Lady Alexia Maccon is reduced to moving back in with her family. And it's all Lord Maccon's fault. It**warning: contains spoilers for books 1 and 2**
Lady Alexia Maccon is reduced to moving back in with her family. And it's all Lord Maccon's fault. It being common knowledge that Supernaturals cannot sire children. Her being increasingly *ahem* delicate (view spoiler)[- pregnant - (hide spoiler)]. And him of course being an emotionally turbulent werewolf, prone to jumping to conclusions in anger.
Poor Alexia, alienated from her husband, being the scandalous talk of the town, ousted from the shadow council by Queen Victoria, and suffering from morning sickness. Has no one to turn to, and no one to explain how she possibly got into this impossible situation, seeing as her friend Lord Akeldama has upped and left town. So of course the only choice, is to take a trip to Italy and get answers from the Templars. Taking the lovely, genius, inventor Madame Lefoux and the faithful Floote the butler with her.
I hope you paid attention to the spoiler warnings if you haven't yet read the first two books, as its completely impossible to write a summary without mentioning the improbable possibility of Alexia's supernatural pregnancy. (I'd like you to try saying that 10 times really fast).
Firstly I have to admit, I didn't enjoy this one quite as much as the last two. Mostly owing to the fact that Alexia and Lord Maccon are separated for the entire novel, and its their interactions that put the tasty topping on the book in my opinion.
Even though, Lord Maccon on his own is still entertaining, it's a dilemma not knowing whether to cry for him or laugh when he drown his sorrows in Professor Lyall's formaldehyde, poor guy, but he is to blame of course. And if he happens to lose Alexia to Madame Lefoux, it will be entirely his fault and I wouldn't blame Alexia in the least.
But Lord Maccon is nothing without Alexia, and once he gets that into his big hairy head, he may have a chance at being forgiven. I might forgive him I mean. Not telling if Alexia will. After all, she's got Pesto to keep her happy now. Pesto AND Madame Lefoux. Sometimes I really wish I were in Alexia's shoes.
I still think Miss Carriger is being a bit skimpy with the answers in this series. Even when the plot of the book resolves itself, too many things are still left mysterious. Yes I'm sure thats part of the pulling power of the series, but how long can one writer hold off for? I look forward to book 4 as soon as I can get hold of a copy!
Alexia Tarabotti, is awoken by her irate werewolf husband, who promptly dissappears, and leaves her with an encampment of soldiers and werewolves on tAlexia Tarabotti, is awoken by her irate werewolf husband, who promptly dissappears, and leaves her with an encampment of soldiers and werewolves on the front lawn, and instructions to visit a certain hat-shop. At the hat shop she makes the aquantence of Madame LeFoux, a fascinating suit-wearing mechanical genius, and gains a new parasol. Then when Alexia finds out about the problem of whole areas where vampires and werewolves are entirely losing their supernatural abilities.. and that this area has moved north to scotland, precisely where her husband has gone.. Alexia takes matters into her own hands, and takes a dirigible north, accompanied by Ivy Hisselpenny, her sister, Tunstall, and Madame LeFoux.
I enjoyed this book quite a bit more than the first one. Most entirely due to the introduction of the new character - Madame LeFoux. With her top-hats and suits, her mechanical prowess, and her subtle interests in Alexia; it wasn't so much openly noted that she was a lesbian, (but then it's never entirely openly said that Lord Akeldama is gay), but it doesn't need to be. Maybe I should be suprised about how much I can enjoy a book because of a single possibly lesbian character. But you just don't expect this in a popular paranormal book! And she was a well-written character, and certainly not one written for straight males, I applaud miss Carriger for this!
The plot was actually fairly good, and I was fairly suprised by the nice twist of the ending. I still wish the cause and the mechanics of this 'soulless' thing would be gone into in more detail, rather than just being a term for something she is, without any other repurcussions. I mean, the way things stand there is no evidence to say that she doesn't have a soul, and her powers could be explained just by any other meaningless arbitrary term. But I'm sure I said that in the first book review.. maybe book 3 will have more answers?
I'm still not entirely convinced on the style of writing, but thats just me. And I still have niggles about little things, (like calling a meal breakfast because they ate it in the morning, when really it can't be breakfast unless it's the first meal after fasting during sleeping - hence break fast). But, I am picky sometimes, thats just me.
Overall, I really thought it was a decent book, and you shouldn't let my niggles put you off, it's worth ignoring any possible failings and getting into!
Judging from other reviews, this is one of those marmite books, that you'll either love, or hate. Luckily for me I'm in the 'LOVED IT' group.
New CrobuJudging from other reviews, this is one of those marmite books, that you'll either love, or hate. Luckily for me I'm in the 'LOVED IT' group.
New Crobuzon is an immense city which is both filthily squallid and amazingly vibrant. Filled with a fantastic plethora of people and cultures. Artists and Scientist, Thieves and politicians (often the same thing), rich and poor, bug-people, cactus-plant-people, bird-people, generic humans, steampunk cyborgs (called re-made) and countless other wierd and awful things.
Issac Dan der Grimmnebulin is a sort of free-lance Scientist, who picks up an intriguing new client. A Garuda (bird-person) called Yagharek, who commissions Isaac to give him back the power of flight. Isaac throws himself into the scientific task, spurred on by three things; A love of impossible problems, the fascinating mysterious character of Yagharek himself, and a ton of money. (Yeh that would probably get me too).
