Lady Alexia Maccon, soulless, is at it again, only this time the trouble is not her fault. When a mad ghost threatens the queen, Alexia is on the case, following a trail that leads her deep into her husband's past. Top that off with a sister who has joined the suffragette movement (shocking!), Madame Lefoux's latest mechanical invention, and a plague of zombie porcupines and Alexia barely has time to remember she happens to be eight months pregnant.
Will Alexia manage to determine who is trying to kill Queen Victoria before it is too late? Is it the vampires again or is there a traitor lurking about in wolf's clothing? And what, exactly, has taken up residence in Lord Akeldama's second best closet?
Gail Carriger writes comedies of manners mixed with paranormal romance (and the sexy San Andreas Shifter series as G L Carriger). Her books include the Parasol Protectorate and the Finishing School series. She is published in many languages and has over a dozen NYT bestsellers. She was once an archaeologist and is fond of shoes, octopuses, and tea. Join the Chirrup for sneak peaks of upcoming giggles: http://gailcarriger.com/chirrup
An absolute delight! I love everything about this series, but the melody of the language and turn of phrase, as over the top as they are, are definitely my favorite part of this wonderous world! Victorian England with ghosts, vampires and werewolves is a place I would love to visit, but as a guest to Lord Akeldama only, because he is a man after my own heart and he would be a lot of fun to hang out with. 🤩🤩🤩
"...“Good evening, Lady Maccon.” The vampire tipped his top hat with one hand, holding the door with the other. He occupied the entrance in an ominous, looming manner. “Ah, how do you do, Lord Ambrose?” “Tolerably well, tolerably well. It is a lovely night, don’t you find? And how is your”—he glanced at her engorged belly—“health?” “Exceedingly abundant,” Alexia replied with a self-effacing shrug, “although, I suspect, unlikely to remain so.” “Have you been eating figs?” Alexia was startled by this odd question. “Figs?” “Terribly beneficial in preventing biliousness in newborns, I understand.” Alexia had been in receipt of a good deal of unwanted pregnancy advice over the last several months, so she ignored this and got on to the business at hand. “If you don’t feel that it is forward of me to ask, are you here to kill me, Lord Ambrose?” She inched away from the carriage door, reaching for Ethel. The gun lay behind her on the coach seat. She had not had time to put it back into its reticule with the pineapple cut siding. The reticule was a perfect match to her gray plaid carriage dress with green lace trim. Lady Alexia Maccon was a woman who liked to see a thing done properly or not at all. The vampire tilted his head to one side in acknowledgment. “Sadly, yes. I do apologize for the inconvenience.” “Oh, really, must you? I’d much rather you didn’t.” “That’s what they all say.” ― Gail Carriger, Heartless...
Alexia is the most eccentric Soules person in the world and the most lovable at that. Her husband, the werewolf Alpha, is her perfect match and their love is a joy to read about. Honestly, this series is a ray of sunshine and a smile for a blue day. I recommend it for all those who love a witty repartee and characters you can grow to love. Enjoy!!! 👻🐺😈
Okay we are back in business. I did not really like #3 but this one is much better!
It seems the author has changed her mind about Connall and he has reverted to being sympathetic and kind. In the last book I think I described him as an oaf. Currently my favourite characters are Floote, Lyall and Lord Akeldama who provides most of the humour. I enjoyed seeing Alexia dealing with her silly sister too.
For most of the book Alexia is clomping around like someone carrying triplets instead of the one cute baby which arrives right at the end of the book. A bit of overkill there but the actual baby is the best! Where things are going to go from here I just cannot imagine. I have #5 ready and waiting.
I don't know what to think about this book. It's all over the place: the plot, the characters, the relationships.
There were a couple of times I hated what is happening. At one point of the story Alexia does something so stupid that later when other characters praised her for her ability to 'sort' things out, I couldn't buy it. The sorting part of the praise was undeserved.
Her pregnancy is depicted in the most annoying way possible. Alexia hobbles through the whole book. And I could have gone without numerous 'infant-inconvenience' references. Yes, we got it the first couple of times that Alexia is not, as a preternatural, a motherly material. And it was funny that first two or three times because it is Alexia.
