Fangs for the Fantasy's Reviews > Heartless

Heartless by Gail Carriger
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Dec 16, 2011

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Read in December, 2011

Our favourite urban fantasy heroine is back. Alexia Maccon, La Diva Tarabotti is back in London and heavily pregnant. But she has a bothersome problem - the vampire hives still want her dead because of the child she carries. The constant murder attempts are really quite tiresome and Alexia is left with a rather dramatic solution - adoption. Having her child adopted by Lord Akeldama, and rather disrupting her own domestic arrangements to be near it. of course, Alexia is a master of disruption - in causing it at least.

Being on rather more polite terms with the Vampire hives, she finds herself pursuing a new mystery. The ghosts of London come to her with a warning - someone is trying to kill the Queen. Naturally, as Muhjah to Queen Victoria, she takes this very seriously indeed.

Her investigation takes many interesting turns, including inducting Ivy Tunstel nee Hisslepenny into the ancient- well, rather new order of the Parasol Protectorate, investigating the attempt on the Queen’s life 15 years ago that involved Lord Maccon’s old pack and finding that absolutely nothing was what it seems

And then she finds herself in the extremely tricky position of playing host to a vampire hive of all things. As you may well imagine, vampires and werewolves do not make happy bedfellows.


As ever, except for some problems we’ll mention later, Alexia Maccon is one of the best protagonists in Urban Fantasy. She’s independent, she’s strong, she’s intelligent and she’s fierce. I adore the stress and and conniptions she causes all around her. I love the thinly veiled wariness the other characters regard her with. I love how she forges through society doing things her way no matter what. I love how, even in the most extreme circumstances, she is calm, collected and snarky - and I love just how screamingly funny she is.

And she doesn’t have to be super woman to be all this, her powers are not extensive or miraculous, certainly not in comparison to her supernatural companions. Often in Urban Fantasy a strong female character is depicted with extreme skills or super powers - Alexia Maccon needs neither to be strong and awesome.

The story is exciting and has many twists in it. I was sure I had figured out the truth before the end and then turned out to be very wrong. We have some wonderful world building and insight into Alexia’s father, the Woolsey pack’s history and so much more of this fascinating and complicated world. I never guessed at some of the revelations, was surprised and fascinated and am left hungry for even more.

I love many of the side-characters - Ivy Tunstel’s acceptance of Alexia’s status and induction into the Parasol Protectorate made me laugh out loud. Lord Maccon’s wasn’t in this book a great deal but I still love his exasperation with the world around him that has been heavily Alexia’d.

And, of course, this series is screamingly funny. Again, I laughed out loud and again I spent most of the book chuckling away. And though it’s a repetition of what we’ve said in past reviews, we’d still be wrong not to praise this book for its excellent impression of time and place. I have never before read a Paranormal Steampunk that has such an evocative sense of Victorian era London. You can believe the setting and it feels real.

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