Whilst investigating many different scientific options, Isaac comes into possession of a strange rainbow coloured caterpillar that refuses to eat anything but a psychotropic drug called 'dream-shit'. And with these two set-ups for the main plot line.. how could things ever NOT become interesting?
Big thanks to Nancy for recommending this book to me; I got completely hooked into this book. It took me a week to get through - it's fairly massive, and a bit tough to get into a first - but well worth the effort involved.
All the characters were brilliant and detailed, but my absolute favourite was Yagharek, the wingless Garuda. he's such a mystery in the beginning. And I found myself rushing through inbetween sections (as interesting as they were), hurrying to his next appearance and then reading voraciously for any hint and suggestion as to his background. Why and how did he lose his wings? What crime would be so great as to fit that punishment? Why do I have a crush on a fictional bird-person? These things kept me up at night until I closed the last page of the book.
I can't say the book didn't have it's flaws. The one thing that did bother me, was the the concept of the bug-people. (The other races I could actually accept). But the bug people.. the problem for me was that in this race, the females have a human female body, but their head is a bug. And the males are just a bug (no human parts). I find it impossible to imagine a species that could evolve this way, and I kept waiting for this to link in to some wierd science experiment in the manner of the re-made, which I thought would fit so well into the universe that it HAD to be the explanation. But either I missed it, or rendered it illegible whilst drooling on the pages reading about Yagharek, or it just wasn't there. A great pity.
A few words of warning for those who have not yet read this masterpiece; The imagery is so vivid and the setting so much a contrast of filth and colour that you may feel the need to wear gloves while reading, or store it in the fridge. There is a distinct lack of happy endings, please have a pack of kleenex to hand whilst reading. If a book is akin to a desert, I would term this a chocolate fudge sundae with sour skittles on top. NOM NOM! Enjoy :)...more
Alexia Tarabotti, is a half-italian, allegedly unnatractive, past-her prime (at 26) young woman. Living in Victorian britain. Who has nothing left forAlexia Tarabotti, is a half-italian, allegedly unnatractive, past-her prime (at 26) young woman. Living in Victorian britain. Who has nothing left for her in life, but to escort her younger and more eligible sisters to parties that she has no interest in (apart from the food, or lack thereof). She also happens to have no soul.
Then Alexia gets accosted by a hungry vampire in the library, and inadverntently kills him while fending him off. Vampires aren't actually suprising in this version of victorian society, nor in fact are werewolves. But what is mysterious is that the vampire was not sired by any other vampire, and was untrained and mostly unaware of his origins. This is the mystery. And that seems a good point to introduce Lord Connal Maccon, Alpha of the local wereworlf pack, and head of BUR (which stands for something pompous to do with paranormal investigation or beurocracy or spies or something). Maccon is apparently big, gruff, scottish, etc, everything that is expected of an Alpha werewolf. And Alexia and he don't get on at all, which is to say, they're blatantly denying the mutual repressed attraction for one another. Adventure follows.
Suprisingly, I gave this book 3 stars. I actually liked it. But I feel like I shouldn't have. I think this is similar to the reaction that some people have when you mention 'twilight' to them, they don't want to admit that they might actually have enjoyed it, or be tempted to read it if they hadn't, and their reaction is always over-emphatically "No, that stuff is awful". Well I rated twilight 5 stars, and I actually stand by that unashamedly, but this novel is different, this must be My version of the twilight dilemma. What I mean is, I feel slightly ashamed of my 3 stars. While I was reading it, my notes (yes I write notes now while reading) were largely about what was annoying, or just plain wrong about the book. And yet I ended up enjoying the thing anyway. I feel like a little bit of a literary failure.
So what was wrong with it? Well where to start.. Alexia is a spinster apparently, we get told this repeatedly, despite the fact that she's only 26 and as such is far from being past child-bearing age. Either this is part of the 'relate to the heroine because she's apparently unnatractive and unworthy but she proves them wrong' trope. Or the author just really loves the word 'spinster', like she loves all other unnecessary words being thrown about, without regard to conventional use or grammatical correctness, because it feels all victorian or something.
Many people have claimed that the book is very 'Austen', No no no no, it's not Austen at all. Thats the kind of thing you might say if you thought you knew or liked Austen, just because you've seen the crappy new Pride and Prejudice movie, or heaven forbid.. bridget jones diary. No it's not Austen. Not any more than Terry Pratchett is JR Tolkien. Not to say that either is worth less than the other, but really, to compare them like that is probably to an insult to at least one of them. This is not Austen style writing, and it's not Austen style wit. It does have it's own brand of humor, and it goes for a faux-period comedic style of writing, that I actually enjoyed, but it's certainly in it's own class, not miss Austen's.
The one thing that was most jarring about the writing, and stopped it from being otherwise a fairly smooth read (despite ignorable grammatical errors), was the quantity of modern American terms used. I'm afraid to say that Alexia had 'jelly' on her breakfast instead of jam, and 'creamer' in her tea instead of just cream. Greatly spoiling the illusion of what was otherwise a fairly enjoyable alternate steam-punk victorian setting.
And so, it may have annoyed and irritated me like mad, it may have been stereotypical on the wallflower heroine/Alpha male hero romance front, Alexia's soulless state had a distinct lack of effect or involvement apart from one supernatural ability which could have been explained by any other non-explained-title, it may have misused and abused the english language.. But I admit. I enjoyed the damn thing. Because if I get over it, it's just fun, and it's got cool steampunk type things, and it's kinda quirky and it grows on you even if you really hate it, similar to a grumpy scottish werewolf I suppose.