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Book Cover Image: Heartless by Gail CarrigerTitle: Parasol Protectorate #4: Heartless

Author: Gail Carriger

Synopsis (Courtesy of Powell’s Books):

“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: Alexia Maccon is back and bigger than ever. Her pregnancy has limited her mobility but has not affected her wit or her ability to get involved in the affairs of the pack or other supernatural beings. Things follow in their normal pattern when Alexia gets involved. In other words, hi-jinks ensue in the traditional soulless fashion – Alexia faces impossible, and hilarious, situations with her typical no-nonsense approach to life, as only she can.

Heartless continues with Alexia’s preoccupation with her infant inconvenience. Granted, it is difficult to  ignore any baby when one is eight months pregnant, but Alexia’s refusal to prevent the pending baby from interfering with her life continues to cause a chuckle every time it does. It will be quite interesting to see what happens once the baby is born.

Where Heartless gets its heart (pun intended), however, is the greater insight the reader gets into Lord Akeldama’s past. His history has always been mysterious, even to Alexia. However, through various events that occur because of the vampire reaction to the pending birth, the reader gets the chance to learn a bit more about him. While he remains as foppish and fashionable as ever, there is a surprising depth to him that peaks out at various times throughout the novel. The fact that there is more to be uncovered only increases the anticipation for future Parasol Protectorate novels.

Gail Carriger has managed, yet again, to create a fascinating and hilarious stand-alone novel while building upon the previous three novels and setting the stage for future ones. My love for Alexia continues to grow. One simply cannot take offense at her statements because she means absolutely no harm by them. Her relationship with her husband is endearing. Ms. Carriger excels at adding just enough puns, tongue-in-cheek nods to modern culture, and hilarity to create novels that are engaging, funny, and even timeless. We all need a little Alexia in our life.

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