Book #3 of the Parasol Protectorate series
– WARNING!!! —
THIS POST CONTAINS SPOILERS FOR SOULLESS (#1) AND CHANGELESS (#2)!
Quitting her husband’s house and moving back in with her horrible family, Lady Maccon becomes the scandal of the London season.
Queen Victoria dismisses her from the Shadow Council, and the only person who can explain anything, Lord Akeldama, unexpectedly leaves town. To top it all off, Alexia is attacked by homicidal mechanical ladybugs, indicating, as only ladybugs can, the fact that all of London’s vampires are now very much interested in seeing Alexia quite thoroughly dead.
While Lord Maccon elects to get progressively more inebriated and Professor Lyall desperately tries to hold the Woolsey werewolf pack together, Alexia flees England for Italy in search of the mysterious Templars. Only they know enough about the preternatural to explain her increasingly inconvenient condition, but they may be worse than the vampires — and they’re armed with pesto.
You can read an excerpt here.
This series continues to be utterly delightful. Light-hearted tongue in cheek humor permeates these books as Ms. Carriger continues to play on all things Victorian – the manners, the wardrobe, the social conventions. Blameless is sheer fun to read.
Once again the wordplay and wittiness make this story. The plot – a spoof on a Victorian adventure story – does wander from time to time, but as I said of Soulless, you’ll be having too much fun to notice. Alexia is impossible not to love as once again she proves her sheer gumption by refusing to bow to social expectations. She is truly, as they say, an original.
I’m trying not to gush but honestly I adored this book. Each character has their moment in the sun, each shows a glimpse of something we haven’t seen in them before. I’ve seen some complaints around the blogosphere from people who found the emotional resolution a little too quick and easy, but I thought it was perfect for the characters. It was touching without being maudlin and there was a moment where Alexia was more emotional than we’ve ever seen her. I loved it.
And while Blameless does not have the cliffhanger ending of Changeless (thank goodness – that was a painfully long wait between books), I must say I’m very interested to see what Professor Lydall and Lord Akeldama have cooked up between them for the next book…
In short, this book just made me smile.
Byrt Grade: A
As Levar Burton used to say – you don’t have to take my word for it…
Gail Carriger’s writing is among the wittiest I have ever read. Not only is her wordplay remarkable but her jokes and gags build ingeniously. Every time you think she might have wrung all the humor possible out of any given scenario, she creatively attacks it from yet another surprising angle, and you find yourself struggling for breath while trying to not cackle like a mad person in a crowded area–something which her protagonist, Alexia, would find most unseemly. Or at least you do if you are me and/or are as delighted by Carriger’s deliciously droll Victorianesque wit as I am.
I’m beginning to wonder if Gail Carriger is capable of not hitting one out of the park…I think I was most impressed by Alexia’s continued judicious use of spine. She’s found herself in quite a shameful position–pregnant and cast out by her husband, and in Victorian England’s snooty and prudish society, that’s probably the worst thing that could possibly happen to a woman. Alexia is more irritated by this than anything else, and despite the physical woes of early pregnancy, she still keeps her head high and kicks some ass when necessary. I absolutely love this character.
Conceptually, Blameless is the perfect follow-up to Changeless, with Alexia and Conall’s estrangement allowing Alexia to look into her own family and species history, opening up space for other characters to emerge and develop further (Lyall, Madame LeFoux, Tunstell, Floote, Ivy, and, in a surprising turn, Lord Akeldama’s favorite, Biffy), and setting the stage for a kooky, hurried road trip across England, France, and Italy. More gadgetry is introduced here, too, building out the steampunk elements of the series, and the dry, droll humor characterizing the first two books is very much in evidence in Blameless, as well. So with all this, why was I disappointed?…What there was not enough of, for me, was the kind of emotional depth I was hoping for after reading Changeless.