Heartless reveals all kinds of secrets from the past. Alexia finds out more about her father and some other characters too. It is more than she expected. I won't get into any spoilers about that, but some of those secrets were simply out of the blue. It was as if the author wanted to insert that too into the narrative. Madame Lefoux plays a role in this book too. I never liked this character. Nothing in Heartless changes that. While I'm at it, I hate Alexia's sister too.
As for the book overall, you know when you read a story and you need something to happen to justify the time you spent being annoyed or angry or both? Well, for me this book has maybe one or two such moments (a reminder: when the wolves howled). Not everyone gets their deserved punishment in Heartless, though.
Also, That's another good point for the book.
I still can't decide. Heartless a combination of frustrating and sometimes even stupid characters and their actions (and not in an entertaining way), occasional hilariousness, heartbreak (Lord Maccon's attitude towards Biffy) and plain craziness. All I can say is that I did like it. Sort of.
Look, if you've made it to book four of this series, you know what you're in for. Vast quantities of absurd silliness. Lots of naked werewolves (played comedically, of course). Foppish vampires. Alexia being no nonsense and getting herself into all sorts of trouble. A supernatural threat that's not really a threat, but mostly just an excuse for us to hang out with these characters for four hundred pages. The Parasol Protectorate is not plot heavy. These are hang-out books, and if you happen to love the characters (as I do) that state of affairs works out just fine.
It's been about five months since the events of Blameless and Alexia is wandering around London eight months pregnant with some sort of supernatural baby. The vampires are still trying to assassinate her and said child, until that is the Maccons and Lord Akeldama strike up a scheme to have Lord Akeldama legally adopt their child. They figure the vampires will be placated if they allow their child to be raised under the influence of one of their own, but of course they also rent the house next door, and prepare to secretly live in Akeldama's house. So the bebe will have three strange parents.
Vampires taken care of, of course a new threat is looming along with the birth of her child. A ghost appears to warn Alexia that there is a plot to kill the queen afoot, and as muhjah it's her duty to investigate and prevent said event from occurring. It's a whole escalating thing with dirigibles and fires and rampaging giant metal octopus machines (cleverly called octomatons).
This book is perhaps the fluffiest of all the books so far. I do wish it had a little bit more emotional heft. I think she missed an opportunity with Madame Lefoux and Alexia's fractured relationship here, but I hope it's rectified by the end of the next one (not much time left, I only have 100 pages left in it).
I feel like I just started this series, and it's already almost over!
1) Finding out about Professor Lyall's past. It makes him a much more interesting character, not that he wasn't one of my favorites before. 2) The refreshing aspect of having an eight-months-pregnant heroine.
Here's what I didn't like:
Every single decision made by these characters that I used to like. For example:
For most of the book, I was wondering why they didn't just kill off the entire vampire hive and be done with it. They don't seem to have any redeeming qualities...and they're all a bunch of attempted murderers.
Initial Impressions: I 100% adored this and I will write a full review of it tomorrow (it's late here). I am going onto book 5 asap and just have to say this was by far the best in the series to date and I loved it!!!!
Full Review: Okay so I finished up this book and instantly went on to book 5. That to me is the sign of a very very good book because I like to plan out which books I shall read when, and if a book or series is good enough to make me deviate from that plan then it must be pretty amazing... and this one was!
This is once again the continuation of Alexia's story but in this book we have a lot more focus on our core group of characters and everyone is together again rather than spread out. We have some new additions into the group, and the introduction of them is fabulous, but also the general premise of the book and storyline was great.
The story of this book largely centres around Biffy and Alexia who both face their own trails and problems. Biffy is unadjusted to his new walk of life and doesn't know exactly how to fit in which causes stress and worry for him and many others around him. Seeing his plight and sadness was heart-wrenching because he's one of my favourite characters and he really is a star. I think he's one of the sweetest and most noble characters ever, and seeing him out of his depth and feeling so low definitely resonated with me.
