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Thursday, January 31, 2013

"Blameless: Book 3 Parasol Protectorate" by Gail Carriger (Reviewed by Cindy Hannikman)

Visit Gail Carriger's Official Website HERE
Read FBC's Review of Soulless HERE
Read FBC's Review of Changeless HERE

OVERVIEW: Quitting her husband's house and moving back in with her horrible family, Lady Maccon becomes the scandal of the London season.

Queen Victoria dismisses her from the Shadow Council, and the only person who can explain anything, Lord Akeldama, unexpectedly leaves town. To top it all off, Alexia is attacked by homicidal mechanical ladybugs, indicating, as only ladybugs can, the fact that all of London's vampires are now very much interested in seeing Alexia quite thoroughly dead.

While Lord Maccon elects to get progressively more inebriated and Professor Lyall desperately tries to hold the Woolsey werewolf pack together, Alexia flees England for Italy in search of the mysterious Templars. Only they know enough about the preternatural to explain her increasingly inconvenient condition, but they may be worse than the vampires -- and they're armed with pesto

FORMAT: Blameless is the third book in the Parasol Protectorate series. It is a mix of steampunk, supernatural, romance, and adventure. It stands at 375 pages and was published by Orbit on September 1, 2010.

(Some potential spoilers of book 2 may be revealed below) 
ANALYSIS: Blameless is the third book in the Parasol Protectorate series, and after the somewhat iffy bridge story that I encountered in the second book I was unsure of what exactly I'd be walking into.

I absolutely loved the first book. I found the characters engaging, the book fast paced, and the setting just right. However, I found the second book 'alright'. This left me with mixed feelings entering the third book, and I'm happy to say that after reading it I no longer have those mixed feelings.

One of the biggest disappointments of the second book was the lack of the snippy, funny, sassy side to the main character, Alexia. I really felt this character made the first book, and the lack of sassy remarks in the second book was noticeable. Luckily, the snippy, sassy Alexia is back in this third book and I feel it really helps bring the series back to life.

Another improvement in this third book is the pacing of the plot. The second book felt as if it dragged at time, but that is all thrown out the window. Blameless from the very first page starts off with a bang and the plot doesn't slow down even when you hit the last page.

It should be said at this point in time, this is a series that readers can't just jump into. Gail Carriger spends no time backtracking or retelling stories from the previous books. This means if you didn't read the previous books, you might be a little lost.

There are a few interesting and exciting twists and turns added to this novel. There are killer ladybugs, rides through Paris, and a bunch of religious zealots. No one can complain that there is a lack of twists and turns in this series, as every time you turn around something new is being brought up.

While this novel renewed my love for the series, there are still some very frustrating elements that bear bringing up. A vast majority of the book is spent on the characters discussing how a preternatural could become pregnant. I was a little confused at everyone's lack of understanding or even grasping this concept. It seemed rather logical that it could happen, so this really confused me.

Another frustrating element in this novel was Lord Macon. He spends about 80% of the novel drunk and throwing himself a pity party. I found this extremely frustrating because it was not only out of character, or at least how I envisioned the character, but he did it himself. He pushed Alexia away and then cried when she wasn't around.

If I could have jumped through the pages of the book, I would have and shook some sense into him. It was frustrating, but not so frustrating that it drew away from the story.

The last frustrating element is the numerous questions that arise. It seemed as if every time something would get resolved or introduced, another 100 questions would pop up. I know that these things will be resolved with time, but for readers looking for answers right away they won't find them.

Overall, I enjoyed Blameless. I really feel that this third installment in the series is where Gail Carriger finds her stride. This book helped renew my love for the series and I can't wait to see what happens. And really who can pass up on a book that has killer ladybugs!



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