Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Blameless by Gail Carriger: RIP V Review III

WARNING: I try to avoid spoilers, but they are possible (even probable), since this is the third book of the Parasol Protectorate. Soulless is the first. I recommend reading them in order.

I had to run out and get Blameless as soon as I finished Changeless. Gawd, I'm going to get all of these -less's mixed up. I can always tell when I'm enjoying a series...this will be my second review in two days, but since they all sound the same I keep nearly mixing up the titles. From the back cover:
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.
Blameless was just as fun as Changeless was. I think part of what is totally special about these books is they don't take themselves too seriously. I love Alexia and all her friends. I got a bit irritated with Lord Maccon in this book though. He seemed to prolong his fit (for lack of a better term) over Alexia's alleged infidelity longer than was entirely necessary. Even after he was aware of being mistaken, he still continued to get drunk off formaldehyde. Some complaints have been made about the apology scene, but it made me laugh and was totally in character for both Alexia and Conall, I think.

Like Changeless, Blameless reveals more about the preternatural state. There is a bit of ancient history as well, and I love how Carriger incorporates supernaturals and preternaturals in with history. For example, in a previous book it was mentioned that staying out of the sun and having pale skin became en vogue because the vampires made it so. The Templars make an appearance in this book (their interpretation of preternaturals and supernaturals was spot on and realistic, I think) as well as an investigation into Etruscan society. I'm hoping in future novels, perhaps Alexia and crew may travel to Egypt or another exotic locale and investigate more ancient artifacts and the history and nature of preternaturals/supernaturals.

There are a lot of surprises in this book so be prepared. Luckily there's less of a cliffhanger for the next one, since we have awhile to wait. Nonetheless, there are still unanswered questions and plenty of carry-over plots to work with in the next novel, Heartless, which will be released July 2011.

Bottom Line
Overall Rating: 4 / 5
Buy or Try? Buy
More? 3 of 3 (so far) in The Parasol Protectorate
Plot: 4 / 5 (not as strong as Blameless, but still very solid)
Setting: 4 / 5 
Characters: 4 / 5
Pace: Fast
Descriptiveness: Prose
Fantasy factor: Low fantasy Link


Kailana said...

I haven't found time to read book 1 and now there are three. I better get cracking!!

Escapist said...

They're all great :)

Julie said...

Ok ... I didn't read your review (Thanks so much for the spoiler warnings) ... BUT when I asked for advice on which Steampunk novel to try first, Soulless was on the short list, which means now that I STILL haven't read it, I now have THREE to put on my TBR list at Good Reads!

Julie @ Knitting and Sundries

Kate said...

I just finished this over the weekend so had to come back to your review! One of my favorite parts of this book was the progression of Ivy, whom I'm starting to adore more than any of the other characters - and I'm also keen on Prof. Lydell too. I actually really enjoyed how much time we got to spend with him, and I found the scene with he, Conall, and Biffy really unexpected and sad. I'm looking forward to see how Biffy will pan out with his sudden change. I'm definitely in for #4. Thanks for the review!

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