Saturday, 6 August 2011

56. "Heartless" by Gail Carriger

Publisher: Orbit
Page count: 400 pages
Date begun: July 21st, 2011
Date finished: July 22nd, 2011

This is the fourth book in a series, and this review will undoubtedly contain spoilers for earlier books. If you mind this, skip the review, and begin the series at the beginning, with the delightful Soulless. Book 2 in the series is reviewed here and book 3 here.

Lady Alexia Maccon, neƩ Tarabotti, is back in London, back in the good graces of Queen Victoria and the rest of society, having proven that her current pregnancy, extremely unlikely as the conception was, is not the result of an affair. The vampires are still extremely worried about the nature of Alexia's future child, however, and keep trying to assassinate her. With the help of her husband's second in command, Professor Lyall and her good friend, the very influential vampire Lord Akeldama, she manages to figure out a solution that ensures the safety of her unborn child (not to mention herself), and results in her and Lord Maccon, Alpha of the Woolsey werewolf pack being next door neighbours with Akeldama.

While everyone urges her to rest and stay calm so close to her confinement, Alexia is warned by a ghost that someone is trying to kill the Queen, and is obviously determined to thwart the attempt. Despite warnings from various friends and acquaintances not to delve into the past, Alexia keeps digging and investigating, and finds out interesting things about the previous attempt to assassinate the queen, and links to her husband's former werewolf pack. Alexia's younger sister is suddenly a suffragette and insists on staying with her, her brilliant inventor friend seems out of sorts and keeps trying to avoid her. Biffy, the most recent addition to the Woolsey werewolf pack is having trouble adjusting to his new life, and if he doesn't learn to adjust to pack life, he could become an unprotected loner or worse, fade away to die. Alexia's life is certainly never restful.

In this book, Carriger is back on form, and the book was delightful and very entertaining. There are dirigible chases, zombie porcupines, a giant mechanical octopus, ghosts, werewolves, vampires, dastardly plots, abductions, explosions and a lot of witty banter between the various characters. I really hope Carriger can keep this up for the next one, which I think may be the last in the series, at least for now.

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