Review: Blameless by Gail Carriger


Parasol Protectorate #3

Written: Gail Carriger [website]

Published: Orbit, Mass market

When: September 1, 2010

ISBN: 0316074152

Obtained via: Purchase

Note: The cover blurb for Blameless contains spoilers for Changeless. If you haven’t read book 2, you should not read this blurb/review.

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Cover blurb: 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.

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I have been trying to write this review for a week, but I just haven’t had the time or mental capacity to use phrases like “elegant romp”, “rousing caper” and “holy crap, giant killer mechanical ladybugs!” in a sentence – even though all of those are accurate. So you’ll be getting my plain-spoken working-overtime version of this review of Blameless.

What I love most about this series is that there’s always something different to love. Soulless had awesome parasol action and a creepy mystery accompanied by a nice solid romance. Changeless was a slightly different kind of mystery (one with more action, in my opinion), some new steampunk technology, and a sucker-punch-to-the-forehead ending.

Blameless, doesn’t try to be what it’s predecessors were. It’s not afraid to be different from what’s gone before, and that’s what I like about it. It carries even more action than Changeless did, but Blameless does it with an almost silly sense of humor that I found delightful.

Don’t get me wrong – the entire series has plenty of humor, but most of it is a bit wry. Blameless, however, isn’t afraid to make fun of itself. There were several moments that had me laughing out loud. My favorite was when Professor Lyall, the werewolf Beta, admits to an interest in the reproduction of sheep. He even keeps several embryos, floating in formaldehyde. His Alpha (Lord Maccon), at one point in the book, compliments Lyall on having on-hand such a delightful drink, complete with “crunchy snacks”.

If Carriger had tried to top the tension at the end of Changeless, there’s a good chance the attempt would’ve fallen flat. That she didn’t try, and still managed to write a better, more solid book than the last has done more to impress me than any number of summer-blockbuster-style shenanigans could have.

Gail Carriger is just flat out a good author, and her work is worth giving a try. I’m very glad I did.

Buy the book: Amazon | B&N | Indie Bound

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