As for Alexia, our Preturnatural (whenever she touches Vamps/Werewolves they tune back to humans), she's as commanding and fabulous as ever. She's feisty, she's strong willed and she know what she wants. She's very unafraid of showing her adoration of food, and she's equally happy with being who she is an feeling good in her own skin. By this point she has a solid group of loyal friends from both supernatural factions, vampires and werewolves, and she's a genuine and caring character.
Alexi is the main protagonist of the series and therefore she's always the one investigating the goings on and when we meet a disjointed ghost who doesn't really know what she's saying, but is trying to rely a message about a threat to the Queen, Alexia knows she has to spring into action and investigate.
I found this book to be by far the best one in the series up until now. It's so easy to slip back into the world of these characters now and enjoy being immersed with them and the dynamics and loyalties have been pushed, tested and extended up to this point to where we have a great group of characters.
The action and pacing of this one was brilliant and I flew through it, loving every page. There were some wonderful moments between Ivy and Alexia, some great development with Akeldama and Biffy, and some revelations about Channing, Lyall and Floote. All in all everyone and everything in this book was pretty much prefect!
I adore this series and it gets SO good as it goes on. I am currently reading book 5 and loving that one too, and I have no doubt that Miss Carriger will be a firm favourite of mine for a long time :) Highly recommended 5*s!!!
Gail Carriger is the most unique author I've ever come across. Her style is truly unparalleled in all of Fictiondom. She has immense talent for turning even the most mundane of things into the epitome of sophistication. If it wasn't for her writing, I doubt I would ever enjoy these books.
The Parasol Protectorate has the most original cast of characters ever. None of the characters in this series even remotely resemble any other characters out there, except for maybe Lord Maccon. And I simply love the way all her characters talk, all proper and formal. Even the boring act of wearing a hat is transformed into a vital crisis when it comes to the Parasol Protectorate.
Speaking of characters, my number 1 favorite side character belongs to this very fascinating world created by Carriger - Lord Akeldama. His excessive use of endearments, his outrageous style of clothing, his fascination with gossip, his very, very eccentric personality in general, all make up the extremely complex and hilarious character that is Lord Akeldama. He is the reason I couldn't stop laughing throughout Heartless.
I loved, loved, loved this one! (Can you tell I really liked loved this one!haha!)My favorite in this series so far. Everybody and their mother needs a Floote by their side. And Lyall, my poor Lyall(I seemed to be repeating myself), his backstory brought me to tears. Mrs. Carriger, if you have any sympathy for the condition of my state of mind and the welfare of my kindle, please, please, please give Felicity a very slow and painful death!!!
I think Heartless might be the best of the series so far. I especially liked that the romance has taken a little bit more of a back seat here since we get a little more adventure than before. Genevieve continues to be one of my favorites, and now I'm really feeling for Biffy's predicament. Plus, I think I'm really going to like Prudence.
This was the first of the Parasol Protectorate books I read in paper; the others were all audio, where I loved the narration by Emily Gray. Reading it myself meant doing all Emily's voices in my head which proved a bit exhausting, but well worth it. The ongoing soap opera of Alexia Maccon and company in Carriger's Urban Fantasy/Steampunk 1870's London is always a delight.
This is the first book in this series I actually enjoyed *less* upon rereading. I still think this is a solid book, with a lot happening. The world continues to be expanded upon and I'm interested to see where our characters go next.
But one thing that became glaringly obvious upon my reread is that this series is sorely lacking in genuine, heartfelt moments between characters. Even when the plot and the character's sentiments would seem to call for one. The ones that do exist are quickly turned towards more sarcasm and witty remarks. Don't get me wrong, this style of writing and the humourous storytelling are what make this series so enjoyable to me in the first place. But including some more "real" moments in the mix, where the characters show and share genuine emotion and vulnerability, would not only make them seem more like actual people but also show a bit more range on the author's part. I know she can write funny, witty, slightly ridiculous scenes. But there were a lot of opportunities in this series, specifically in this book, with people trusting someone and then being betrayed etc., that would have been perfect for showcasing a bit more depth. Instead they were quickly brushed aside in favour of more of the same. It's disappointing to say the least and does heavily detract from my overall enjoyment of the book.
