The latest instalment of the Gail Carriger’s Parasol Protectorate series proves that some things can get even better with time.
Alexia Maccon (nee Tarrabotti) has got herself into trouble again. Aside from the ‘infant inconvenience’ that has led to everyone trying to kill her—featuring, this time around, zombie, semi-mechanised porcupines—she has to solve a plot to assassinate the Queen. All while waddling about, moving, investigating her husband’s past, fussing over members of the pack and having tea.
This latest instalment of the Gail Carriger’s Parasol Protectorate series proves that some things can get even better with time. This book was just as witty and compelling as the others—I read it at every possible moment—and even more creative. (The porcupines were totally original.) Alexia, despite being preggers and totally dependent on her parasol, hunky werewolves and her unflappable butler to prop her up, still manages to save the day and pop out a baby besides. (Yes, the progeny makes its appearance in this one, which is not a spoiler since you can tell that from the size of her in chapter one.)
Connal, Lord Maccon, is still the smitten werewolf, but he gets to play a bigger part in this book, what with managing his pack. (In the last book he was a mostly absent ass.) His gruff but affectionate nature has ensured that I kind of have a soft spot for him, especially since his wife is doing such a good job of training him. Lord Akeldama, Alexia’s gay BFF has a bigger role in this books as well, and he invents even more affectionate nicknames for her. We also get further glimpses into his character, and we get to see more than his all-knowing, fashion-loving self.
This book fleshes out other secondary characters. We get to learn more about vampire hives, pack politics and how an alpha becomes an alpha. There’s also a whole bunch of dirigibles and we even get to find out Biffy’s real name.
Which brings me to this important point: I love this book, and this series, but you really can’t start from here. It can, if you must, stand alone. The central plot point is explained in such a way that it finishes in this book, but all the secondary threads, including the one involving the baby that has been stretched for the last few books, don’t end or start here. It will leave you wondering, and the continuity is better if you begin from the start.
Was there anything I didn’t like about it? Well, I kind of figured out a major plot point from just a little after the beginning. I also still really dislike Alexia’s sisters. Also, I don’t really get why it’s called Heartless. I don’t think it fits with the theme of the book—I think they just wanted something that ended with ‘-less’. Other than that, I have to say I liked it better than the last one.
Yay or Nay?
YAAAAY! I’m so glad there is more of this series and I look forward to the next one. (In May, 2012!) Highly recommended for people who are kinda over paranormals and want something different. Yes, this still has vampires and werewolves, but it’s steampunk. And Victorian London. And so incredibly witty it will make you laugh out loud. Also, there’s a lot of tea.
Title: Heartless (excerpt)
Series: Parasol Protectorate (Book 4)
Author: Gail Carriger
B format: 9780356500096 (7/2011)
A format: 9780316127196 (28/6/2011)
Ebook: 9780748122677 (7/7/2011)
Books in the Parasol Protectorate series