Mary Roach writes to inform you and entertain you at the same time. If the cover and the subtitle didn't tip you off, this is no serious academic book...moreMary Roach writes to inform you and entertain you at the same time. If the cover and the subtitle didn't tip you off, this is no serious academic book. She does have a very chatty writing style and the text is stuffed with irreverent and sometimes irrelevant footnotes, but the subject matter is too interesting and dear to me to give it less than four stars. (less)
Delighted! Delighted! I am delighted with this book! I admit I was suspicious at first - the steampunk thing, the ridiculous-seeming synopsis, and the...moreDelighted! Delighted! I am delighted with this book! I admit I was suspicious at first - the steampunk thing, the ridiculous-seeming synopsis, and the obvious Mary Sue heroine, but curiosity got the better of me. I was very pleasantly surprised. Soulless reminds me of early episodes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer or even Xena: Warrior Princess. Enjoyably, intelligently campy. The heroine, Alexia Tarabotti is swarthy, snarky, and has a big mouth to go with her big boobs. Gail Carriger's writing goes towards the direction of twee, but comes across instead as playful and funny. This is the first book in which I actually enjoyed the portrayal of werewolves. Maybe because I picture Lord Maccon as Gerard Butler before he got bloated and orange and did those idiotic rom-coms. Sigh. Finally, there are glorious descriptions of food, which I always love: p. 349-50 "There were galantines of guinea fowl stuffed with minced tongue quivering in aspic jelly and decorated with feathers made of lemon-soaked apple peel. No fewer than eight pigeons in truffle gravy nesting in coils of pastry made their apperance and disappearance. There were stewed oysters, fried haddock fillets in anchovy sauce, and grilled sole with peach compote... the Loontwill cook provided woodcock pie, roast pheasant in butter sauce with peas and celery, and a brace of grouse. Ther was a baron of beef, a forequarter of mutton glazed with red wine, and lamb cutlets with fresh mint and broad beans - all offered on the rarer side. Corner dishes included lobster salad, spinach and eggs, vegetable fritters, and baked potatoes... there were rhubarb tarts, stewed cherries, fresh strawberries and purple grapes, gravy boats of clotted cream, and plum pudding." Huzzah!(less)
Not as good as the previous book, Soulless, but still fun. I found the French lesbian inventor kind of annoying and there was not enough Lord Akeldama...moreNot as good as the previous book, Soulless, but still fun. I found the French lesbian inventor kind of annoying and there was not enough Lord Akeldama. I'm slightly flabbergasted at the strange ending. However, I will definitely read the next installment. (less)
Steampunk slapstick comedy with supernatural characters. That is the most succinct description I can come up with to describe Gail Carriger's "Parasol...moreSteampunk slapstick comedy with supernatural characters. That is the most succinct description I can come up with to describe Gail Carriger's "Parasol Protectorate" series. Blameless is the third book, and though it was not as good as Soulless, I did like it a little better than Changeless. The weakest part for me was the "science" of Alexia's soullessness, which I didn't really care to read about, and the DIRE lack of Lord Akeldama. The middle lagged for me but picked up towards the end. Thankfully, Alexia's inventor/scientist friend Madame Lefoux (hands down my least favorite character in Changeless) was not nearly as annoying as she was in the previous novel. I see that Lefoux is here to stay so I might as well get used to her. As with her previous novels, I expected Blameless to be a lot of fun, and Carriger did not disappoint.
Now, onto things out of Carriger's control. I never was a big fan of the covers but I do like the cover for Blameless, which has, in my opinion, the best cover of the series. And in response to a job well done, it looks like Orbit decided to actively come up with the ugliest possible covers that grow exponentially uglier with each successivebook, ja?(less)
Chatty, overuse of italics, many purposeful sentence fragments, sometimes tries too hard, sometimes very funny, overall entertaining, but takes rambli...moreChatty, overuse of italics, many purposeful sentence fragments, sometimes tries too hard, sometimes very funny, overall entertaining, but takes rambling to the extreme.(less)
If you're looking for historical authenticity in the Victorian England setting, this book is not for you. India Black is a playful murder-mystery narr...moreIf you're looking for historical authenticity in the Victorian England setting, this book is not for you. India Black is a playful murder-mystery narrated by a smart-mouthed madam of a London brothel named Lotus House. India Black's adventures starts when Sir Archibald Latham (dubbed "Bowser" by India), a corpulent member of the War Office croaks in Lotus House. Bowser's favorite activity at Lotus House was to dress up as Queen Victoria and be flogged by a whore in Prince Albert costume, so naturally, he was in black mourning dress when he keels over. This is the kind of humor you will find in this book.
The best parts of India Black were the first few chapters, which takes place in Lotus House. Unfortunately, when India left Lotus House and ends running all over England, embroiled in espionage plots between Russia and Great Britain, my interest waned. I didn't care much for the mystery itself and found myself chugging through the action sequences, mostly bored. (less)