Book Review: Blameless by Gail Carriger

Orbit
355 pp.

Blameless (The Parasol Protectorate)In Blameless, we spend a great deal of time wanting to hit Lord Maccon upside thehead with a brick. (Okay, that’s probably mostly just me who wanted to do that.The opinions of others may vary.) Alexia has gone home to her family (who don’t want her around because she’s an embarrassment), she’s been fired from her position as the queen’s mujah and she’s “expecting.” Also, someone is still trying to kill her and her friend Lord Akeldama has fled the city leaving behind an extremely cryptic message. Meanwhile, Lord Maccon is drinking formaldehyde and making a complete ass of himself because he believes his heart is broken.(Neither anyone in the narrative nor I am very impressed with his angst.)

Alexia flees the country in the company of her butler Floote and Madame Lefoux. She has various adventures as she tries to find a way to prove that she is not an adulteress. (The purpose of this venture is more to rub Conall’s face in it rather than clearing her name. Werewolf Hubby was extremely nasty to Alexia, so she’s a little ambivalent about the entire marriage thing.) Her quest leads her to Italy and the Templars who have an immense hatred for werewolves and vampires, and seem to believe that preternaturals are unholy demons useful only for destroying the supernatural. Alexia learns a great deal about preternaturals in general and her father in specific.

Conall eventually swims his way out of his inebriation to feel concern for his wife when he realizes that Alexia has left the country because of the assassination attempts and because of his accusations. He is outraged to discover that the“potentate,” a vampire belonging to the Queen’s Shadow Council has ordered Alexia’s execution. Conall makes an effort to fix the mess he made of everything, locate the missing Lord Akeldama and incidentally rescue his wife.

This was another very fast paced book. The tone managed a good balance between the wit and humor of previous books with the more serious aspects of the rift created in the previous book. I liked Alexia’s ambivalence (mixed with concern) for her“infant-inconvenience.” The writer manages to paint a very scary picture of what could possibly happen, so we know that Alexia’s life (and sanity) could beendangered by her pregnancy. (It seems that female preternaturals can’t carry to term because preternaturals are extremely allergic to each other’s presence and the condition is extreme enough that Alexia would have miscarried if not for other important factors hadn’t been in play.)

There was a lot of interesting world building here. For various and sundry reasons I was reminded strongly of both Trinity Blood and Hellsing. (The connection is a very vague one however, and possibly more strongly influenced by Yen Press’ plans to turn the books into a manga series. I am VERY excited about this, by the way.)

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Filed under alternate history, fantasy, Gail Carriger, manner punk, Review: Book, steam punk

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