Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Heartless by Gail Carriger

****1/2
The fourth book of the Parasol Protectorate series, with the next one due out later this year.  I enjoyed this one and feel the series has found its way back to what attracted me to Soulless in the first place.  Apologies, for spoilers, but the series does need to be read in sequence to make any sense and its difficult to give a synopsis without giving anything away to newbies! (Look away, now if you don't want to know!)
After the adventures in the last book, a very heavily pregnant Lady Alexia Maccon is back in London and for reasons, best explained in the book, it is decided that it is best for "infant-inconvenience" if she and Conall reside in Lord Akeldama's second best closet.  There's an awful lot going on...Buffy is struggling to cope with his unavoidable lifestyle change; sister Felicity has not only joined the suffragette movement, but wants to stay with the Maccons; mysterious friend Madame Lefoux is up to something and a ghostly message implies that the Queen is in danger. As muhjah, Alexia is quickly on the trail, which unearths more secrets from her husband's previous pack.  Is there enough treacle tart and tea to cope with all this?
It's great to have the series back on form and this is a brilliant, fast paced romp.  It remains witty and fun and despite my continued reservations about Madame Lefoux, worked really well.  I knew where it was heading with the vampires swarming, but think it'll be a good move for future stories as it gives greater scope for Lord Akeldama to widen his interests and may avoid the constant dashing to the country for the werewolves (which always seemed a bit pointless, plot wise).
Conall is still (in my opinion) slightly sidelined, I would like a return of how he was in the first book. I love Floote (give him an even bigger role), Lord Akeldama is fabulous and Lyall remains for me one of the most intriguing characters is thankfully developing an interesting back story. 
My only (very petty) criticism is that the person on the cover looks nothing like I imagine Alexia - what does anyone think?