Rummanah Aasi
  I am fairly new to the steampunk genre, but I enjoy learning about the alternative histories authors create in their books. If you are looking to diversify your paranormal or urban fantasy reads, I would highly suggest picking up Gail Carriger's Parasol Protectorate series. The books are very fun, the dialogue is incredibly witty, and the alternative Victorian England is something you haven't seen. I just finished up the fourth book in the series called Heartless. As a side note, I would recommend reading the series in order since each book and the character developments build upon one another.

Description: Alexia has once again regained her position as muhjah in the Queen’s Shadow Council along with Lord Akeldama. She continues to be under attack by vampires under Queen Countess Nadasdy orders. The vampires have gone as far as sending undead porcupines after her, but that's not the most distressing news Alexia has heard. According to a ghost, someone is planning an assassination attempt on Queen Victoria. Can Alexia found who the assassin is while protecting her own life and the lives she holds dear?


Review:  The world of the Parasol Protectorate series is very different from the common setting of books featuring vampires and werewolves. Instead of being the cliched dark brooding creatures of the night, they are creatures that despite their differences have to deal with England's social standing and decorum in an alternative Jane Austen induced Victorian London. In fact I think the book would hold just as strong albeit a less entertaining book for some if vampires and werewolves are not included.
  Alexia is your stereotypical, silent Victorian female that you encounter in this historical setting. She does have emotions and vulnerability as seen primarily in the first two books, but she keeps them in check. She is strictly about being logical or as some call it being a bit too pragmatic, but that is exactly the reason why I love her. She is a force to be reckon with and if she's not happy with what you are doing, she will come right out and tell you. She keeps the central male and alpha figures on their toes and that is where the excitement of the series comes from.
  Heartless returns more to the book's mystery roots and social commentary rather than the focus of romance unlike the first book, Soulless, but that is not to say there aren't lovely exchanges between the romantic pairs in the book. I actually like the fact that these two characters can maintain their romance despite their rocky start. I found the plot for Heartless entertaining. It was filled with lots of plot twists and the dramatic build up to answering all of our questions that we've held throughout the first three books. We finally learn about Professor Lyall and his connection to Alexia's elusive father, which took me by surprise in a good way. The symbol of the octopus on the cover, which always baffled me, is finally explained. And, as always, Lord Akeledama steals the spotlight with his flamboyant and keen eye to fashion. His incessant endearing words never fail to bring a smile on my face regardless if it's a compliment or a disguised insult.
  The steampunk inventions remain ingenious and deliciously silly at the same time. Carriger doesn't bog down into details about the inventions, but gives you enough information to figure out what it is and how it is suppose to function. Every time I read this series I end up wanting a gadget that was created in the book. I would love to have Alexia's parasol.
 In addition to its slapstick humor, Heartless does have its dramatic moments. We get a glimpse at how the characters feel constrained living within the confines of their social classes and tradition. Though these issues aren't spelled out completely, you can tell they affect the characters by their tone and their mannerisms, which is a good reflection upon the Victorian period where ones feelings aren't openly expressed.
  All in all, I enjoy the Parasol Protectorate series. I would definitely recommend it to those who like a mixture of a paranormal romance/steampunk tale with lots of dry humor, fashion commentary, and awesome character interactions.

Rating: 4 stars

Words of Caution: There is some language and allusions to sex. Though there isn't anything graphic in the book, some teens may not enjoy the dry humor and somewhat slow pace. Recommended for mature teens and adults only.

If you like this book try: Timeless by Gail Carriger (Released in 2012), Phoneix Rising by Philippa Ballantine, Greyfriar by Clay Griffith
7 Responses
  1. Jenny Says:

    I need to get caught up on this series. I read Soulless and really enjoyed it but haven't had time to pick up the other books yet. Loved the humor in book one though, so I'm sure I'll be a fan of subsequent books!


  2. Missie Says:

    YES! How did I not know there is a fourth book in this series. I kid you not, I started listening to the audiobook one on Tuesday, and I am thoroughly enjoying it. I'm happy to know that the witty, dry humor continues!


  3. Jenny: Yay, so glad you enjoyed the first book! I made sure to keep my reviews a bit vague because there are lots of spoilers for those who aren't up to date with the series.

    Missie: I would love to listen to the audiobook, only because of the British and Scottish accents. These books are hilarious!


  4. Oh, I loved this book. The first in the series is still my favorite thus far, but HEARTLESS was second. It was so nice after Connall made me so mad in book 4. But, there was this whole other side to Akeldama in this one. I just felt so bad for the whole Buffy drama. But, it does end better for Buffy, I'm happy to say. You are right, they wouldn't be the books they are without the vamps and werewolves being what they are. It really wouldn't be fun without her humor. I love the dryness of it.

    His incessant endearing words never fail to bring a smile on my face regardless if it's a compliment or a disguised insult. Oh so true! Akeldama is one of my very favorite characters and I think in this one we see so many more layers of him than in the others. I'm so excited for the next book!:D


  5. StephanieD Says:

    Hi, Rummanah! My book club has Soulless as one of our summer reads. I love Carriger's witty "voice" and mixture of ettiquette, fashion, and the paranormal.

    New follower! Misfit Salon


  6. Oh, I keep meaning to read this series! I need to find the first book NOW!


  7. Eesti Says:

    The fourth Parasol Protectorate Victorian fantasy (see Soulless, Changeless and Blameless) is a fun at times jocular (especially when the married couple discuss her "bunions") investigative tale. The heroine escorts readers through a different London filled with eccentric otherworldly species not found in a Dickens' novel. Although the story line is thin even with several subplots that never fully gel, fans will enjoy Alexia's pregnant pause as she sets out to protect the Queen.


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