Earlier this year I discovered the Parasol Protectorate series by Gail Carriger and tore through the first two novels—Soulless and Changeless. Changeless ended on a cliffhanger, but I almost didn’t want to start Blameless because our heroine was thrown into an awful situation and I didn’t want to watch her suffer.
Clearly, I had underestimated Ms. Carriger’s power of storytelling.
Rather than suffering from a fit of the dismals (or suffering from one for too long, anyway), our intrepid heroine is out and about escaping killers, trying to clear her name and solve an ever-enlarging mystery.
A highlight for me was delving more into the nature of Alexia’s soulless condition and how she functions in relation to other supernatural beings. Leaving England, we got to travel through Europe until we arrived in Italy. In Ms. Carriger’s conception of the geopolitical landscape, Italy is essentially run by the Catholics and the Knights Templar have survived in strength to function as a police force against supernatural elements. But because Alexia has no soul, she’s actually of more use to them alive (or so they think).
Like some of my friends who’ve read the book, I was fascinated by the development of Floote, Alexia’s butler/her father’s valet, who has much more history with the supernaturals/Templars than we’d known. I’m hoping we’ll learn more about him in future books. And more Madame LeFoux is good.
Once again, I found myself wanting to hug Professor Lyall, especially as he tries to keep his pack in order with both the Alpha & Gamma unavailable for large portions of the book. I’ve decided that in werewolf terms, I prefer Betas. They’re strong, intelligent, and competent, but they’re not as forceful or blustery as Alphas.
And speaking of bluster…I have forgiven Lord Maccon. I have a hard time enjoying a book while a character is being continually unreasonable. That’s one of the things I was dreading about this book. But as it turned out, his character was not a caricature of the idiot who won’t see the nose on his own face or take responsibility for his mistakes.
I’d recommend the series as a whole to people who like urban fantasy/Victorian fiction/steampunk fiction. And for those who read and enjoyed the first two, don’t dread jumping into this one. In the hands of someone more clumsy it would’ve been excruciating, but it was handled so deftly that I didn’t dread picking it up and finished it in two workdays, even sitting up later than usual because I found the conclusion so exciting.
I’d give it 4.5/5 stars for enjoyment.