Read for the first time in January 2015:
Heartless is so far my second favourite book in this series, right after Soulless.There's a lot going on again but some of the cohesiveness that book 3 was lacking has fortunately returned. I don't know how Miss Carriger is doing it but somehow she manages to just keep plot and wit and entertainment coming, like a never-ending stream of awesomeness.
At first I was slightly worried about having a book centered around a pregnant heroine because it doesn't exactly scream adventure and excitement, but as it turns out I was mistaken. Fortunately for all of us Alexia was as impulsive and head-strong as ever and simply kept on ignoring that slight detail. So. Much. Fun. I literally don't want to ever do anything else besides read these books.
OK, so much as I love the characters, I have to admit I was a teensy bit bored throughout most of this book.
Alexia is very heavily pregnant in this latest instalment but she does not let the infant inconvenience get in the way of her usual antics, investigating a warning by a nearly demented ghost that an attemt on the Queen's life is being planned. Alexia and Connall are completely reconciled with barely a mention of his inexcusable (in my view) behaviour in the previous book, the vampires are continuing with their attempts to assassinate the unborn child (the nature of which still remains largely mysterious) and, by proxy, Alexia until an ingenious (although, personally, I thought it was rather crappy) solution to appease them is proposed which leads Lord and Lady Maccon to move into Lord Akeldama's closet and Madame Lefoux appears unusually distressed and preoccupied.
I thought the pacing of this book, overall, was very slow. The plot line took forever to get anywhere and the things that were revealed about Alexia's father seemed somewhat irrelevant and inconsequential. By this point in the series, I was kind of hoping we would learn more about Alexia's soulless state, the reason why Floot keeps so conspicuously schtum about Mr. Tarabotti and the nature of the child. However, no such luck.
I was also somewhat taken aback by some of Alexia's decisions and actions. Her rushing to the aid of Countess Nadasdy who has tried to get Alexia killed on countless occasions felt especially unrealistic.
The cover deserves a particular mention as well, in that I cannot believe how excruciatingly awful it is. The lady on the cover looks half bold and dressed for a Christmas panto performance. It really was not helpful to have that ridiculous image imprinted on one's mind when reading the book.
Heartless is still pretty fun, but the humour of these books is getting a little tired. For one thing, it relies on apocryphal stuff about the period (no, table legs were not considered indecent) and silly humour. And a lot of the humour in this book is basically “haha, Alexia is pregnant and huge, hahahaha”. I get that it’s a bit difficult to have Alexia up to her usual tricks without some glossing over of the fact that she’s eight months pregnant here, but yeesh, stop hanging lampshades on it, we get it.
I didn’t think much of the mystery plot, either. Mostly because I didn’t believe that particular character would be so rash and stupid, when we know they’re fearsomely intelligent. It’s like spectacle took second place to believability — which isn’t surprising for the Parasol Protectorate books, since they’re knowingly absurd, but there’s a point where it becomes too much.
What did I like about this book? Well, Genevieve’s love for her son; Akeldama’s relationship with Alexia continuing to be special; Biffy and Lord Akeldama’s doomed love; Alexia’s grit; Professor Lyall. I remain fond of the characters here, primarily, while aspects of the world/writing are really beginning to drive me round the bend — and I wasn’t 100% on board to begin with. Probably not even 60% on board. I’m not fond of absurdity, really.
I am going to read Timeless, because there are some character developments I look forward to, and at least Alexia won’t be pregnant anymore.
Well, my little plum pastries, what larks we have had!
This book was possibly my favorite of the series so far, having featured copious amounts of Lord Akeldama, Biffy, Alexia having her sensibilities offended, and a riproaring good mystery to boot!
And not just the one mystery, my fluffy ducklings, but several mysteries are unraveled concerning Alexia's late father, Professor Lyall's past (and frankly, I could not get enough of Lord Akeldama calling him Dolly), and what to do with poor Biffy.
Hats are worn, mocked, and more shockingly: NOT worn when they should be. As are other items of clothing. Alexia is very (hilariously) pregnant. Hairmuffs come back into fashion. People turn into wolves. Ghosts turn into aether. Frivolous society ladies turn into spies. And the least likely person imaginable turns into a vampire drone.
