At eight months pregnant, Alexia Maccon finds herself dealing with deadly mechanical porcupines, a reluctant werewolf, and the possibility that she and her husband may soon find themselves living in Lord Akeldama’s second best closet. Things become more complicated when a half-crazed ghost delivers an important message, the Queen is in danger. Alexia begins to follow leads, and finds herself digging into the past. Will she be ready for the secrets she unearths?
Heartless is the fourth (and second to last) novel in Gail Carriger’s always entertaining Parasol Protectorate Series. Those who have enjoyed previous volumes in the series will know what to expect by now: quirky Victorian humor, steampunk powered technology, romance, and plenty of paranormal drama. Although Alexia’s pregnancy plays a large part in the book, it's mostly focused on her quest to save the Queen. I ended up enjoying this storyline much more than I suspected I would, as it take some truly unexpected twists. In the process we get to learn a little more about the past of certain beloved individuals. It makes them seem like much richer characters as a result.
On the subject of character development, I was quite pleased with the journeys of a couple characters in particular in this book. One is Ivy. Although her role is not large, I love the fact that in the past couple books she has begun to become more than just a source of jokes about ridiculous hats. The second character who really grabbed my attention this book is Biffy. In Blameless, the vampire drone was turned into a werewolf as a way to save his life. Here, we watch as he struggles to find his way on a path he never asked to be put upon. You can’t help but feel for him. On a related note, it’s worth mentioning that Heartless deals with the subject of homosexuality in a far more direct way than previous volumes. Although it could be argued that the main characters sound acceptance of the matter is a tad atypical for a Victorian setting, such acceptance is also kind of nice.
With Heartless, Carriger shows that she continues to be on a roll with this series. Given the developments at the end of the novel, I eagerly await it’s finale, Timeless, which is set to be released in March of 2012.
Rating: four and a half stars
Length: 374 pages
Source: Lewiston Public Library
Other books I've read by this author: Soulless, Changeles, Blameless
Next up I will be reviewing Spy Glass by Maria V. Snyder
xposted to temporaryworlds, bookish and goodreads