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?
©2011 Hachette Audio (P)2011 Gail Carriger
One of the things I love about the Parasol Protectorate series is how Gail Carriger parodies different types of Victorian literature with each volume. Heartless is the Sherlock-Holmes-style mystery of the group and boy is it a good mystery! I certainly didn’t figure any of it out.
Due to certain circumstances that occur throughout the third book, which I will not spoil for those who have not yet read/listened to it (though what are you waiting for?!), Alexia takes up residence in a town house next door to Lord Akeldama (delightfully foppish rove vampire), or so it will appear to the everyone. She’s actually residing in Lord Akeldama’s second best closet. However, not long after moving in they are alerted to a plot to kill the Queen and thus, as muhjah, Alexia embarks on a hunt to solve the mystery.
As I said, the mystery is a good one, particularly as it reveals some very interesting facts about Alexia’s father and about an assassination attempt that fans may remember being previously mentioned. It’s also lovely to be back in London again with both the werewolves and vampires of the town. Whilst I loved Changeless and Blameless, I did miss the Westminster Hive and the interactions between Conall (when he’s sober) and his pack. Speaking of pack interactions, we really get a closer look at the relationships of the Woolsey pack, which is something I really enjoyed, especially with how Conall is trying to handle the unexpected new member they gained at the end of Blameless.
The story’s climax is brilliant. It is full of drama with so many things happening that you just can’t put it down because you want to know how it is all resolved. There were some things I found a little sad (don’t worry; it’s not what you might think!) but at the same time I am desperate to see how the new situation that arises from it will play out in the final instalment.
As for Emily Grey's narration, her voice is the perfect for this story. She does a wonderful Alexia.
flew through this series. Emily Gray is fantastic and her performance really reinforced the era and characters of this engaging book. Bustles, etiquette and humour. Loved it.
yes, provided they are already familiar with the characters involved
I'm torn between Connal and Lord Akildama...
yes; others in the series equily well read
The last line made me laugh out loud!
An excellent series, but not easy to jump into the middle of.
The narrator perfectly captured the characters and the intonation was great. Brilliant story in a great series.
Siouxiebloo... I am a total & utter bookworm, reading Chicklit through to Classics & am always looking out for any up & coming new writers!
What can I say but this is the fourth in the series & I cannot wait to start the fifth!
Gail Carringer just joins up each book seamlessly with a style all of her own!
As usual the narrative style of Emily Gray just brings each character too life & as you listen to her telling these tales you find yourself chuckling when your meant too , listening pensively at others & as always not wishing for the narrative too end.....
What s delightful story. Listening again to this dynamic & expressive reader. Looking forward to the next book.
I have the first 3 books in the series, and the audiobook is proving a great way to get the fourth. I haven't reached the end yet, but the narration is perfect. The series are based on a alternative history, where supernatural beings are an accepted part of Victorian Britain. Techological innovation has gone down an alternative route of clockwork creature, automatons, dirigibles and the female equivalent of James Bond's gadgets is a parasol with extras. A comedy of manners, combined with vampires, werewolves and mysteries. It's not like most other books! Definitely worth a listen.
"Do You Love to Laugh?"
This book is hilarious. Do not take it serious. It is Steampunk meets PG Wodehouse and Urban Fantasy crossed with Jane Austen. I love her and even my 60 year old mom who hates Vampires loves all the books start with Soulless and then continue to Changeless then Blameless and now Heartless. Emily Gray is one of the best narrators out there. The only downside to this novel is that I have to wait until March to find out what happens next.
"The fun is BACK!"
The fun is BACK. I think it is the best book in this series. It was a very quick ride all the way through. The last chase scene in London and to Lord Maccon's castle was exciting and reminded me of Testujin 28go a Japanese classic animation.
I also loved the part where Lord Maccon tried help and shield poor Biffy to adjust to werewolf life. One of the funniest scene is when he tries to explain to Alexia why Prof.Lyall cannot be Biffy's lover, "he's too beta." Fortunately for me this made sense, but for Alexia it did not. I don't think she ever understood. LOL
I was also happy to see a lot of Lord Akeldama and enjoyed his overly dramatic words and acts. I was also impressed with Lord Akeldama's intricate and complex scheme from the beginning to the end. What political savvy! Well done.
As for the baby wow what a XXX!
Now I can look forward for more with anticipation!
"Might be your five star cup of tea."
Gail Carriger's writing style is clean, and seamless. The plot progresses in a series of cameo's, introducing you into Carriger's world. It feels as if an absurdist steampunk comic book has been buried in layers and LAYERS of etiquette, and this is the result, The concerns of propriety are convincing of the English upper class in this alternate history's time period. The book values the tragedy of scuffed boots, or the scandalousness of a smudge on a man's face, as it does a murderous rampaging multi-story anthropomorphic contrivance.
Fancy words are used, and you'd definitely come away from this novel inclined to exercise a greater portion of the English language. The idea of werewolves caring about their crevats, or the state of their parlors, or executing the fluff necessary to function in Carriger's high London society, I have trouble buying into it.
Emily Gray's voices can get high pitched. The tone's convincingly reflect the physiognomy of the character (annoying characters SOUND so f'ing annoying). It's often hard to tell who is speaking, her accents and tones rubber band around.