The only downside: I have to wait until March for TIMELESS.
I dunno, if you’re gonna give me a steampunk octopus rampaging across Victorian London and battling werewolves, it’s gotta be with more conviction than that.
This series is like waxed fruit: it’s decorative, it’s pretty, it suits only very particular esthetics. And you really, really don’t want to do anything other than look at it once in a while and go, “yeah. Wax fruit.”
This one gets a solid four stars, perhaps even leaning toward 4.5
Splendidly woven, and everything seemed to come together so well in the end. Felicity drove me up the wall, Mme Lefoux remains delightfully ambiguous, and Alexia kicks so much ass. Floote was also a huge stand-out in this one, I was hoping he would get his moment eventually; he and Lyall are my favorites.
I don't know exactly what to write here. I know that overall I enjoyed the book well enough to rate it a Goodreads three. I know that I'm excited to find out what happens next in the world of the Tarrabotti/Maccon's. I'm curious what will happen to Biffy and Akeldama and hell, even Felicity is interesting enough to follow.
There was something missing from this book. Some spark, some thing that I can't put my finger on. I was confused during this book, which never happens in Carriger's other works. There was a moment when Alexia was referring to herself in the third person, which I know was deliberate upon re-read, and I understood what the author was trying to do - on my third re-read, but I'm sure there was a better way to illustrate the notion.
Some things that bugged me:
The first half of the book It had nothing to do with the second half, or at least, had so very little to do with the second half. If the latter part of the book was the meal, then the first half was that bit of parsley that you enjoy looking at but don't really need. I enjoyed finding out more about Conall's past and delving deeper into Lyall's character and it was amusing to watch Alexia toddle to and fro but it would have made an excellent short story. There was very little connecting the first part to the second part. Two different mysteries and neither one had anything to do with each other = short story collection.
Biffy Just eat him already
Felicity see the above
Things that were very good
Akeldama though I have my qualms with this character I still enjoy him. He is sly and the master of deception (and karate*) and I love how he and Alexia interact. In fact, I love how he interacts with everyone because behind every "dandelion" or "cream drop" he is calculating and filing away information. He allows Alexia in enough that the readers get to see a different side of him then say, Conall. . He can be a bastard but a subtle and loveable one.
Lyall we saw a different side of him in this book and I appreciate how it was done .
Conall Again, another character that we saw the softer side of. It was well done and welcome, considering how much I wanted to shoot him in the last book
Alexia's pregnancy was handled in the typical Alexia way which made you laugh but also made you groan. At some points, you just want someone to slip her some laudanum so that she can rest. The relationship between Conall and his pack was a bit of good fun to watch unfold.
As I'm writing this, I realize that this book is more about secondary characters and their growth as well as what their issues are doing to Alexia but it's not really about Alexia, per se.
This is the weakest book in the series in terms of plot development but the strongest in terms of fleshing and growing the secondary characters.
Observations about Heartless by Gail Carriger.....
1.) The cover is wack. The models on Soulless, Changeless, and Blameless looked like they could kick your butt, admonish your improper behavior and have a spot of tea all without missing a beat. The woman on the cover of Heartless looks like she'll burst into tears if you look at her funny. Wack.
2.) The humor is spot-on--Alexia waddling around London, thwarting would-be paranormal crimes with a massive pregnant belly barely slowing her down. The characters are brilliant--the effeminate vampires, lesbian steampunk inventor, over-protective alpha werewolf hubby, catty suffragette sister, and best of all the no-nonsense soulless heroine. The storyline has ups and downs....interesting investigations, fabulous climatic scene at the end with the octomaton rampaging through town, but also occasionally bogged down by too much paranormal political stuff. Pacing slowed a bit in the middle, was just perfection at the end. With a killer cliff-hanger.
3.) This series is straight up the most original, clever and humorous bit of storytelling in the romance genre. Although it is truly a mish-mash of romance, steampunk, paranormal, historical and comedy. It's quirky. It's well-written. It's got Penny's Seal Of Approval.
