Reading level: Adult
Paperback: 384 pages
Release Date: September 1st, 2010
Stand Alone or Series: 3rd in Parasole Protectorate series; 5 books planned in this series
Rating: 4/5 stars
This is the third book in the Parasole Protectorate series by Carriger. The fourth book “Heartless” is supposed to be released in July of 2011. The fifth and final book “Timeless” is supposed to release some time in 2012. This book was a great addition to the series, not quite as fun as the two previous books, but more of a transition novel in which Alexia searches out the “why?” behind her pregnancy while fleeing both English hostility and vampires bent on her death.
After the bombshell dropped on us poor readers at the end of Changeless, this book picks up shortly after that book leaves off. Alexia is living with her family and scorned by English society. Things take a turn for the worse when she is thrown out of the family home, removed from the Shadow Council by the Queen, and attacked by homicidal ladybugs. She finds that for some reason all of London’s vampires are out to kill her. With Floote and Madame Lefoux as traveling companions Alexia is forced to flee to Italy and try to find the why, how, and what behind her infant inconvenience. Meanwhile Lord Maccon spends the majority of the time sloshed as he realizes his mistake in tossing his wife out because of her supposedly impossible pregnancy; this leaves poor Professor Lyall with a huge mess to hold together.
This was a fun book, but not quite as fun as the previous books in this series. I really missed some of my favorite characters; for example Lord Akeldama was absent most of the book and the insufferable Lord Maccon was sloshed. I missed the witty interplay between Lord Maccon and Alexia. I did enjoy spending more time with Floote, but although I find Madame Lefoux interesting, she is not one of my favorite characters in this book.
I continue to vastly enjoy Carriger’s writing style. I love all the crazy steampunk contraptions she comes up with to incorporate into the story, I love her witty dialogue, and how her characters try to achieve English dignity in the craziest of situations. The pace of this story was good, it was a page turner and kept me fully engaged. I liked how it wrapped up, without a horrible cliffhanger like Changeless had.
You learn a lot about the background of many of the characters here. You learn a lot about Alexia’s father and how Floote ties in to all that. You learn more about what it means for Alexia to be a Preternatural, and many crazy Victorian theories are discussed as to how her improbable pregnancy occurred. Alexia shows a venerability that she hasn’t shown in previous books. Usually she is so practical and shrewd that you wonder at her emotional depth; this book explores that a bit more…it’s not obnoxious about it but there are scenes where the whole pregnancy, abandonment, etc just becomes too much for her. Which is entirely reasonable under the circumstances.