Number of pages: 355
Publisher: Orbit Books
Rating: ages 18 and up (there is one minor R-rated scene in the story)
Notes: book 3 in the Parasol Protectorate series by Gail Carriger
After quitting her husband’s house, Alexia is forced to move back to her horrible family (as if being in contact with her sisters wasn’t bad enough). Worse is the immediate dismissal from Queen Victoria and the Shadow Council. And without Lord Akaldama to explain anything Alexia is left alone without the protection of the wolf pack, which couldn’t come at a better time when she is attacked by vampires. Alexia has no choice to flee London and heads to Italy with her companion and engineer extraordinaire, Madame LeFoux and her butler, Floote in search of the Templars for answers.
I found this to be the most interesting book out of the series so far. I absolutely adore Alexia Tarabotti’s wit, intelligence, cleverness, and her state-of-the-art brass parasol, which has proved in more ways than one, a reliable and fashionable weapon. Floote if you remember from Soulless returns as Alexia’s loyal servant, and so does Madame LeFoux. Altogether they go to Italy to help Alexia in search of clues and evidence that may shade light in her “inconvenient condition.” But after being kicked out of the family house by her mother and insufferable sisters, Alexia’s unfortunate condition becomes worse beginning with the assault of mechanical ladybugs. Seriously! Mechanical flying insects with sticky goo! Gail Carriger has certainly outdone herself as a writer of steampunk fiction.
Worse are the attacks from the vampires and without Lord Akeldama for answers, poor Alexia is kept in the dark as to what the deuce is going on with the supernatural world. These attacks have something to do with her “inconvenient condition” and I won’t say what it is, but I was baffled when Alexia broke the news to her werewolf husband, Lord Maccon in the last book, Changeless. To my displeasure and Alexia’s he didn’t take it too well, but I was relieved when Lord Maccon eventually came into his senses after persuasion from Professor Lyall.
I was absorbed with the parts about the Templars and how they knew of the existence of preternaturals. The history and qualities of preternaturals continue to interest me as Alexia learns more about herself and her father, Lord Tarabotti. I noticed that Floote plays a bigger role in the story not only as an escort and butler to Alexia but he is quite the fighter and an informative guide while in Italy. And this isn’t the first time he’s gone to Italy either. As a matter of fact, he and Lord Tarabotti went to Italy to meet the Templars but he won’t reveal the details to Alexia.
Another rousing story with a long chain of events involving ladybugs, a flying machine, English tea, a German scientist, and pesto, which proves to have more than one useful property besides adding flavor. Gail Carriger has done it again with another thrilling tale of mystery and adventure, and with surprising turn of events that for some of our characters take a turn for the worst. But not for Alexia Tarabotti as she’s well-equipped with the latest technology and reliable traveling companions who altogether, put their unique qualities to the test even in the most dangerous situations.
My verdict: 5 hoots out of 5.