Heartless: The Parasol Protectorate Book 4

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Author: Gail Carriger
ISBN: 978-035-650-0096
RRP: $19.99

Gail Carriger has done it again, this 4th installment of the Parasol Protectorate is witty, intriguing and inventive. A book that drew me in and kept me hooked; saving the very best twist for the very last line.

Unfortunately I haven’t managed to catch up on books 2 and 3 yet; though I did read, review and love book 1. I am not usually one to like coming in midway through a series, or to read them out of sequence, but in this line of work sometimes it’s necessary. Heartless is still extremely enjoyable, even without the storylines I have missed in the previous two books – but I will get my hands on them one of these days, I want to know what happened.

Lady Alexia Maccon again finds herself embroiled in the midst of trouble, this time not trouble she caused but trouble she needs to unravel all the same.


The vampires, the werewolves, a scattered ghost and consequences of actions long past combine with Madame Lefoux’s super scary new mechanical invention and a suffragette sister to ensure that Lady Alexia Maccon is kept on her toes and more mobile than is proper for any lady in her 8th month of pregnancy.

The attempts on Lady Maccon’s life have increased with her pregnancy, largely I think, due to the fact that this pregnancy should not have been possible. Then again it seems our heroine doesn’t like to be limited by what should or should not be. Lady Maccon has always been extremely independent and forthcoming with her opinions, which makes the limits placed upon her by her pregnancy even more inconvenient and frustrating.

The situations that Lady Maccon finds herself in, time and time again, are enough to make you laugh out loud. Most Victorian ladies getting close to the end of their pregnancy are ensconced safely in their houses where no-one can see them and the proper etiquette can be followed, not Lady Maccon! There are nefarious doings afoot and the Lady can’t help but get herself into the middle of it.

This time round a ghost pops up in the story to foretell of a plot placing the Queen in grave danger. Lady Maccon is not going to let the inconvenience of an advanced pregnancy get in the way of her saving the Queen, even if it is becoming increasingly difficult to get around and even harder to get out of the house with all of Lord Maccon’s fussing. There is more to this situation than meets the eye, as is often the case with goings on in Carriger’s world.

Lord Maccon’s fussing and lady Maccon’s independence are cause for much amusement, alongside their totally different opinions on acceptable public behaviour.

The Parasol Protectorate series brings together many genres and weaves quite the comedic tale; how can it do anything but when you combine extremely effeminate English vampires, brash stubborn Scottish werewolves and the soulless herself. All of this alongside proper English gentlefolk in Victorian London where manners and etiquette were of the utmost importance.

There are quite a few interesting twists and revelations contained in this volume, about the situation that is occurring at the time and some that are uncovered from the past; some that are much better left buried.

Also of extreme interest – the array of marvelous mechanical inventions, most of it weaponry by design though not always in practice.

The characters reach a new depth as we gain added understanding of what makes them tick and how they got where they are. Their interaction instigates the most amusement with their proper manners and caustic wit. The language is fraught with multi-syllable words that are sure to test your tongue, especially if reading aloud, though they certainly contribute to the amusement and entertainment value of the series.

I am so glad to have discovered Gail Carriger and can’t wait to see what Timeless will bring. Heartless left us on the edge of a cliff of knowledge and I want the bridge! It’s going to be a long wait until March 2012 to see what comes next.

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