Cannonball Read IV

A bunch of Pajibans reading and reviewing and honoring AlabamaPink.

Archive for the tag “parasol protectorate”

CommanderStrikeher’s #CBR4 Review #53: Soulless: The Parasol Protectorate – Book 1 by Gail Carriger

It took me a while to get into this book, but once I did, I couldn’t put it down.  This has been reviewed many times this year, and the premise sounded right up my alley.  Paranormal? Check.  Strong female heroine? Check.  Witty dialogue and snappy repartee? Check and check.  I described this book to a friend as “Pride and Prejudice” if Mr. Darcy was a sexy werewolf and Elizabeth Bennett could neutralize the supernatural.

Alexia Tarabotti is a 26-year-old spinster in Victorian London.  She is also opinionated, bossy, and *gasp* Italian.  She is also soulless.  Literally.  She has no soul.  This gives her the ability to neutralize vampires and werewolves with her touch.  This is a handy ability because London is simply crawling with unaffiliated vampires who seem to not care who they bite!  And in polite society!

This may not be an enduring classic, but I enjoyed the Hell out of it.  I am frantically reading through the series, and I recommend it to anyone who loves supernatural stories, strong-willed women, and Victorian Manners.

4/5 Stars

faintingviolet’s #CBR4 review #38: Timeless by Gail Carriger

At long last I made it to book 5 of the Parasol Protectorate series. We find Lady Alexia Maccon, formerly Tarabotti, ensconced in married life to Lord Maccon, alpha of the now London Pack. At the conclusion of book four, Heartless, the pack had been forced to move into town to accommodate swarming vampires and Timeless finds the pack and their alphas two years later dealing with their daughter Prudence and her adoptive father Lord Akeldama. All of it is very complicated and perhaps the reason why book four was my least favorite of the series. But Timeless does not serve its purpose as the final chapter in the Parasol Protectorate series.

This go around Alexia receives a summons from Matakara, Queen of the Alexandria hive and the oldest living vampire. The Maccons, along with the Tunstells and their acting troupe, whom they take along as cover, set out for Egypt where, inevitably, they encounter adversity, mystery and adventure.  The entire first part of this book is a retread and filler, with the author re-visiting some of the more memorable places and characters from the previous books – the hat shop now run by Biffy, the Woolsey Hive (with notable appearances from Countess Nadasdy and Mabel Dair), the fleeting return of Felicity Loontwill in a flurry of spite, the sudden reappearance of Lady Kingair and a single appearance of Guatve Trouve, in order to deliver a replacement parasol after the two intervening years to name just a few.

After the lazy intro, the meat of the plot and the wrap up were rushed and left this reader feeling emotionally manipulated. But the most disappointing thing of all is that the main mysteries of the books – the Order of the Brass Octopus, the nature of the soulless/soulstealers – remain unanswered pretty much completely, unless you count the fact that Alexia’s abilities are discovered to be cancelled out when she is submerged in water. We also spend no time further investigating the BUR or the Shadow Council, or any other aspects of the supernatural world in Carriger’s universe.

Noting all that, there is one storyline in the book that kept me from giving up on it entirely.  The relationship between Biffy and Lyall. It was nice to have a homosexual relationship which was genuinely sweet and not reduced to stereotypes. I also appreciated the elegant solution introduced by Carriger to deal with Connall’s immortality and that our protagonist never voices any concern about becoming more aged than her love. But the thing I like most is Alexia’s personality remains very much her own, with her own separate interests, friends and responsibilities.  I am however ready to be done with Alexia and her world.

This post, like all the others, is cross-posted

Malin’s #CBR4 Reviews #70-74: Once Burned by Jeaniene Frost, Timeless by Gail Carriger, Grave Memory by Kalayna Price, The Thief and The Queen of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner

More of my backlog being cleared, here are five more reviews:

Book 70: Once Burned by Jeaniene Frost. First book in new series of paranormal fantasy books, where a girl who channels electricity and can read the history of objects, and the vampireVlad Tepesh (who hates being called Dracula) fall in lust and get into hijinx. 4 stars.

Book 71: Timeless by Gail Carriger. Fifth and final novel in the Parasol Protectorate series. Fluffy fun. 3 stars.

Book 72: Grave Memory by Kalayna Price. Third book in a well-written paranormal series I discovered through Felicia Day. 3 1/2 stars.

Book 73: The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner. I wasn’t very impressed with this book the first time I read it, and nearly stopped reading half the way through. Boy, am I glad I stuck with it. Essential young adult literature. 4 stars.

