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4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
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on 24 October 2011
One of the things I love about the Parasol Protectorate series is how Gail Carriger parodies different types of Victorian literature with each volume. Heartless is the Sherlock-Holmes-style mystery of the group and boy is it a good mystery! I certainly didn't figure any of it out.

Due to certain circumstances that occur throughout the third book, which I will not spoil for those who have not yet read it (though what are you waiting for?!), Alexia takes up residence in a town house next door to Lord Akeldama (delightfully foppish rove vampire), or so it will appear to the everyone. She's actually residing in Lord Akeldama's second best closet. However, not long after moving in they are alerted to a plot to kill the Queen and thus, as muhjah, Alexia embarks on a hunt to solve the mystery.

As I said, the mystery is a good one, particularly as it reveals some very interesting facts about Alexia's father and about an assassination attempt that fans may remember being previously mentioned. It's also lovely to be back in London again with both the werewolves and vampires of the town. Whilst I loved Changeless and Blameless, I did miss the Westminster Hive and the interactions between Conall (when he's sober) and his pack. Speaking of pack interactions, we really get a closer look at the relationships of the Woolsey pack, which is something I really enjoyed, especially with how Conall is trying to handle the unexpected new member they gained at the end of Blameless.

The story's climax is brilliant. It is full of drama with so many things happening that you just can't put it down because you want to know how it is all resolved. There were some things I found a little sad (don't worry; it's not what you might think!) but at the same time I am desperate to see how the new situation that arises from it will play out in the final instalment. Timeless cannot come out soon enough!
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on 2 July 2011
I warn you now I am biased - I love the series & I love this book - thank you Amazon for sending it to me early - I love the humour, the characters & the impossible situations they find themselves in. There are vampires, werewolves, ghosts, mad steam punk contrivances (yet again Lord Akeldama is in the forefront of fashion, having purchased the latest ultimate travel accessory), burning warehouses & lots of tea drinking in this book, not to mention (the faint hearted should read no further) the heroine actually eating a treacle tart!

The reader is taken on a roller coaster ride with Alexia from Lord Akeldama's third best closet to Madame Lefoux's contrivance chamber, from Woolsey to the Westminster hive & back again, with interference from Biffy, Felicity, zombie porcupines, Miss Mabel Dair & best of all, Countess Nadasdy doing a grasshopper impression. There are pointers in this book to Carriger's Finishing School series as well as to Timeless, due out in March.

Don't read this book until you've read the first three in the series, then it will all make sense.
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on 2 October 2011
Vampires and werewolves are not the dark brooding creatures of the night--(a cliché that has been jammed down our throats a lot lately), but are creatures that despite their differences have to deal with England's social standing and decorum (side-lined with a lot of steampunk) in an alternative Jane Austen induced Victorian London.

Heartless is probably my favourite of the Parasol books so far, possibly because of the plot twists and the dramatic build up behind Alexia's ever expanding I.I (an anocrym that you will understand when you read the books). And, as always, Lord Akeledama.

The steampunk inventions remain ingenious and deliciously silly at the same time, one particular scene at the end of the book was quite a memorable image that will not leave my head for a long time.

Heartless does have its dramatic moments, but the characters are all laced with a desire to always be classy and exceedingly British--thus, there is no shortage of funny dialogue--but this can sometimes take the edge off the more serious chapters. Whether that is a good or a bad thing is best left up to the reader. Some scenes had me laughing aloud at the sheer determination of the characters to always retain that stiff upper lip, no matter how trying the situation.

Needless to say, every witty retort will bring a smile to your face. I class the Parasol books as comedy supernatural fiction, a genre that is certainly welcome on my bookshelf!

I have noticed in some of the amazon reviews, people criticise Alexia as being a little `too' pragmatic and logical, particularly in Heartless. Yes, Alexia is most certainly not a damsel in distress, and not a stereotypical female of historical setting. But I feel these are characteristics that should be celebrated, not frowned upon. Alexia's grumpiness, her forthrightness and mostly importantly, her bluntness--are never--ever--boring.

