Saturday, June 16, 2012
Timeless is the fifth and last book of Gail Carriger's series featuring Alexia Tarabotti, Lady Maccon, a preternatural--born without a soul--who lives in an alternate Victorian era where vampires, werewolves and other supernatural creatures have been accepted into mainstream British society. She is the wife of an Alpha werewolf and a member of Queen Victoria's Shadow Council.
It is two years after the events in Heartless, the Maccons' daughter Prudence is now a toddler and causing all kinds of havoc for her werewolf pack and her adopted father, Lord Akeldama, and his vampire home. Prudence, daughter of a preternatural mother and a werewolf father, has abilities even beyond those of her parents. When evening comes, she can take on the form of either vampire or werewolf with just an unprotected touch--at one point running loose through the streets of London as a cute, but undisciplined wolf cub. Alexia is just settling into a routine with her precocious child when the entire Maccon family is summoned to Egypt for an audience with the oldest vampire queen--Matakara of the Alexandria hive.
The Maccons set off with Ivy Tunstell, her husband, twins, nanny, and entire acting troupe as cover and Madame Lefoux in tow to see what the ancient queen wants with their young daughter. Before the adventure is over Alexia will use her brand new parasol several times, fall overboard from the steamship, and convince Lord Maccon to ride in a dirigible (werewolves never go aloft). There are abductions and deaths and near-deaths. Professor Lyall and Biffy are left behind in England to track down the murderer of the Beta werewolf of the Woolsey pack. All trails seem to lead to Egypt, Alexia's father, and the origins of the God-Breaker Plague....will they find the answers in time?
And so the last installment of the Parasol Protectorate comes to an end. It's been a very fun ride--a bit like the steam train contraption that takes Lady and Lord Maccon and their daughter Prudence to see Matakara, bumpy and rough in places, but fun and a good bit of high-class fluffy entertainment. Alexia is as witty and charming as ever. There is quite a bit of action and surprise and Carriger takes some very interesting liberties with a few of the characters. I was somewhat disappointed that so many loose threads were left dangling....Biffy and Professor Lyall. The little matter of Floote--and Alexia's father. The status of the God-Breaker Plague. How exactly a certain character survived? (The explanation given is just a little too pat.)
I thoroughly enjoyed Prudence as a toddler. It was good to see the hidden depths in Ivy--she's not just another gaudy hat. There was just a bit missing this time out, though. I much prefer Floote and Lyall at the Maccons' side helping them do battle than skuttling about in the background. There wasn't quite enough of the wit and humor from the best of the series. I would have liked this series to go out with a bang....as it is--a good sold three-star read, but not the spectacular grand finale I had hoped for.
Mrs. Colindrikal-Bumbcruncher has the taste level of an ill-educated parboiled potato. [Biffy] (p. 20)
Biffy didn't like enigmas--they were out of fashion. (p.21)
...she followed her husband dutifully, reflecting that this was one of the reasons she had married him, with the certain knowledge that life would never be dull. She often suspected it was one of the reasons he had married her as well. (p. 201)
Anything is possible with vampires. [Lord Maccon] (p. 203)