Author: Gail Carriger
Series: The Parasol Protectorate #2
Published: 1 April 2010 by Orbit
Length: 388 pages
Summary :Alexia Tarabotti, 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. 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: Alexia Maccon is in yet another situation that the majority of Victorian ladies aren't. Her husband, wakes up shouting and then he runs off. The supernatural regiment has returned and is camping in her courtyard. Queen Victoria is angry. Werewolves and vampires aren't werewolves and vampires any more. With all of this, Alexia must go to Scotland, along with sister Felicity, hat insane friend Ivy, French maid Angelique, werewolf helper Tunstell, and mad scientist Madame Lefoux. Sounds like fun.
I really enjoyed Soulless so it made sense that I'd read this. It gets off quite quickly with its token wordy humour and parody of the British Empire.
New characters include not very likable Pack Gamma Major Channing and very likable Madame Lefoux. I think I'm slightly in love with her for the fact she's a cross dressing Victorian woman, with a love for messing with technology. Oh, and she customises a parasol and makes it into a weapon against the supernatural, enabling it to disrupt machines, produce stakes for werewolves and vampires, dispence acid and other things. She's one of the best characters in the series, I think. We also get Maccon's old Scottish pack-and a descendant in the form of a woman who's been leading the pack despite not being a werewolf.
There's a lot to be getting on with in terms of plot. The major thread is the fact that supernatural talents aren't working for some strange reason, which might set us up for later on in the series (what I've picked up from Timeless anyway).
We go further into Conall Maccon's past, meeting his old pack and learning the reason why he left. We get a fair bit of backstory to the maid at the end, after spending the first book and most of this as a minor character.
The writing is very full, with a lot of description for every little thing. Sometimes it slows the action down, but it gives a full view of this world, and if you read carefully (and don't skim it), there's quite a few gems of sarcastic witty lines, both in the dialogue and narration.
The ending is really sudden and not a good end to the novel. While it's a good lead on for Blameless, and it's a fairly major event and revelation that would definitely keep us waiting and wanting more. But it didn't get fully explored.
The alternative technology and explanation for things are developed further in this volume, with a lot of technology being houses in either Akeldama's or Lefoux's places. I love these steampunk devices.
Overall: Strength 4 tea to a novel of Scots, scientists, and characters that, by now, you'll be in love with.