Fantasy, romance, steampunk

Book Review: Heartless by Gail Carriger

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Title: Heartless
Author: Gail Carriger
Publisher: Orbit
Length: 448 Pages, Paperback
Genre: Fantasy, Steampunk, Romance
Rating: 4 Folded Pages

Warning: Spoilers for books 1-3 possibly in blurb and review!

Click to see previous book reviews for the series – First book: Soulless Second book: Changeless Third book: Blameless

Blurb:

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, 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?

Review:

More and more with this series I find myself both really enjoying and kind of not enjoying it. Heartless had me completely enthralled for the first 200 pages or so but then it got to the action bits and the climax and I sort of lost interest. I think I just don’t care for the way Carriger writes her action scenes but the build up is always a lot of fun.

As always, Alexia was delightful. I loved how it was obvious to everyone the pregnancy was effecting both her brain and her body but she refused to see it. It seems like something Alexia would do. She couldn’t believe she could change simply because she was pregnant even though she was definitely more forgetful and emotional. I really enjoyed seeing this side of Alexia.

Lord Akeldama and Floote were just as charming as before, too. Carriger has no problem building and maintaining interesting characters and I’m very glad to see this. However, Lord Maccon was absent just a bit too much in this novel for my liking, especially considering the previous novel had Alexia and Lord Maccon fighting and not being together.

I still really enjoyed this novel and once I have a small break from the steampunk I’m excited to read the final book in the Parasol Protectorate series.

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historical fiction, paranormal, romance, steampunk

Novella Review: Poison or Protect by Gail Carriger

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Title: Poison or Protect (A Delightfully Deadly Novella)
Author: Gail Carriger
Publisher: Self Published
Length: 150 Pages, Ebook
Genre: Steampunk, Romance, Historical, Paranormal
Rating: 5 Folded Pages

Warning: This novella contains explicit scenes not for people under 18.

Note: I received an Ebook Review Copy in exchange for an honest review.

Blurb:
Lady Preshea Villentia, the Mourning Star, has four dead husbands and a nasty reputation. Fortunately, she looks fabulous in black. What society doesn’t know is that all her husbands were marked for death by Preshea’s employer. And Preshea has one final assignment. It was supposed to be easy, a house party with minimal bloodshed. Preshea hadn’t anticipated Captain Gavin Ruthven – massive, Scottish, quietly irresistible, and… working for the enemy. In a battle of wits, Preshea may risk her own heart – a terrifying prospect, as she never knew she had one.

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Review:
For those of you who have been reading my blog for a while, you’ll know I read Carriger’s first three Parasol Protectorate novels last Summer. I loved Soulless and enjoyed Changeless and Blameless and because I reviewed previous novels, Carriger reached out to me to read and review her newest novella set in the same world.

I really enjoy Carriger’s world building. Even without reading previous works, the world is really rich. It’s full of steampunk and supernatural elements that made Soulless so endearing in the first place. A favorite character of mine even made a (brief) reappearance.

Preashea is my kind of woman; fierce and stubbornly independent. Her character made it all the more satisfying to watch the romance unfold. I liked being able to see the various depths of her character which is difficult to do in the short amount of time a novella provides.

Carriger seems to share my weakness for muscley Scottish men as well. First Lord Maccon and now Captain Gavin. Both of them are very swoon worthy but I think I actually like Captain Gavin more. He was sweet and understanding. I enjoyed that he was able to intuitively figure out what Preshea needed from him.

The romance was such a satisfying and slow build and the perfect read to pull me out of the reading slump I’ve been slowly falling into (again, I know!). I actually read the entirety in about 3 hours because I just couldn’t put it down. I now feel the urgent need to continue reading the Parasol Protectorate series. I forgot how much I enjoy Carriger’s writing, especially when it comes to the romance aspect.

I’m sure I would have read this novella eventually since I plan on working my way through all her books, but I’m so glad I got to read it now. It’s probably going to end up being one of my favorite books that I read this year and I’m excited to see future novellas from Carriger.

Fantasy, romance, steampunk

Book Review: Blameless by Gail Carriger

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Title: Blameless
Author: Gail Carriger
Publisher: Orbit
Length: 384, Mass Market Paperback
Genre: Fantasy, Steampunk, Romance
Rating: 4 Folded Pages

Warning: Spoilers for the first and second books possibly in blurb and review!

Click to see previous book reviews for the series – First book: Soulless Second book: Changeless

Blurb:
Quitting her husband’s house and moving back in with her horrible family, Lady Maccon becomes the scandal of the London season.

Queen Victoria dismisses her from the Shadow Council, and the only person who can explain anything, Lord Akeldama, unexpectedly leaves town. To top it all off, Alexia is attacked by homicidal mechanical ladybugs, indicating, as only ladybugs can, the fact that all of London’s vampires are now very much interested in seeing Alexia quite thoroughly dead.

While Lord Maccon elects to get progressively more inebriated and Professor Lyall desperately tries to hold the Woolsey werewolf pack together, Alexia flees England for Italy in search of the mysterious Templars. Only they know enough about the preternatural to explain her increasingly inconvenient condition, but they may be worse than the vampires — and they’re armed with pesto.

Review:
While this book didn’t live up to Soulless, it was better than Changeless. I feel like this says a lot but Changeless was really good until the last five pages or so. (sorry I’m saying this again but I’m still not over it.)

I liked that there was more action. I liked that Alexia’s views on life and herself didn’t change because of the baby but I also liked that she was emotional. Well, as emotional as Alexia can get. She cried and was upset about what happened with Conall but she was still practical and independent.

