Tuesday, February 17, 2015

"Timeless (Parasol Protectorate #5)" by Gail Carriger

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

This series has a lot of interesting subject matter going on- often in steampunk (and urban fantasy) the characters are either: single, in a relationship (usually monogamous), and in both cases they have relatively little responsibility (and absolutely no children that would play a part in the book's plot). Timeless proceeds in an entirely different direction by including Prudence, Alexia and Maccon's daughter, who also happens to be a problem child due to her bloodline. Although Prudence is technically Lord Akeldama's daughter via adoption, Alexia couldn't give up her rights entirely, and ended up living in one of Akeldama's closets, along with Maccon, to remain Prudence's mother. This arrangement comes to an abrupt pause when Prudence is summoned to meet Queen Matakara, who presides over a hive in Alexandria, Egypt. All of this is anathema to the usual adult paranormal book practices: where only the main character is exceedingly special.

The Plot: (As Seen on Goodreads)
'Alexia Tarabotti, Lady Maccon, has settled into domestic bliss. Of course, being Alexia, such bliss involves integrating werewolves into London High society, living in a vampire's second best closet, and coping with a precocious toddler who is prone to turning supernatural willy-nilly. Even Ivy Tunstell's acting troupe's latest play, disastrous to say the least, cannot put a dampener on Alexia's enjoyment of her new London lifestyle.
'Until, that is, she receives a summons from Alexandria that cannot be ignored. With husband, child and Tunstells in tow, Alexia boards a steamer to cross the Mediterranean. But Egypt may hold more mysteries than even the indomitable Lady Maccon can handle. What does the vampire Queen of the Alexandria Hive really want from her? Why is the God-Breaker Plague suddenly expanding? And how has Ivy Tunstell suddenly become the most popular actress in all the British Empire?'

As much as this series focuses on Alexia and Maccon, we get to know Ivy a little better in this book due to her traveling with them to Egypt. Ivy, known mostly for her obscure taste in hats, has children of her own to think of now, but doesn't back down from any adventure, especially one where her patroness requests her presence. She has changed little from the girl we first met in Soulless, but with her new responsibilities, will she be able to keep up with Alexia's scheming?

Some of the plot was easy to figure out, but I was nonetheless kept guessing as to how this book would end. Would there be any sudden character departures? What was up with Alexia's father? All those and more were answered, but not so summarily as to discourage spin-off series: the lastest, which features a grown up Prudence, is expected to be published March 17th, 2015.

A slightly cryptic spoiler that made me smile wider while reading this (Highlight to view):
As any good mystery fan knows, the butler did it.

Timeless is the ending I expected of this series, but was excellent all the same. There is something to be said of a series that keeps me reaching for the next book with a grin on my face, even if it doesn't breach the 4.5 Stars club. The Parasol Protectorate was a great way to start out my new year's reading, and I don't regret a moment of time I spent amongst the characters that populated its world.

Rating: 4 of 5 Stars for a most excellent ending for the Parasol Protectorate series!

Content: Ages 18+ for the usual Parasol Protectorate shenanigans.

Page Count: 341 pages

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