feel of it. Made for an interesting blend of old and new customs. There was a huge amount of diversity in this book, both in race, gender and sexuality which also made the Victorian aspect of it more interesting.

My only complaint was really the pacing. It started out kinda slow, and then once it picked up it kinda just..ended. The resolution at the end happened so fast I went to turn the page to read more and
Jane (It'sJaneLindsey)
The only thing I enjoyed about this book was the representation.
Danielle (Life of a Literary Nerd)
I DNF'd this at the 43% mark.

I wanted to like this book - it's so pretty and the premise sounded really cool. But this is just is one of those situations where the book just isn't for me. Victorian London is my least favorite time period for historical books, but I wanted to give this one a try because I've liked E.K. Johnston's previous books and thought the premise of an alternate Victorian  setting would hook me enough to get me into the time period. But I was just so bored and didn't really
Sep 13, 2017 rated it it was ok
First to Read sent me an advance copy of this book (thank you) to review, and so even though I wasn't familiar with the author, I decided to read it. In my line of work as a teacher, it never hurts to read more YA, and the cover is gorgeous, so I was tempted.

There were some good parts to this book, notably the twisty part (both the twist and the inclusion of a character like this) around Helena's chip. I also realized, reading the book, how little Canadian fiction US readers read, mostly as a r
Abigayle Claire
May 08, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: dnf, mine, club
I'm so disappointed!!! Great concept and interesting society. But the content went south at the end of chapter 11 when (view spoiler) Really bummed that it went LGBTQetc ...more
Oct 15, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017
Aw, what a lovely little story, full of twists and turns and challenges and lovely solutions.
3.5 stars

This is a sweet romance set in a Canada that grew from an alternative history where Queen Victoria took the British Empire in a very different direction. While the new version of history doesn't completely erase all the problems of a colonialist past, it does attempt to unravel some of those threads and provide a better alternative path forward.

The first half of the book is fairly slow, setting the stage with a lot of social gatherings and that sort of thing. The latter half of the boo
Oct 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
In a near-future world with a very different history to ours the crown princess of the British Empire spends some time in Canada incognito.

In this world Queen Victoria directed her children to "marry the empire" rather than marry into European noble houses. This has made multiculturalism and diversity emblematic features of the British Empire and enabled it to survive to become the preeminent power of the modern world. Crown Princess Victoria-Margaret, posing as Margaret Sandwich has Zulu and Ch
I received early access to this via Penguin Random House's First to Read program.


While E.K. Johnston's writing commanded my attention in the first paragraph, it quickly faltered. I found it easy to get lost in some points and the narrative trudged on slowly. Not only that, but I was more interested in learning more about the world and it's alternate history (and I found the concept of Victorian culture in a modern tech setting to be interesting in itself) than the actual characters. They felt
dnf ~20%

This sounded like it would be 100% My Kind Of Thing??? but I just ended up really bored??? I'm really not a fan of the writing style and the characters are solidly meh.

If you're looking for f/f and intersex rep (and I believe demisexual rep too?), though, you should probably still give this a try! I didn't hate this or anything, but I'm too bored and busy at the moment and I feel like if I force myself through this I'll just end up back in a reading slump. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Oct 04, 2017 rated it it was ok
I DNF'd this at about 40%. Did this book have an editor at all? It felt very underdeveloped, like it was published far too early in the writing process.

I impulse ordered this despite the truly awful title because the setup sounded so interesting. However, this book suffered from infodump after infodump, stilted language, and mini-conversations that didn't build characterization but muddied it.

You know when some authors talk about how, for a 200 page book, they wrote 600 pages and cut the rest as
Rep: bi intersex mc, biracial (Black, white) wlw mc, Chinese Canadian mc


* the whole premise seems to be oh what if queen victoria married her kids across the empire and thus the empire became Good like, british colonialism did not start with victoria and it was a comfortably embedded mindset by the time it was at its height no?

* stop changing pov in the middle of a damn scene!!

* i only cared about helena and august i didn't care about the f/f or the polyamory (sad)

* helena basically cheats
So sorry, but I'm marking this one as a DNF at page 102..Couldn't get into the story, if there was one, I'm not so sure. The alternate world it was set in was beautiful. Naturally, in a city I know well..Toronto. I loved the mentions of places I frequent and, even the Maple Leafs losing lol.. I just couldn't understand why there were different POVs, and their stories and thoughts were too bland. ...more
Nov 06, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audible
2.5 stars. I feel like I should have loved this book but it just really didn’t work for me.
Nov 22, 2018 rated it liked it
This was not very memorable. For a book I just finished I can’t remember most of the plot or even remember the characters names...
Nicole N. (A Myriad of Books)
I really want to rate this book higher, but I can’t. Initially, I enjoyed it but soon, the plot became stagnant and the ending just threw me for a loop. Not that I didn’t like it. It was…interesting, to say the least, but I can only foresee a handful of problems with it.

I think I have a love/hate relationship with Johnston’s books. I loved Exit, Pursued by a Bear, so I went into A Thousand Nights thinking I would love it, too. Well, I didn’t. So I also went into this book thinking I would love.
Edit: it’s now the morning after I wrote this (I wrote it at like 2am and was very angry) but after thinking deeper I think I had such a problem with the writing because the perspectives were so confusing. When you had the two main characters to switch back and forth from in the beginning, it made sense. But it started getting muddled because the author would switch perspectives in the middle of the chapter (like just one whole paragraph in one person’s) and I just got lost. I understand that th ...more
Mar 08, 2020 rated it did not like it
Shelves: overdrive, owned
“If you have questions about this world, that’s a good thing.”

This quote is from the author’s note at the end of the book and I frankly disagree. That Inevitable Victorian Thing has roughly 330 pages and therefore is not too long by any means. Extending this book by 100, 300 or 600 pages would have allowed to include proper world building to avoid having the reader completely confused. At least that’s the way that I felt throughout the whole book and I just left me annoyed.
The story is set in a
Apr 17, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: didnt-finish
This is a book with a fascinating alternate history and setting, and absolutely no story to go with it.

The idea is that the Victorian era led to Queen Victoria opening up to the possibility of her heirs marrying nobility with a different skin shade, and opening up to the possibility of a female heir. This combination made the world less racist and more egalitarian, while keeping all the trimmings of Victorian culture. Therefore, the new crown princess is of mixed race, but she still has to go th
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E.K. Johnston had several jobs and one vocation before she became a published writer. If she’s learned anything, it’s that things turn out weird sometimes, and there’s not a lot you can do about it. Well, that and how to muscle through awkward fanfic because it’s about a pairing she likes.

You can follow Kate on Twitter (@ek_johnston) to learn more about Alderaanian political theory than you really

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