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Heartless by Gail Carriger
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Member:ablachly
Title:Heartless
Authors:Gail Carriger
Info:Orbit (2011), Edition: Original, Mass Market Paperback, 400 pages
Collections:Read but unowned
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Heartless by Gail Carriger

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4½ Stars

This review is also published at http://thebookaholiccat.com

Heartless is book four in The Parasol Protectorate series by Gail Carriger.

I have forgotten how good and hilariously smart these books were, ok with the exception of the previous book Blameless… nobody is perfect.

In this installment, eight months pregnant Alexia is running around London solving problems left and right, avoiding assassination attempts and trying to find out the truth about a tip received from an unknown ghost about a plot to kill the Queen. The infant-inconvenience makes things more difficult for her and funnier for us. It’s not just her humongous size that makes her slow down and be tired. But more important is her appetite; everything reminds her of food and when Alexia is hungry, Alexia needs to eat.

"She seemed to spend all her time either eating or dozing-sometimes dozing while eating and, once or twice, eating while dozing. Pregnancy had given her a new window into the human capacity for consumption".

It has got to the point that all member of The Pack are carrying food with them in case Alexia gets hungry. And don’t even put a Treacle Tart in front of her, everything will pass to a second place after the tart.

I love Alexia and Lord Maccon relationship. Alexia is all proper and ladylike while Maccon doesn’t care a bit for society rules. I love how much they enjoy their discussions, as much as their more private activities.

"Lord Maccon barked at his wife authoritatively. Lord Maccon was always barking at his wife, the form of his body mattering not one jot.
Alexia dismissed the commanding tone…"


All the characters we love from previous books Lord Akeldama, Professor Lyall, Ivy Tunstall, Madam Lefoux, Biffy, Floote and even stupid Felicity are present in this book and a new and tiny one made his/her debut.
Some secrets from the past are shared and some others have been left to be discover. I really would like to know everything Floote knows and hope Mrs. Carriger would share his knowledge with us in the next and last installment of this series, Timeless.

One of my favorite scenes is when the Parasol Protectorate is officially created and its first member does her pledge to the secret organization. That scene was just perfect.

My final thought: After a little bit of a disappointment with Blameless, Mrs. Carriger restored my faith in her with Heartless. This is one of those books you cannot judge by its cover, because (in my opinion) the cover is hideous but the book is great. (I don’t know why they change the format of the cover; the previous covers were thousand times better.)
Heartless is a funny, entangling book with a good plot, some twist and turns and very interesting and different characters.
The steampunk factor is perfectly balance with the story, it doesn’t feel overwhelming or steals the spot from the characters.
In my opinion Heartless is the best book in the series and I can’t wait for March of next year to read Timeless.
This book is not a stand-alone and it should be read as part of the series and the series should be read in order.
I recommend this book and this series to all Steampunk lovers, or paranormal historical fans or anyone who would like to read a nice, different and fun book. ( )
  BookaholicCat | Mar 4, 2015 |
The events of this book are so ridiculous at times that you can't help but laugh. Alexia is a very flexible person, even down to who she manages to be friends with. I'd like to be a little more like her in that sense, though she has a very strenuous lifestyle that I would not like to live! ( )
  tjsjohanna | Jan 19, 2015 |
Description: Lady Alexia Maccon, soulless, is at it again, only this time the trouble is not her fault. When a mad ghost threatens the queen, Alexia is on the case, following a trail that leads her deep into her husband's past. Top that off with a sister who has joined the suffragette movement (shocking!), Madame Lefoux's latest mechanical invention, and a plague of zombie porcupines and Alexia barely has time to remember she happens to be eight months pregnant.

Will Alexia manage to determine who is trying to kill Queen Victoria before it is too late? Is it the vampires again or is there a traitor lurking about in wolf's clothing? And what, exactly, has taken up residence in Lord Akeldama's second best closet?

Thoughts: I will first warn all readers that, from this point on, there are going to be plenty of spoilers. So, if you haven't read Heartless or Timeless and would prefer to not have them spoiled, then STOP HERE. You were warned.