This book DESERVES a 5/5 on story at least, but I just couldn't take the slow crawl, the weak plot arch, extensive character descriptions/backdrops, long-winded hedging dialogue, and all the impersonal focus on etiquette. Perhaps, if there had been a break, where some 'middle-class' or 'lower-class' or for me 'normal' people had been involved, I would be biting at the bit to read on, in this series, but it's just not for me.
May be an excellent read for you, though, especially if you're into monarchy reads, steampunk, or high society mysteries. Carriger has written a pretty original alternate history world, in this series, and she never breaks from it.
"A Blindside and a Baby"
I've already said in other reviews how entertaining and consistent this series is. I *love* it and will listen to these books over and over. Heartless had some impressive twists, an absolute blindside, and an adorable addition to the family. Time to download the last book!
"Excellent series and narration"
I love this serious, Emily Grey is a fantastic narrator! The only thing i'm questioning in this book is the pronunciation of Lord Akeldama's name. It was pronounced (a-key-el-da-ma) for the first three books and now its being pronounced (akel-dama). I just thought it was strange that they would change it up for the fourth book. Odd, isn't it?
"Fun and perfect for lovers of the series"
Humorous, light-hearted, well-read
The octomaton storming London, and the loss of the parasol!
Alexia's drawn out and chaotic labor.
Alexia's devotion to the pack, and especially Biffy.
I would suggest you read the first three books before listening. (Hopefully they are recorded soon!) The characters, plot and world of the novel might not be very clear without this fore knowledge.
"I can't wait for the next book!"
The parasol protectorate is back and formalized. In Heartless, Alexia spoils a regicide scheme and gestates while dodging vampire conspiracies. This installment of Gail Carriger???s brilliant series also illuminates Mr. Tarabotti???s past. All of the loved and favorite characters are back. Specifically, Professor Lyall, Biffy, and the infant inconvenience take center stage, but Felicity, Ivy, and Major Channing also divulge their own special brands of insight, and the Macon passion shines through the narrative. All in all, this is an excellent addition to the series and is a ???must listen???. I cannot wait for Timeless! Emily Grey is also back and competent as ever.
"The story unfolds"
First off, you really need to read the first 3 books of the series before this one will make sense.
It's pretty clear that we are building up to a bigger climax in the final book. The humour is growing a little stale after 3 books (although there is a new element to joke about---Alexia's almost-completed pregnancy). Meanwhile, Alexia solves some problems and creates new ones. The Grand Mystery is unfolding and some of the questions that we thought were solved in previous books are raised again. (You REALLY have to have read the previous books for this to make sense.)
One big plus is that this book focuses a good deal of time on one of the more interesting secondary characters: Lord Akeldama (who was almost entirely absent from Book the Third). I like the fact that we don't have His Lordship's full biography, but we get some interesting hints about the vampire he is...and the man he once was. And, just generally, he is an amusing player to watch---clearly, the author had lots of fun writing his dialog and I had fun listening to it.
I'm finding the series enjoyable in a light, beach-reading kind of way: amusing, reasonably well-written...and mostly harmless.
The series finishes with a fifth book and, if you've gotten this far, you probably want to finish the series (I did, and yes, it really does end after five books).
I'm still of mixed opinions about Emily Gray's reading. She gets many of the characterizations nailed down well (Lord Akeldama being excellently delivered), but I think she does a so-so (at best) job with the Scottish and French accents, when required. This book required less of that than the previous two, but it was still a distraction when Lord Maccon was being read.
"Great stories in this series"
Great leading lady. Good narration. A little bit lost on the male lead's voice but does not distract. Start from the beginning.
"Witty and Surprising"
This is the first book of the series I’ve listened to in audio format. A risky proposition for book four when you already have a feel for how the characters should sound. But Emily Gray is a truly marvelous narrator and brought the parasol protectorate world alive. Heartless is as witty and surprising as I’ve come to expect from this author and delivers some surprising twists to set up the last book in the series.
In this latest installment of Carriger’s steampunk series, Alexia and Conall are reunited and preparing for their new addition. But it’s not all hearts and flowers for those two- someone is trying to kill Queen Victoria after all, and Alexia is on the case. Along the way, Alexia makes some personal discoveries and uncovers secrets about her close associates. I’m glad I waited to read this book until I had the last book in the series on hand because this book made me eager to keep reading.
I like the mystery of this series, the charm, and the setting, but the characters are I think my favorite part. They are so exaggerated and make the books so much fun to read. And even in book four we find out some unexpected tidbits about familiar characters. Ivy and Lord Akeldama are in fine form in Heartless as usual, and Biffy also becomes a more central character. I was pleased to find out the origin of the “Parasol Protectorate” in this one and I liked the way the amusing way the secret unfolded.
Emily Gray reads the audiobook and deftly handles all of the different characters and accents. Listening to the books is really a treat and made me wish I’d listened to the whole series. Gray has a great grasp on the characters and captures all the right nuances. The voices are distinct and consistent and she reads with a brisk, even pace. Lord Akeldama and Ivy sound just how I’d imagined, and I also enjoyed her no-nonsense Alexia as well as all the other characters.
I don’t read a lot of urban fantasy or steampunk but for some reason I can’t resist this fun series.
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