Summer mini review: Heartless by Gail Carriger (The Parasol Protectorate series 04)

Book info:

  • Mass Market Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Orbit; Original edition (June 28, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316127191
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316127196
  • Genre: paranormal fiction, romance, steampunk, 
  • Target audience: adults and not only…
Alexia lady Maccon, nee Tarabotti, might be in her last months of  pregnancy but never indolent, inactive or bored. With a werewolf Alfa male for a husband and a single vampire extraordinaire for a best friend you can practically never have one  minute of peace. As if anybody would want one. 

An unknown ghost with short concentration span has just informed Alexia that somebody is plotting a regicide and certain vampires are still hell-bent on killing her unborn infant-inconvenience. To protect her unborn child she is going to do something unthinkable – let it be adopted even before it is born. And the happy foster parent will be… well, guess. 🙂

One problem solved; now Alexia, still employed by Queen Victoria as a mujah, must do her utmost to prevent any regicide, especially that most likely a supernatural being is involved – more precisely a werewolf. The uncomfortable investigation will make her discover a lot about her husband’s and her late father’s past, always a dangerous thing when there are so many secrets to unveil…and so many sensitive toes to tread on. Prepare yourself for plenty of tea, treacle tart and some murderous teapots as well.

What I liked:
I don’t try to conceal the fact that I am Gail Carriger’s fan. Why I like her novels so much? Of course I might tell you that this book, like the previous ones, had very good plot with interesting twists and turns, a well-paced  narration which flows nicely, a strong, likeable heroine, a bevy of great secondary characters and so on. It would be all true but it wouldn’t make the whole series unique. So, what makes The Parasol Protectorate books really great and distinctly different from many other paranormal series? I tried to pinpoint some of the features in the list below:
  • The heroine is married and pregnant for the second book and still there is some well-balanced romance between her and her werewolf husband – go figure ;). No love triangle, no teenage angst, no third party involved.
  • The series is undoubtedly steampunk but without getting very violent or bloody or deadly serious. I would call it steampunk entertainment because it does entertain.
  • As I’ve already mentioned entertainment…the paranormal aspect is seasoned with a healthy dose of humour, that’s why even vampires, ghosts and werewolves are palatable.
  • Generally Ms. Carriger’s sense of humour appeals to me (which means I grin or even laugh like mad while reading her books)…forgive me if I repeat myself.
  • Comestibles like tea, treacle tart, sponge cakes and finger sandwiches make the book so incredibly appetizing to read that I get instantly hungry. Normally I am a poor eater so it is an advantage, no?
  • Secondary characters from previous parts are never forgotten; what’s more, they are also  given a chance to develop and become more and more three-dimensional with every part (I think here mainly but not only about Lord Akeldama, Madame Lefoux, Professor Lyall, Floote  and of course Alessandro Tarabotti, the long-deceased father of our dear Alexia; I can never get enough of him).
  • Finally Victorian London and its society is really nicely rendered here.
Quite a list, isn’t it? Would you wish for anything more? Well, perhaps you would but it would be also rather foolish…;)
What I didn’t like:
I do admit that Madame Lefoux disappointed me a bit in this part with her mad scheme (a sensible woman and a scientist should have known better than resort to brute force even in very dramatic circumstances) and zombie porcupines never seemed half as funny as mechanical ladybirds, presented in part three but perhaps it’s only the old grumpy me.
Final verdict:
A lovely series with great steampunk accents which gets better and better. Definitely worth discovering and reading. What else could I say…I am looking forward to the next part – I’ve already pre-ordered it!

Steampunk Clockwork Spider Brass and Copper Wi...A mechanical spider via Wikipedia – I want one!

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12 Responses to Summer mini review: Heartless by Gail Carriger (The Parasol Protectorate series 04)

  1. Blodeuedd says:

    Already preordered! 😀 Lol, I sadly have not but I will get there in time.Awww such a fun series, I love her wit

  2. anachronist says:

    Yes, I preordered because it will be released pretty soon, April 2012 or something. This series is on my very short, very exclusive, automatic preorder list. It also seems a series we both like very much – wonder of wonders 😉

  3. First that spider is too creepy, but interesting… And second, I'm so glad the book rocks. Too bad the covers just aren't as good as the first.

  4. anachronist says:

    The covers…I didn't like even the first ones. Well, that's quite another topic. That spider is cute!

  5. This is a series I have not started yet. I would love to get to it one day here, but well… time is an enemy. Thanks for the great review here. 🙂 And soooo glad you are loving this series.

  6. anachronist says:

    Melissa, thanks – I am indeed loving it and I do relate when it comes to time…

  7. I'm so with you! I was definitely disappointed with Madame Lafoux. What on earth was she thinking!? Plus, Felicity's scheming made me angry although I wasn't the least surprised. Plus, I thought Alexia too kind…she should have let the "queen" get doused by the octomaton. But on happier notes, I was glad for the romance parts of Conall and Alexia. They were so good and helped the feel of the whole storyline. Jen

  8. anachronist says:

    Yeah, letting Woolsey go just like that, without any payment or compensation was a strangely generous move…and I couldn't help laughing reading about Felicity's efforts to find a husband. I do hope she tries to seduce Major Channing *nasty laugh*.

  9. Rowenna says:

    I've heard good things about this series–thanks for this review confirming that!

  10. anachronist says:

    My pleasure, Rowenna, thanks for a visit! The series does feature corseted women and plenty of attention is paid to different hats!

  11. Ooooo, I'm having thoughts about her attempting to seduce Channing. Is it evil of me to hope that he drops her like a hot potato. I really think she deserves to be trussed up in the stocks or something. She is a very bad BAD sister. I felt bad for Connall when Woolsey went. He really liked that place and he doesn't seem like the crying type so when he got all teary eyed, I felt so bad for him. I'd like to pet him…to make him fell better. :DJenIn the Closet With a Bibliophile

  12. anachronist says:

    Jen I know, these werewolves are simply cuddly ;). Well, not all of them of course. I suppose major Channing, taking into account his proclivities, would teach Felicity a thing or two and it would improve her nasty character. I was surprised Alexia didn't show her door as soon as that little pert arrived at her place but then there wouldn't be so much fun!

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