Series: Parasol Protectorate #4
Published by Orbit Books on 7 July 2011
Alexia is back to investigating unnatural supernatural events and as usual, chaos ensues. She may be eight months pregnant but when a ghost warns her someone is after Queen Victoria, Alexia puts her monarch’s life before that of her unborn child. I am still invested in the series but what once had me chortling now only elicits a smile.
The majority of this novel centres around the new breed of secondary characters and not really saving Queen Vic’s life. Alexia has forgiven Connall but I have not so their behaviour doesn’t really set my heart aflame. My beloved Lyall is not shown in a pleasant light but I did appreciate knowing more about him and the terrible burden he was faced with. Ivy and Madame Lefoux display hidden qualities while Lord Akeldama’s excessive metaphors and similes meant I could have done without him. How are his drones able to show up at just the right time, all the time? Why didn’t he warn Alexia of the dangers of Countess Nadasdy? When we do see Madame Lefoux she becomes the victim of not only Countess Nadasdy but also her erstwhile friend Alexia. Felicity becomes a suffragette which is admirable but her motivations are not explained and we are left hanging. I thought it was a missed opportunity as the suffragette movement was one aspect that actually occurred in the real Victorian era.
The plot was fairly pedestrian despite its outlandishness. The vampires are scared that Alexia will give birth to some freakish hybrid that will kill them all. The solution where Lord Akeldama adopts it is neat but resolved too quickly given the vampires’ actions in the previous novel. Alexia also gives birth to the “infant inconvenience” so at least that is one situation wrapped up. The baddie was very easy to spot and yet Alexia was blind to it. She seems to have got pregnancy brain where she operates as if in a fog. We have zombie porcupines after Alexia this time rather than ladybugs and mechanical octopodes but I couldn’t muster up too much enthusiasm. The problem with madcap hijinks in novels is that you walk a very thin line between humorous and tiresome. The humour in this novel was more laboured than in the others and at times missed the mark.
This really felt like a filler novel and I’m hoping that the series ends on a high. One minor quibble – why does the cover lady look so svelte and not eight months pregnant?