Series: Parasol Protectorate #3
Published by Orbit Books on 1 September 2010
Life is rough for our dynamic duo. Alexia’s condition has caused her husband to cruelly reject her and Queen Victoria to turn her nose up at her (as only she can). To top it off, she is attacked by maniacal mechanical ladybugs. This is far too much for a lady to bear and she toddles off to Italy to hunt down the Templars. Lord Maccon on the other hand drinks himself into a stupor and we don’t see too much of him. I couldn’t really find myself mourning this loss because Professor Lyall steps in and rallies the pack. While this series is still fun and Lyall = win, it is getting progressively sillier. The humour which was so effortless in Soulless is laboured at times.
The plot takes many illogical twists and turns before the end that thankfully does not involve a cliff hanger. Alexia’s pregnancy has the supernatural world in uproar and the vampires are out for blood. She almost dies so many times that it was not funny – visit new place, get discovered by vampires or drones and almost die was on rinse and repeat mode. I still can’t fathom how easily she was discovered over and over again. Another thing that irked me was Lord Akeldama’s message. If I was trying to warn someone I wouldn’t fashion a cat collar out of “magnetic auditory resonance tape” that needed a machine in the shape of a top hat to decode that bore a message to “beware of Italians who embroider” but then I’m not Lord Akeldama. Still, with this series you need to take a deep breath and just go with the flow. In this case, it is uneven. Rather than speed up events to maintain the tension, we are diverted by Ivy and her predilection for hats or Alexia’s new-found love of pesto. I would really have loved if the last book and this one had been combined. It would have allowed for the Victorian minutiae that Carriger loves and helped with pacing.
Alexia’s willingness to forgive Maccon without much in the way of grovelling was disappointing. Some grand gesture would have been more fitting with the style of the series. Madame Lefoux could have been fleshed out as a character given the amount of page time she has, but unfortunately she remains a stereotypical lesbian. The Templars were just a plot device to get Alexia out of England. If they had been important to the series as a whole, I suspect Carriger would have spent much more time foreshadowing them – she does with everything else.
While I had issues with bits of the novel, I absolutely adored getting to know Professor Lyall better. The character might have started out as just a Beta but his logical frame of mind in the midst of such silliness makes him an Alpha in my eyes. The way he cares for Biffy was really moving.
The shine is starting to come off the series but for all my harping, it is still an enjoyable read. Parts of the text still leap off the page and grab you in. Only two more to go.