Back for more with Alexia in the third book of the Parasol Protectorate series by Gail Carriger, narrated by Emily Gray.
With Alexia’s newly revealed pregnancy, and Conall’s belief that she has “cheated” while utterly discounting her soulless nature making a pregnancy possible, she’s about as downtrodden as she allows herself to get. And, most of her issues are with the “infant-inconvenience” and its effect on her appetite and enjoyment of food. So, we are treated to frequent moments and comments about food – how much she enjoyed, misses or craves food, and the near constant upheaval her pregnancy has brought to that state. If that wasn’t bad enough, the Queen has removed her from the Shadow Council, and she can’t find her friend (and great answerer of questions) the vampire Lord Akaldema. In fact, he’s disappeared entirely, Conall is spending more time inside a bottle than out of it, dear Professor Lyall is trying to keep the Woolsey werewolf pack in some sort of order, and the vampires want Alexia dead.
Off she trots to her family’s home, causing no little scandal in the drawing rooms of London, but her place there is tenuous and rather tension-filled, at best. We won’t even mention the mechanical ladybugs bent on killing her on the coach-ride: or the fact that even with capturing one of the tiny assassins, she’s no closer to discovering why she (and her unborn child) have been marked for death. She’s not taking any of this sitting down though, and soon heads to Italy for answers, taking her father’s former valet, Floote and Madame Lefoux along – looking to find answer’s in her father’s home country: a solid thought as he was also soulless. Finding refuge of a sort with the Templars, they have the answers she seeks (or some of them) but also see her as an abomination, with their own plans to ‘take care’ of her. Oh Alexia isn’t without her own resources or far from her ‘parasol’, and she again needs to use her wits and cleverness to extricate herself from ever-increasing threats.
It’s not enough that she’s unable to enjoy her favorite activity, or that her husband is being a recalcitrant and unforgiving ass, or that the vampires want her dead – she’s also convinced she’s not a ‘maternal’ person, and can’t see that her having a child will result in anything more than additional trouble. Fortunately, for listeners, the dialogue (a highlight of Carriger’s books) is clever and often pointed, and Alexia’s interior monologue is worth everything – always. Still reeling and hurt from Conall’s rejection, she’s determined to fight for her marriage – and the confrontation with him, and his (as always) laying blame on her for ‘not convincing him well enough” made me want to slap them both- he should have groveled and begged before she forgave him – the old Alexia would have I think, but the never-ending series of hits, hormones and danger had her accepting Conall, flaws and all, without really making him take responsibility for his behavior.
Emily Gray narrated this book, and as I have come to expect, her ability to present Alexia as she is, and then allow for the inclusions of emotions rather foreign to what we have come to expect is second to none. Adding in Conall in his shouty and belligerent phases, Lyall and his soft-spoken strength, and the other secondary and new characters all have distinct voices and are easy to understand, including those with and without devious intent. Another lovely combination of story and narrator, sure to please those who enjoy this series, even as Conall acted a fool more often than not.
Stars: Overall 3 Narration: 4 Story: 3
Author: Gail Carriger
Series: Parasol Protectorate #3
Also in this series: Soulless, Changeless , Heartless, Timeless
Genre: British, Historic Elements, Paranormal, Science Fiction / Steampunk, Victorian
Narrator: Emily Gray
Published by: Hachette Audio, Orbit
Published on: 26 September, 2017
Source: Hachette Audio
Audio Length: 11 Hours: 54 minutes
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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.
BLAMELESS is the third book of the Parasol Protectorate series: a comedy of manners set in Victorian London, full of werewolves, vampires, dirigibles, and tea-drinking.
A copy of this title was provided via Hachette Audio for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.