4.) I was heartily disappointed with the lack of romance in Blameless. Due to a totally exasperating misunderstanding, the hero and heroine were apart for the bulk of the book. Heartless was an improvement, although still not enough for my romantic inclinations. It is definitely a sexy story, but I just can't get enough of Conall the gruff and grumbly werewolf. More, more, more!!!!!
5.) Favorite lines....
"No wife. I mean to say, you are not exactly up to your usual galavanting about London with parasol at the ready, now, are you?"
Alexia glanced down at her overstuffed belly and then got that look on her face. "I am entirely capable."
"Of what, waddling up to someone and ruthlessly bumping into them?"
hee hee heeee.....
And I love this line, too. Leave it to Alexia to tell it like it is.
"Goodness," said an exhausted Lady Maccon, "are babies customarily that repulsive looking?"
Why yes, yes they are. ☺
Looking for an entertaining steampunky historical romance with a kick-ass sense of humor? Look no further.
Good title. Alexia is heartless and so is the plot. Imagine having a friend who goes mad with grief, because her child was kidnapped. What do you do? You make her a slave of your own enemy for 10 years or so. Meanwhile, your own child’s life is being threatened, but you protect the people who are threatening her, and provide them with shiny new headquarters. And a new slave to boot. Because they are aristocrats. At the same time, working people – servants etc. – are referred to as “unsavory characters”. Huh?
So Alexia is not only heartless, she is also headless. Am I to believe that an expert on supernaturals and preternaturals and other strange creatures doesn’t know what happens when you let a vampire in? And why is she suddenly such a fan of vampires? Are they any good? Fashion sense? Maybe Lord Akeldama, if you don’t count his highly irritating way of speaking. Countess Nadasdy has no fashion sense, she’s useless.
OK, I’ll read the last book, because I want to see Madame Lefoux spit in Alexia’s face. Not that I have much hope. On the whole, “boys”, that is, male gay characters, get much better treatment than female ones. Ugh.
I've missed them all so much! I love all the characters! They are so unique and well characterized that they are amazing! And Carriger's writing is humorous and original and quite quirky. I loved it! It's a book full of revelations and full of events, too. And it make me smile on more than one occasion. Alexia is quite peculiar but awsome! And Floote is simply the best!
Mi erano mancati veramente tantissimo tutti quanti! E lo stile dell'autrice! Come ho fatto ad aspettare tanto prima di decidermi a continuarla?!?! Ogni personaggio è unico, decisamente originale e molto ben caratterizzato. Ho amato ognuno di loro (o quasi). E' un libro ricco di rivelazioni e di avvenimenti. Succedono tantissime cose! Ed è riuscito a strapparmi ben più di qualche sorriso. Alexia è veramente particolare, ma è fantastica. E Floote... lui è semplicemente il migliore!
I've been listening to all the Parasol Protectorate books by Gail Carriger and they're just plain fun. The reader is perfect and she makes me laugh out loud while I'm driving. I love the characters and the setting and Heartless was another great installment in the series. I'm really hoping for more books!
The Good Conall and Alexia’s romance is back on track and continues to be one of my favorite things about this series. They bicker throughout, but the affection is deep and comes through in every scene. Ms. Carriger still has a few plot twists left in her reticule and yes I continue to enjoy those twists and how they will impact the overall series. The writing really is so strong.
The Bad and Everything in Between I couldn’t get Heartless by Kanye West out of my head whenever I saw the title of this book. Was it just me? Probably. *shrugs*
Seriously though, the secondary plotlines, in particular the one with Madame Lefoux wasn’t my favorite. The story dragged at parts and when the ending finally came ‘round, I was just ready for Alexia to have that baby. And yes, while I loved the writing, the only thing I wanted a little less of Alexia waddling, tottering, bobbing, weaving and basically being unwieldy while she’s pregnant. It was cute at first, and then I got tired of reading about it.
3.5 stars I still love Conall and Alexia alot and the suspense part of the plotlines continue to keep me on my toes. The whole cast of characters, especially Biffy and Lyall, give me feels though I’ll admit series fatigue is kicking in a bit. However, not so tired that I don’t want to continue. I need to know how this all wraps up.