Series: Parasol Protectorate #5
Published by Orbit Books on 1 March 2012
It has been a massive journey to get to the final novel in the Parasol Protectorate series – at times a delight and other times like a slog. This novel takes place a couple of years after Heartless which should have given Carriger plenty of plot fodder. Unfortunately there isn’t much of one. It is still worthwhile wrapping up the series but it doesn’t have the same oomph that the earlier books did.
The focus of this novel is Prudence, Alexia & Connell’s daughter rather than Alexia. She is able to take on the characteristics of any supernatural that she comes in contact with unless Alexia cancels out the action with her soullessness. Prudence is a thoroughly precocious child and only Lord Akeldama seems to have the right touch when it comes to dealing with her. Everyone wants to know what a hybrid soulless-werewolf child is like and the family receives an invitation they dare not refuse from Queen Matakara, head of the Alexandria Hive. Once again I was drawn more to Lyall and Biffy rather than the main characters. In this novel the two discover their attraction for each other is mutual and their relationship – the only gay one that is dealt with in a realistic rather than stereotypical manner is a delight to read.
Alexia spends a significant amount of time revisiting old characters and places – while it is nice to know what they are up to, it doesn’t exactly advance the plot. The second half of the novel is dealt with in such a hasty manner that key questions are left unanswered. What are the soulless? What is the deal with the Order of the Brass Octopus? The humour is still very much a hit and miss affair. I know Lord Akeldama and Ivy’s fashion sense and witticisms are supposed to be funny but they often grated.
Despite my issues with the novel, it was refreshing to see that Alexia’s life did not come to a halt with the birth of her child. She is still very independent and able to pursue whatever takes her fancy. Naturally having Akeldama’s drones at her beck and call makes this much easier that it would be for the average woman.
Overall I am very glad that I have read the Parasol Protectorate series as it has generally been an enjoyable romp. Two of the books smacked of filler and some significant questions were left unresolved which was a shame but I noticed that Carriger is planning a spin off series involving Prudence due to be released in 2015 so be sure to pencil that in your diary if you are a fan.