It’s been a long time since I went on a book series binge. When I was younger I could easily read an entire series within a week. Now, I find it harder and harder to find a series that really gets me hooked. Well, colored me surprised when I picked up the first book in the Parasol Protectorate series by Gail Carriger and instantly fell in love!
Soulless is about a woman named Alexia Tarabotti who has no soul. Hence the title. But in a world of vampires, werewolves and ghosts, this is not a bad thing. This book is one part steampunk, one part detective novel,with a dash of romance added in. Usually, I’m not a big fan of steampunk/urban fantasy in general, it just doesn’t float my boat so to speak. But there was something about Soulless that I really enjoyed. For one it’s a light fun read. Those 300 and odd pages flew by. Second, the writing is well done and super charming. I thought it was witty but not too over the top. This did not feel as janky (excuse my weird terminology) like most first books in a series, especially since I believe this was Carriger’s first published novel. My hats off to her! So, when I finished reading Soulless I quickly checked out the next book in the series.
Changless, the second book in the series was light on the romance, but still really fun. We follow Alexia who is now married to a werewolf, the handsome Lord Maccon, as she travels to Scotland. I liked Carriger’s world building expansion in this novel, and her take on an alternate London. We also learn more about werewolf culture, which was interesting. The steampunk in this series is light enough that I don’t feel overwhelmed. Or worse, bored. I’m sorry but I don’t care for technology to be over explained to me in books. This book does end on a BIG cliffhanger that had me literally rushing to the library the next day to pick up the third book.
Blameless, is book three in the series and sees Alexia traveling to Italy. Whilst this was a fun read, it is not my favorite in the series. Many of my favorite characters are missing in this installment, and it’s the interactions with her friends that makes Alexia really shine. I still really love the witty banter in these books and ever developing history of Alexia’s father, the mysterious soulless Alexander Tarabotti. My one problem with this book is the relationship between Alexia and her husband Lord Maccon. You see, Lord Maccon does something really shitty to Alexia in the previous book ( no spoilers) , and I personally think she forgives him way too easily in this book. Other than that this book wasn’t too terrible, and I still liked it as a whole even if it did talk about pesto way too much.
Heartless, book four in the series has a lot going on. I mean that in the sense that Alexia is running all over London in a comical position (again no spoilers) trying to discover who is plotting to kill the Queen. Say what you will about these books, but boring is not one of them. I had no idea where the plot was heading and was actually surprised at who the culprit was revealed to be. This series also is one of the few where I do not hate the side characters. On the contrast, some of my favorite people in the books are a flamboyant vampire and a butler whose a crack shot! I mean come on! Overall, the fourth book was heavy on vampires (which was a nice chance of pace) and set the series up nicely for the final installment.
Which leads me to book five, Timeless…..which I haven’t read yet! I know, I know, your saying Sandra, how can you review a series that you haven’t finished. My answer to that is “hey, I’m reading as fast as I can!” The book is sitting on my Kindle right now, waiting for me at home. I fully plan on binge reading it this weekend. So, stay tuned for my final thoughts on the Parasol Protectorate series!