Hmmmm... I'm not entirely sure of how I feel about Heartless. I didn't love it as much as Souless or Changeless, but I don't want to say anything negative, as I wonder if my 'problem' with it is that I just wanted to be reading something else.
In any case! Heartless, the fourth installment in Gail Carriger's marvellous Parasol Protectorate, is another delightful romp through an alternate Victorian London. And this time, Lady Alexia Maccon must relocate a pack of werewolves, deal with a broken-hearted dandy-werewolf, all while being eight months pregnant. Oh, and someone is plotting to kill the Queen, too.
So Heartless was fun. We learn more of the history of the books' second most enigmatic character, Professor Lyall (the first being Floote, IMO), as well as the assasination plot that forced Connall's departure form the Scottish Kingair pack. Biffy (my favourite), is back, and is struggling to adapt. The relationship between him and Lord A is heartbreaking. Lord Maccon's struggle to help the young pup is touching. It was lovely seeing even more tender and emotional depths from the great, gruff, man. Biffy's struggling to fit in, and Connall blames himself. It's his fault the boy's now a wolf, and he sees it as his failure that he's not feeling part of the pack.
Mrs Loontwill is mercifully absent from this installment, but is more than made up for by the utterly vile Felicity's presence. This time, the ninny's up and joined the sufragette movement (like she even knows the meaning of the word!).
Some utter craziness goes down in this book, and never before has Alexia's true pragmatism shone through so brightly. After saving a hive of vampires, betraying a friend, being betrayed by another, THEN giving birth in a mechanical octopus, she brushes herself off, calls for tea, and goes to bed. No need to get emotional about these things.
I love that Carriger's characters aren't black and white, and especially so in Heartless. That even the good guys can be manipulative and self serving, even ones we've come to really like, gives these books a certain depth, even amongst all the frivolity and silliness that makes them so fun.
Heartless is fun. A must-read for fans of the series, but certain events in the ending upset me, even if they didn't manage to fluster Alexia.
- Timeless (2012)