I dove into these last 2 books with great anticipation of more daring do and irresistible humor. It's there, of course, but for some reason it just couldn't hold my attention as well this time. In all honesty, I didn't enjoy or appreciate some of the directions that Carriger takes the series as it ends. I mean, it was easier to accept Felicity as a genuine Suffragette than it was to believe the crazy story of Countess Nadasdy kidnapping Quesnel (especially since the hives have rules against turning people with families to avoid messy situations just as those) and that Madame Lefoux's only option was a rampage through London and environs in a giant metal octopus, at the conclusion of which she's almost killed Alexia (a couple times over) and lost the pack their home... WHICH SEEMS INSANE! Madame Lefoux is nothing if not subtle, except perhaps in her attraction to Alexia, and it's the subtlety that I loved about her: the perfect yet restrained men's fashion, the cleverly hidden aspects of Alexia's parasol, the inventor's lab disguised by a hat shop. Where is that subtlety in a 2 story rampaging octopus, may I ask? Now, if Carriger was really determined that Madame Lefoux play villainesse, why in the world didn't she come up with something that actually rang true to the woman? Madame Lefoux surely could have come up with a myriad of clever ways to achieve her goals that DIDN'T involve such an absurd situation...

And it was very unlike Alexia to fail to realize that inviting the Mayfair Hive into Woolsey would be more than a kind gesture while they regrouped. It felt awfully lazy of Carriger to brush this off so easily and blame it on Alexia's baby brain- that smacks of something a man would have written. I just did not approve.

And the preposterous living arrangements... well, that really boggled the mind. Why in the world couldn't they just add a hidden door between the two houses? Madame Lefoux probably could have done a bang up job and perhaps have been kept out of the octopus making business in the process. I mean, if you are trying to hide the fact that you are secretly planning on raising the child you actually adopted out, then it's probably a better idea to have a bedroom in your own home rather than a closet that necessitates a gang plank. But that's just a thought. I mean, really, adjoining houses just SCREAM for a hidden door, do they not?

Oh, and my dear Prof. Lyall in the role of Agent Doom? Seriously. This is just absurd.

I just... well, I just don't know what to think, really. I had a lot of fun with the first 3 books, even the second one that was disappointing, but in more of a boring way than in a "this series has gone off the rails kind of way." But these last two felt like they had lost the thread a bit, that characters were being pushed in directions that didn't make that much sense for them, which left the plots feeling forced. I don't know. I hate that I wasn't as enamored as I wanted to be. Maybe that's really the biggest disappointment.

http://www.librarything.com/topic/134084#3296917 ( )
  leahbird | Jan 13, 2015 |
Still fun, but there was so much chaos and it was a little over the top. ( )
  caittilynn | Jan 1, 2015 |


My there was a lot of eating done in the forth book of the Parasol Protectorate. I was shocked by the fact that Alexia wasn't confined, as was the custom in England during this era. I did find so much humor in the final chapters of the book, but I shall not spoil this humorous end. So please continue on with your day.
Cheers Pretties! ( )
  wickedshizuku | May 12, 2014 |
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» Add other authors (3 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Gail Carrigerprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Gray, EmilyNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Panepinto, LaurenCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ricci, DonnaCover modelsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Notation to the Records, Subject P-464-AT, Alexia Tarabotti
Archivist: Mr. Phinkerlington, junior clerk, aethographic transmission specialist, second class
Subject P-464-AT is with child, sire unknown.
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Book description
Lady Alexia Maccon, soulless, is at it again, only this time the trouble is not her fault. When a mad ghost threatens the queen, Alexia is on the case, following a trail that leads her deep into her husband's past. Top that off with a sister who has joined the suffragette movement (shocking!), Madame Lefoux's latest mechanical invention, and a plague of zombie porcupines and Alexia barely has time to remember she happens to be eight months pregnant.

Will Alexia manage to determine who is trying to kill Queen Victoria before it is too late? Is it the vampires again or is there a traitor lurking about in wolf's clothing? And what, exactly, has taken up residence in Lord Akeldama's second best closet?

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Lady Alexia Maccon, soulless, is at it again, only this time the trouble is not her fault. When a mad ghost threatens the queen, Alexia is on the case, following a trail that leads her deep into her husband's past.

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