Sunday, September 12, 2010

Blameless (The Parasol Protectorate, #3) by Gail Carriger

Summary (courtesy of GoodReads):  Quitting her husband's house and moving back in with her horrible family, Lady Maccon becomes the scandal of the London season.  Queen Victoria dismisses her from the Shadow Council, and 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.

And here's what I thought:  If you've read books #1 and #2 in this series, then you're already familiar with the slightly acerbic wit of Gail Carriger.    If you haven't read those two books, what I'm saying here probably won't make too much sense --- and here are the links to both of those books, Soulless, and Changeless.  

I hadn't warmed up too much to book #2, Changeless, but still had hopes that this book, the third in the series, wouldn't disappoint.   And it didn't (thankfully).   This book begins with Alexia (Lady Maccon) at her parents' home, trying to deal with the scandal that she created when she became pregnant and then left her husband's home.  Her family's not too happy about the state of affairs and immediately suggests that Alexia take a trip to Europe.  Of course, things can never be too easy -- as soon as she decides that she's going to go to Italy, she's under constant attack.  Good thing she has some friends on her side: Madame Lefoux and Floote (and Professor Lyall, as well). 

I'm determined to avoid giving anything away about the plot, but I can safely say that Gail Carriger's has done it again.  This story is a wonderful mix of wit and manners, vampires and werewolves, and tea.  Lady Maccon is one of those characters that I can't help but love; she doesn't always fit in with society, she doesn't hide the fact that she's intelligent, and she's got a good head on her shoulders.  I don't think that she ever really loses her head, even in the face of attack (although it certainly helps that she has a well-designed parasol to protect herself with).  Despite the fact that she's faced with what seems like insurmountable odds, she's determined to persevere.   And, she's funny.   I would classify the humor in these stories as more dry, than laugh-out-loud (although I have been known to laugh when I'm reading Gail Carriger's books).   I think what made this story such a good read for me is that I enjoy Gail Carriger's writing style, and how she creates, and then treats, her characters.  Even the one friend of Lady Maccon's that acts like a bubble-head (Ivy), is probably smarter than she seems, and is just putting on an act.  It's not to say that the intelligence of the characters makes them infallible; they are prone to making bad decisions like just anyone else, but this makes the characters seem more realistic.   Wonderful books -- if you get a chance, and you're in the mood for something a bit different, these might be just what you're looking for.

And here's a few examples of the writing I so love in this book, and the other two: 

"Alexia thought this dreadfully boorish.  The least they could do was answer with a 'No, killing is all we are interested in at the moment, but thank you kindly for the offer all the same.'  Alexia had, in part, compensated for a lack of soul through the liberal application of manners. This was rather like donning an outfit consisting entirely of accessories, but Alexia maintained that propert conduct was never a bad thing.  These vampires were behaving most improperly."  (p. 121-2)

"Mr. Lange-Wilsdorf came to stand near her, looking down.   Which must be a particularly unusual experience of him given his diminutive stature, Alexia thought nastily."  (p. 293)


Escapist said...

Yay! I just finished that and reviewed it too :D Love those books.

Jen (@ Jens Book Closet) said...

I do so love Gail Carriger! I wished blameless had had more of Lord Akeldama and Lord Maccon. Otherwise, it was quite fabulous. I think Heartless will be even better. I don't know though, I kind of wished that Alexia would have made Conall beg more yah know. Like maybe on his hands and knees...some intense groveling. :D

In the Closet With a Bibliophile
In the Closet With a Bibliophile

Jen said...

Jen - you are too funny! I agree, though -- Conall should definitely do some intense groveling.... ;)

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