All this week we will be celebrating The Parasol Protectorate series as a whole, and specifically the release of the concluding book in the series, "Timeless - The Parasol Protectorate: Book the Fifth."
So today we will go back to the beginning and take a quick look at the second and third books in the series, "Blameless," and "Heartless," for a brief introduction/recap of the the story so far.
For any of you who may not have read the series so far, please beware - There are spoilers below!
Blameless - The Parasol Protectorate: Book the Third
"Quitting her husband's house and moving back in with her horrible family, Lady Maccon is 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."
"Blameless" may be, in my opinion, the absolute funniest novel in the series so far. We get to learn a little bit more about Professor Lyall. Alexia decides to proactively go in search of information to prove that she is blameless in the scandal currently afflicting her (revealed at the end of "Changeless"), and decides that Italy and the ancient order of the Templars is the best place to start. After a brief stop in Paris, she quickly realizes that it isn't only the vampires in London who wish her dead - it seems the vampires on the continent are also intent on killing her, but she still doesn't know why! Upon finally arriving in Italy, she hopes to learn the answers to all her questions, and in some ways she does, but certainly not in the manner she hoped. Unexpected surprises are the order of the day, and since her husband is busy trying to stay drunk (by drinking all of Professor Lyall's experiments!), Alexia will just have to save herself this time. And really, with the help of Floote and Madame Lefoux, how hard could that be?
Heartless - The Parasol Protectorate: Book the Fourth
"Lady Alexia Maccon, soulless, is at it again, only this time the trouble is not her fault. When a mad ghost threatens the queen, Alexia is on the case, following a trail that leads her deep into her husband's past. Top that off with a sister who has joined the suffragette movement (shocking!), Madame Lefoux's latest mechanical invention, and a plague of zombie porcupines and Alexia barely has time to remember that she happens to be eight months pregnant.
I already loved this series when "Heartless" was released, but even if I hadn't, the moment the zombie porcupines shuffled onto the page my heart was lost! I mean, come on! They're zombie porcupines!! What's not to love?! But there's oh so much more than that. The attempts to murder Alexia have not lessened since her return from Italy, including - but not limited to - exploding gravy boats and flaming Mongolian poodles. But at long last a sort of truce has been reached with the vampires, and Alexia is ready to settle down again. At least until the mad ghost shows up muttering threats against the queen! Once again Alexia finds herself in a race against time to solve the mystery and save the realm. But could the threat also have a more personal consequence? Only Alexia can solve the mystery and save the day, but with vampires swarming, rampaging werewolves, and a decidedly dangerous octomaton roaming the countryside, the question isn't can Alexia save the day, but, can she save the day before the birth of her child?!
And that's all for today! Thanks for joining me for this short look back at the beginning of the series! Tomorrow is Thursday, and for Day Four of "Gail Carriger and The Parasol Protectorate Week" I have a special surprise! Something so exciting I've barely been able to contain myself - an interview with the author herself, Ms Gail Carriger! So don't forget to stop back by tomorrow. See you then!