Gail Carriger: Heartless (Parasol Protectorate #4), Orbit 2011.
So Alexia, Lady Maccon, is back in the fourth volume of the Parasol Protectorate – one of the books I was eagerly awaiting this year since I enjoyed the first three, especially the first two. These books are steampunkish books with vampires and werewolves co-existing in a parallel version of London and England as a whole. So what’s new in this series?
Well, much is the same as it always was. Lady Maccon is just as direct as always, Lord Maccon is still blundering into everything, never knocking. Lord Akeldama is as well dressed as always. The vampires and the werewolves are still not always exactly getting along. Ivy still wears silly hats.
But – one huge change is that Lady Maccon is pregnant, very pregnant, hugely pregnant. So everyone around her tries to make her satisfied and tries to take care of her – which is rather difficult since Lady Maccon is contacted by a ghost who tells her about a plot, intending to kill the Queen. Of course, Lady Maccon immediately goes on the hunt for the ghost, investigates earlier attempts on the Queen’s life, especially by her husband’s earlier pack. In this search, she uncovers rather unpleasant truths that she will have to live with.
But Lady Maccon equipped with the infant inconvenience, as she calls her baby, is not quite as sharp and capable as she usually is so she’s missing some important things and clues along the way – and so are the reader.
When things are finally concluded, much has changed – not only because of the birth of the baby who was expected with fear and trepidation because no one knew what the child of a soulless and a werewolf would turn out to be but also because Lady Maccon makes a somewhat hasty decision.
I was a bit disappointed in the start of this book but when it started to pick up pace, I really enjoyed it. The only issue I really had is that Gail Carriger, like Robert Jordan, tends to repeat herself when describing her characters. Over and over, Lord Maccon barges in without knocking, Lord Akeldama’s colorful clothes are described again and again, Lady Maccon still makes fun of her friend’s hats and so on and on. At least she does it with more variation than Jordan so it’s not a major thing, just a little sigh.
One thing I really liked was some of the smaller stories – especially Biffy’s story. His story, him being forced to be a werewolf when he really wished to be a vampire.
So what’s left to say is just that if you enjoyed the first three, you’ll enjoy this one as well. If you haven’t read the first three, start with them.