Saturday, February 7, 2015

"Heartless (Parasol Protectorate #4)" by Gail Carriger

This review features a book that is the fourth in the Parasol Protectorate series, and has (inevitable) spoilers for those who have not read the first three books in the series. My review of the first book can be found here.

After their reunion in Blameless, you would expect everything would go smoothly for Alexia and Conall when they arrived back in England. Not so- it appears Alexia's pregnancy continues to make her a target, and something simply must be done about it. Beyond that, Alexia's sister appears to have had a rapid turn around personality-wise: she is now the alter ego of herself with her choice of shawls and company. What does this all add up to? Another excellent Parasol Protectorate series addition.

The Plot: (As Seen on Goodreads)
'Lady Alexia Maccon, soulless, is at it again, only this time the trouble is not her fault. When a mad ghost threatens the queen, Alexia is on the case, following a trail that leads her deep into her husband's past. Top that off with a sister who has joined the suffragette movement (shocking!), Madame Lefoux's latest mechanical invention, and a plague of zombie porcupines and Alexia barely has time to remember she happens to be eight months pregnant.
'Will Alexia manage to determine who is trying to kill Queen Victoria before it is too late? Is it the vampires again or is there a traitor lurking about in wolf's clothing? And what, exactly, has taken up residence in Lord Akeldama's second best closet?'

It isn't very often that you have a very pregnant heroine star in an action/adventure themed steampunk novel, but Alexia manages to pull the role off, with a minimum amount of embarrassment. Given her state, her husband tries to limit her stress and stymie her adventures, but his success is limited. Alexia simply won't have her 'infant-inconvenience' inconvenience her.

A quote that well-describes Alexia's predicament:

"Months of training had seen the entire werewolf household running attendance on an increasingly grumpy Alexia and learning, to a man, that if food was not provided promptly, fur might fly, or worse, Lady Maccon would start to weep. As a result, several of the pack now crinkled as they moved, having desperately stashed snacks all about their personage."

The overall plotline of this book is not hard to guess, but it didn't interfere with my enjoyment of it. Alexia and the gang are more than entertaining, as usual, and their antics are more than enough to spur the reader on despite the obviousness of the plot itself. I would advise anyone who doesn't like the characters from the first book to not read the series- I think the best part of my enjoyment of the Parasol Protectorate relies heavily on the characters.

Heartless is not completely without heart. Though there are tough decisions for Alexia and Conall to make and even tougher compromises, they must work together to ensure the queen is saved. This book was more than a tad predictable, but was saved by its fantastic characterization and humor. I encourage anyone who has enjoyed the first three books in the series to continue their adventures with Heartless.

Rating: 4 of 5 Stars for a fun fourth book to the Parasol Protectorate series!

Content: Ages 18+ for the 'expected' themes of the Parasol Protectorate.

Page Count: 374 pages

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