By: Gail Carriger
Publish Date: July 2011
Number of Pages: 400
Format: Paranormal Fiction
Reason for Reading: Alexia Maccon is a deliciously wry and hilarious character in the same vein as Elizabeth Peters’ Amelia Peabody Emerson. Plus Steampunk paranormal fiction. What’s not to love here?
The formidable Lady Alexia Maccon has a few problems. The vampires seem to want her dead. Her friend and unwilling werewolf Biffy is a bit depressed. A possibly insane ghost is convinced Queen Victoria’s life is at stake. And, worst of all, there’s the infant inconvenience (have you ever tried getting into a dirigible when extraordinarily pregnant??). The vampire community has a vested stake (yeah, I went there) in the supernatural (and/or preternatural) abilities of Alexia’s unborn child. They think it safer to just eliminate the problem altogether by eliminating Alexia. Between zombie porcupines and the machinations of the mysterious Order of the Brass Octopus, Alexia will be lucky to make it out alive.
I have truly enjoyed this series of books. Alexia is a genuinely strong and witty character and the perfect heart of Heartless, and Carriger’s supporting characters are fantastic. In particular, I found Biffy’s storyline rather heartbreaking-a gift of good writing considering his name is…Biffy. Lord Alkadema continues to amuse whilst wearing the most smashing ensembles and the inventive Madame Lefoux is just as enigmatic as ever. Finally Ivy Tunstell gets to show off her layers, all charming naivety and fiendish cleverness.
If you haven’t yet read any of the Parasol Protectorate series (and, why haven’t you???) you should be able to keep up with Alexia’s quick mind in Heartless, but you’d be better off starting from the beginning and working your way up. Trust me, you’ll thank me for it later.