Alexia is now largely pregnant and ready (though not overly willing) to enter into her confinement when an insane ghost appears and warns of a plot to assassinate the queen. As if that isn’t enough, the vampires have been repeatedly attempting to kill Alexia, or at least the infant inconvenience she carries (mechanical porcupines — what will they think of next), necessitating that Alexia and Conall move to London and come under the protection of Lord Akeldama who is wittier than ever before as he deals with the loss of his favorite drone, Buffy. And then Alexia’s half-sister decides to move in. And take up the cause of suffrage! What will people say?
Heartless is a welcome addition to Gail Carriger’s steampunk London. The Woolsey werewolf pack is at its best trying to anticipate the demands of their pregnant alpha female, Conall is beside himself trying to keep both Alexia and the unborn child safe while they face the call of duty, and old stories come to light as the threatened assassination attempt starts to look a lot like a previous assassination attempt that was made by Conall’s old pack.
This fourth book in The Parasol Protectorate series is a shining example of Carriger’s witty frivolity and endless imagination. Most series start becoming a little stale at this point, but Carriger manages to take all the things you already knew about her paranormal London and give them a big shake, and just like a snowglobe, as the pieces settle back into new patterns, they show an entirely different picture than you had known before.
With lots of action, lots of secrets revealed, and lots of Alexia waddling to and fro in search of the truth — and fires and zeppelins and vampires, oh my! — this book is a reward for all of Carriger’s fans. Everything you thought you knew has changed by the book’s end, and the ending promises that there will be many more adventures to come for Alexia and pack. I wait with pleasant anticipation for the next chapter in this witty and amusing saga.