Not only does Queen Victoria dismiss her from the Shadow Council, but 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.
Set 3 weeks after CHANGELESS, the pregnant Lady Alexia Maccon remains cast out by her husband, Conall who believes her condition to be proof of adultery as werewolves can’t have children. Denied the protection of Conall’s pack and forced to live with her odious family, Alexia’s life gets worse when Queen Victoria sacks her as mujahl and press reports on her scandal lead her to be shunned by respectable society – including Ivy Hisselpenny (now Mrs Turnstell).
When Lord Akeldama abruptly leaves town (denying Alexia both a refuge and potential information on her condition), she resolves to seek out the Templers – religious fanatics based in Italy, who are devoted to killing both vampires and werewolves and who have extensive records on preternaturals and their abilities. Accompanied by Madame Lefoux and the faithful Floote, Alexia discovers that the vampires now wish to kill her – sending drones and even mechanical ladybirds to do so. Armed with her trusty parasol, impeccable manners and a desire to prove her pig-headed husband wrong, Alexia encounters air travel, German inventors and pesto in her bid to get answers.
The third in Gail Carriger’s series is another fast-paced, witty story that adds more depth to the author’s world.
Hurt by her husband’s rejection and her lack of a role in society, Alexia is determined to prove her case. I particularly liked the fact that she does not feel immediate warmth to her child – terming it the “infant inconvenience” and her opinions only change slowly as the story progresses. Conall, by contrast, wallows in self-pity and alcoholism. While I wasn’t quite convinced by his willingness to disbelieve Alexia, his are some of the funniest scenes in the book - especially Professor Lyall’s reaction to his Alpha drinking the formaldehyde of his specimens. I was very happy to see Floote come into his own more and there’s a nice mystery building around his background and his relationship with Alexia’s father. Everyone needs a Floote.
Again, there are Americanisms in the text – the use of the term “ladybug” instead of “ladybird” being the most irritating. However my biggest complaint is that I wanted the book to be longer because there is so much scope within the text and the world for more information to be given. I’m now impatient for HEARTLESS to be released on 28th June 2011.
The third in Gail Carriger’s series is another light-hearted romp of an adventure that’s told with wit and verve. Alexia Maccon is shaping up to be one of my favourite female characters with her sound common sense and hefty way with the parasol. This book resolved the cliff hanger from CHANGELESS to satisfying effect and it has confirmed me as a Floote fangirl. I am now very impatient for the release of HEARTLESS on 28th June 2011.
Cross-posted to books, bookworming, and fantasywithbite.