As usual I loved all the side characters. Madame Lefoux was hilarious and charming but still a bit mysterious. I also hold that Floote is still by far my favorite character in the series.

The plot was better this time and I definitely liked this ending more than the last one. I can’t really complain about much.

Then why only a four folded page review you ask??

That’s because something just felt kind of off for me. I liked the plot more. I liked that Alexia had more action but it also felt slow. Overall the characters were still mostly themselves but I think some of the characters had minor out-of-character (OOC) moments mostly stemmed from the OOC moments in Changeless and I didn’t enjoy that.

For me, this is a solid installment in the series but so far none of the sequels quite live up to Soulless.

Fantasy, romance, steampunk

Book Review: Changeless by Gail Carriger

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Title: Changeless (Parasol Protectorate #2)
Author: Gail Carriger
Publisher: Orbit
Length: 432, Paperback
Genre: Fantasy, Steampunk, Romance
Rating: 4 Folded Pages

Blurb:
Alexia Maccon, the Lady Woolsey, awakens in the wee hours of the mid-afternoon to find her husband, who should be decently asleep like any normal werewolf, yelling at the top of his lungs. Then he disappears; leaving her to deal with a regiment of supernatural soldiers encamped on her doorstep, a plethora of exorcised ghosts, and an angry Queen Victoria.

But Alexia is armed with her trusty parasol, the latest fashions, and an arsenal of biting civility. So even when her investigations take her to Scotland, the backwater of ugly waistcoats, she is prepared: upending werewolf pack dynamics as only the soulless can. She might even find time to track down her wayward husband, if she feels like it.

Review:
This book made me so incredibly angry. So angry in fact that after finishing this book at about 9:30 at night I couldn’t sleep. I dozed but woke up still super angry and unable to get back to sleep. I had to spoil the third novel in the series for myself just to get some shut eye. That’s how angry this book made me.

I won’t give any spoilers and the part that made me mad is such a shock that even though it made me incredibly angry my anger shouldn’t give an a hint as to happened. That being said, I do suggest NOT reading the blurb to Blameless unless you’ve finished Changeless because the blurb contains said angering thing.

Aside from being incredibly angry at this book I enjoyed the plot. I like the changed dynamic between characters that will go unnamed and even the character development of Alexia and other characters was amazing.

I do think this novel was a lot slower paced which is part of the reason this book didn’t get 5 folded pages. (Did I mention how incredibly angry I am??) I felt like the main action of this novel didn’t nearly equal that of Soulless and I’m saddened by it. I did still enjoy reading it though and aside from the incredibly angering part felt it was a good, solid sequel.

I’ve already ordered the ebook of Blameless from my library’s overdrive because I honestly can’t wait until I’m able to buy the paperbacks or for my library to order a physical copy from another in the system.

Fantasy, romance, steampunk

Book Review: Soulless by Gail Carriger

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Title: Soulless
Author: Gail Carriger
Publisher: Orbit
Length: 416, Regular paperback (not mass market)
Genre: Fantasy, Steampunk, Romance
Rating: 5 folded pages

Warning!: This book does contain some parts that aren’t for readers under 18.

Blurb:
Alexia Tarabotti is laboring under a great many social tribulations. First, she has no soul. Second, she’s a spinster whose father is both Italian and dead. Third, she was rudely attacked by a vampire, breaking all standards of social etiquette.

Where to go from there? From bad to worse apparently, for Alexia accidentally kills the vampire — and then the appalling Lord Maccon (loud, messy, gorgeous, and werewolf) is sent by Queen Victoria to investigate.

With unexpected vampires appearing and expected vampires disappearing, everyone seems to believe Alexia responsible. Can she figure out what is actually happening to London’s high society? Will her soulless ability to negate supernatural powers prove useful or just plain embarrassing? Finally, who is the real enemy, and do they have treacle tart?

SOULLESS is the first book of the Parasol Protectorate series: a comedy of manners set in Victorian London, full of werewolves, vampires, dirigibles, and tea-drinking.

Review:
I LOVED this book. No seriously. I didn’t go into it with high expectations. I don’t usually care for adult novels and the first 10 pages I was seriously worried Alexia would annoy but honestly it’s one of those books that I already want to reread.

Soulless had me smiling like an idiot into the pages. I kept wondering if people were looking at me while I was reading because I literally had to stop myself from giggling while in the quiet car on my way to and from work and it ended up sounding like I was choking.

But moving past fangirling, I loved the way Carriger wrote this. I’m not a huge fan of third person but the way she writes it barely bothered me at all. And while it was omniscient, there were still super suspenseful parts where I NEEDED to know what happened but the current focus was still just as good. Usually, I find that with books that switch POVs or are in third person omniscient, I lose interest if the focus goes somewhere else so the author can try to create suspense but that definitely didn’t happen with Soulless.

I also loved all the characters and boy does Carriger know how to create characters. I mean, I felt myself falling in love with even Floote the trusty butler who barely has more than a few paragraphs devoted to him.

As you can see by my obsessive (and probably incoherent I’m sorry) fangirling, I really loved this book and I can’t wait to pick up the others in the series. I’m super excited to read about the world in general since she has a Young Adult series built in the same world as well and a spin off from the series about a separate character!

So far the world and how the book is written kind of reminds of Deanna Raebourn’s Lady Julia series. I love that series and reading this is making want to reread that since it’s been so long. What a great way to pull myself out of the beginnings of a reading slump.