Book 74: The Queen of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner. I loved this one the first time I read it, and even more on a second reading, when I really knew how clever and wonderful it was. Everyone should read this book. 5 stars.

Quorren’s #CBR4 Review #13 Timeless by Gail Carriger

I’m sure the sound I made when this came in the mail probably convinced my neighbors they lived next to a crazed banshee.  This was been one of my favorite series of ever.  I know it hasn’t gotten rave (or dismal) reviews on CBR, but something about this series just gets me.  The paranormal romance genre has become a bloated field as of late, but I think this series is a cut above the rest.  It’s leaps and bounds above the Twilight drivel and the author has a much better foundation of her mythos than Charlaine Harris.

In the fifth book of this series, Alexia and family are summoned to Egypt by the oldest vampire in the world.  Alexia’s daughter, Prudence, is a marvel of the supernatural world, coming from  soulless mother and a werewolf father.  There’s also the issue of the the god breaker plague spreading further through Egypt.

I really wish I could say more about the plot.  But the fact is, it was a mess from beginning to end.  It muddled through it until the last 1/3rd when everything happened much too quickly.  As the last book in the series, it’s a big let down.  I think part of the issue may have been promoting two secondary characters to main characters.  Don’t get me wrong, I love gay werewolf sex as much as anyone, but it would’ve been great if they could’ve gotten their own spin-off series or at least one book.

faintingviolet’s #CBR4 review #7 : Heartless by Gail Carriger

When I started the Cannonball Read last month I was so surprised to see how many people had trouble with the review; that reviews were the thing that kept people from making their goal, not the actual reading. I do now understand how that may happen. I finished reading Heartless almost a week ago and have been carrying it around in my purse as a reminder to write the review, the problem is I just don’t have much to say about the book.

Did I enjoy it? Absolutely. There were certain points in the story where I absolutely did not want to put it down and made excuses to keep reading. Was it earth shattering? Absolutely not. Nothing new happened here and no views about the world or writing were changed. Would I recommend it to a friend? Yep, and already have. Does it leave me wanting more? No, not really. That’s a bit of a copout. It did leave me wanting more, because Carriger has a habit of squashing the best action in the Parasol Protectorate books into the last 70 pages or so, but this could have been the end of the series given about 10 more pages dedicated to tying up loose ends.

Will I be reading Timeless when it comes out next month? Certainly. Will I be ravenously awaiting its arrival? No, I’ll be pleasantly surprised when the book gets passed down from my friend who’s reading them before me. I do look forward to more time with Professor Lyall (particularly after the revelations of his love life), Biffy, Ivy, and to a lesser extent Mme LeFoux and Channing. But I wonder after a rampaging octomaton, a political reshuffling, and the birth of the baby what could possibly be left to talk about?

Cross posted from my blog. Feel free to visit if you like.

 

faintingviolet’s #CBR4 review #05 : Blameless by Gail Carriger

cross posted from my blog

Everyone who I spoke to about the Parasol Protectorate series was absolutely right, book three of the series – Blameless – is better than book two.

But is that the best thing I can say about it? No, I can say better things.

The series is, quite rightly, set up around Lady Alexia Maccon the sometimes La Diva Tarrabotti. Alexia is a fun character to follow around, but by the third book (and over 900 pages together) she has begun to wear on this reader. So, it a turn of events which completely answers my previous whining on the subject, we get more of everyone else this go around. Carriger has finally fleshed out the characterization of her supporting cast of characters in this novel. We met wonderful caricatures of these characters in the first and second book, but it certainly took until the third for characters like Ivy, Professor Lyall, Madam Lefoux, and Floote to really come into their own.

Plot wise we have a new big bad, a new problem for Alexia to deal with (why does EVERYONE want this poor girl dead?), and new terrain to explore (hello Italy!), and a seeming impossibility to wrangle with.  I appreciate how much Carriger works to explain the world in which Alexia lives. In Soulless we learn that England is a highly integrated society both for the supernatural set and the scientific community, and that the United States does not work in the same way, being a highly conservative place.  In Blameless we also get a small glimpse into France (science seems to be all the fashion) and a larger look at Italy. Italy in the Parasol Protectorate universe in a highly religious, anti-supernatural place teeming with Templars on the hunt, and not necessarily the safest place for Alexia. But, with the disappearance of her would-be hero Lord Akeldama, she is a girl on a mission.

While I can find the descriptive language Carriger uses, at times, repetitive (how many times does Alexia really need to tell us that the Templars’ outfits look like nightgowns?) I do think this is a good book, particularly if you are looking for a quick fun read. And can make it past book two, which I suggest you do.

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