Gail Carriger: Heartless (Parasol Protectorate #4)

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.

10 books I’m looking forward to in 2011

Each year brings new and exciting books to dive headfirst into. I love it when you hear about a book and you just can’t wait to get your grubby little fingers on it and just read, read, read. (Although, truth be told, if I’m ever to get my to-read list down to a manageable number, there should be published no new books for the next … 9 years would do it, I think – provided I read 100 books a year…)

Anyway – here are 10 of the books I’m looking forward to this year:

  1. Haruki Murakami: 1Q84 (this is without a doubt my most anticipated book of the year!)
  2. Gail Carriger: Heartless (the fourth book in the Parasol Protectorate series – lovely fluffy steampunk.)
  3. Lev Grossman: The Magician King (I liked The Magicians with it’s Harry Potter meets Narnia feel and with it still being so much more than just a rip-off of these two classics so I’m looking forward to how he will continue the story. It didn’t have the feel of a first book in a series to me so I don’t have any loose ends I would like to see him tighten so this can go in any direction he sees fit but I think it will be a nice read.)
  4. Jasper Fforde: One of Our Thursdays is Missing (I’ve only read the first Thursday Next novel but loved it so I’m looking forward to any in the series – hopefully I will get a lot of these read this year – but I prefer having read the classics he is using in the books before reading them so I think I have some Dickens and more ahead of me first.)
  5. Joyce Carol Oates: A Widow’s Story: A Memoir (I love Joyce Carol Oates so for that reason alone this is interesting. JCO tells about how she became a widow – and I lost my father late last year, leaving my mother a widow as well, so that’s the second reason this book is high on my list.)
  6. Carol Wallace: Leaving Van Gogh (I love Van Gogh – he is one of my favourite painters. This is the story of his death – told by his personal physician.)
  7. Benjamin Hale: The Evolution of Bruno Littlemore (A chimp who can articulate deep thoughts on art and philosophy and who falls in love with a human… What’s not to love? Definitely looking forward to this one!)
  8. Patrick Rothfuss: The Wise Man’s Fear (The second book in the Kingkiller Chronicle – and although I haven’t read the first book or anything at all by Patrick Rothfuss, both these books sounds great!)
  9. Adrian Tchaikovsky: The Sea Watch (Shadow of the Apt #6 – another series I haven’t read anything of but I own the first three and besides the coolest covers, these books sounds like they could have some depth in them and not just be fluffy fantasy.)
  10. Jean M. Auel: The Land of Painted Caves (I loved The Clan of the Cave Bear, liked the next two in the Earth’s Children series – but the fourth one was so boring. Having gotten up the courage to read the fifth installment yet but now the series is finally coming to an end so hopefully I will read both vol. 5 and 6 this year.)

(Note: Not all the books on my list have covers yet.)