Sunday, December 25, 2011

Heartless (The Parasol Protectorate, #4) by Gail Carriger

  • Title: Heartless (The Parasol Protectorate, #4)
  • Classification: Adult Fiction
  • Genre: Paranormal Steampunk
  • Mass Market Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Orbit; 1 edition (July 1, 2011)
  • ISBN-10: 0316127191
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316127196
  • Author's Website:

     "To which end I was hoping to, well, induct you into a kind of secret society."
     Ivy looked as though she had not heard anything so thrilling in all her life. "Me?" she squeaked. "really?" How Marvelous. What's What's it called, this secret society?"
     Alexis hesitated and then, recalling a phrase her husband had once offered up in the head of annoyance, suggested tentatively, "The Parasol Protectorate?"
     "Oooh, what a perfectly splendid name. So full of ornamentation!" Ivy practically bounced up and down on the lavender settee in her excitement. "Must I make a pledge, or memorize a sacred code of conduct, or engage in some pagan ritual or other? Ivy had an expecting look on her face that suggested she would be very disappointed if this were not the case.
     "Well of course." Lady Maccon floundered. trying to come up with something appropriate to the occasion..."Spin the parasol three times and repeat after me: I shield in the name of fashion. I accessorize for one and all. Pursuit of truth is my passion. This I vow by the great parasol."

Lady Alexis Maccon is in a rather delicate state, just don't tell her. she won't believe it. She's expecting--what exactly is still a mystery. Yes, most people wonder if their child will be a boy or a girl, but she wonders if her child will be a preternatural like her, making it next to impossible for them to be in the same room, or something entirely different. Theories abound as to what her child could be, making Alexis and the child she carries a target of both the Templars and vampires. Death threats are beginning to be part of a normal night out on the town. Nothing seems to phase Lady Maccon any more, not even an attack by killer zombie porcupines (or is it hedgehogs?). Plus, Madame Lefoux is acting a bit aloof. Something seems to be off about her, but Alexis hasn't figured out what. If that wasn't enough, now a ghost has alerted Alexis that someone is out to assassinate the Queen and Alexis will do everything within her power to stop it. Plus, the Parasol Protectorate is finally in full swing and Ivy has her first assignment. Be prepared for twists, mayhem, and snarky comments. 

I just love the quirky writing style of Gail Carriger. I always look forward to reading the next book of the series. Her books are guaranteed to put me in a good mood. The whole cast of characters is so engaging from Biffy, a werewolf who wanted to be a vampire and is having problems making the adjustment, to Madame Lefoux, a brilliant inventor whose female lover was lured away by the promise of immortality by the Vampire Queen, to Lord Akeldama, a fashionable gay vampire who just happens to be one of Alexis' dearest friends. Armed with her parasol and tea nothing can ruffle Alexis' feathers, well, almost nothing.

In this book, we learn more about Alexis' father and what exactly happened all those years ago when Lord Maccon left his former pack. Alexis goes investigating and does what her husband never could--found out the truth of why his old pack came to betray him and it is rather shocking. Alexis will also do something that will change the wolf pack forever. Plus, we get our first glimpse at Alexis' and Conall's baby.

Why is this book entitled Heartless? Well, I believe it has to do with this verse: "Madame Lefoux either hadn't seen Alexia's plight or didn't care to help her. Alexia hoped fervently it was the former, or her friend was indeed more heartless than she had ever thought possible."

Overall I gave this one a 5 out of 5 roses. Ms. Carriger has a unique blend of snooty, snarky, uppity, and fantastical characters that just make me grin from ear to ear. The world she created is a joy to read about and her twists and turns keep me guessing as to what is happening and what zany things will be thrown at us next. This is a series I highly recommend.

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