Highly recommended!
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on 10 July 2011
Loved it - great novel, I bought the first three novels together and read them within a week or so - I was a bit worried that the fourth novel might get a bit stale or as with so many series 'lose the plot'... Not a bit of it, a clever story, lovely writing and funny.

This is not great literature but it is a darn good read.
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on 5 July 2011
With childbirth imminent now is not the time for Alexia to be investingating an assasination plot against the Queen. However an untimely visit from a confused ghost pitches our heroine headlong into plots, counterplots, teapots and porcupines. Lord and Lady Maccon find themselves in a difficult position regardless of murderous matters - in order to prevent the vampires of London from their continued attempts to kill Alexia's unborn they agree to Lord Akeldama (vampire dandy of London) adopting their child. Settling themselves into the house next door (kitted out with a nice drawbridge to allow easy houseswapping) Alexia and Conal try to cope with day to day werewolf pack life while awaiting the birth. Matters are further complicated by the arrival of Felicity (unwanted half-sister), Madame Lefoux's emotional problems, Biffy's refusal to accept his lupine identity and general household concern over Lord Maccon's inability to dress accordingly.

If none of this makes sense to you then turn around and read the first three books; they are all excellent. Carriger's blend of camp fashion, steampunk, Victorian manners and supernatural action is a winner. Heroine Alexia is a force to be reckoned with, even when heavily pregnant, wielding her parasol like the deadly weapon it secretly is. Her husband Lord Maccon is the blundering werewolf Alpha with everyone's best interests at heart, except for the vampires - positively hates the vampires. Carriger's skill also lies in creating a cast of supporting characters; Biffy, Proffesor Lyall, Felicity, Ivy, Floote etc who all develop nicely throughout the series and play their own parts within the novels. With the birth of Alexia's child at the end of the book the series is given its next twist of plot which is something to look forward to already.
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on 7 October 2011
If you have already read the earlier three books in the series, and enjoyed them as I did, then "Heartless" is worth reading. It is a good read. It is worth reading just for the surprises and revelations!!!

It took me longer to read "Heartless" than the other three, as this is a somewhat more serious and thoughtful story written like a cosy Sherlock Holmes mystery. The basic outline of "Heartless" is that a mad ghost gives Lady Alexia Maccon a warning that the Queen is in danger, so naturally Alexia investigates. It is her job to do so; after all she is on the Queen's Shadow Council.

One thing I am now noticing - Miss Carriger has been dropping subtle hints in her earlier books as to where the overall Parasol Protectorate plot is heading. I will definitely be getting Timeless when it comes out.
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With many a Steampunk title the hero is usually male and, when added to the paternal domination of Victorian Society its pretty hard for a female to take the lead. What Gail has created within this series is something unique, you have the Steampunk setting with Vamps and other supernatural creatures which when backed with the witty writing style and sassiness of her lead protagonist really creates something special to savour with a fine porcelain cup of Earl Grey.

Add to this a positively scandalous outlook, a great overall arc that moves at a pace that makes hiding the ankles scarcely possible and when you throw into the mix a wonderful sense of prose alongside dialogue the reader really can't do anything but be taken in to this wonderful world. All in this was a great fourth outing for our heroine and as such leads you to wonder what future titles will hold.
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on 31 October 2013
Always entertaining, this instalment of the Parasol Protectorate is also really heartwarming/heart-wrenching. The character development goes off the chart, and we learn a lot more about the fascinating, and mysterious, Professor Lyall. If you enjoyed the rest of the series, you will Love this one!!
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on 3 March 2013
I love this quirky series which i stumbles accross by accident and now buy as soon as the new book is out. It is set in a Victorian London with our main character a souless which means any paranormal she touches becomes normal until she lets go. I will not go into the storyline as you will either choose to buy or not. I love my supernatural books and enjoy authors such as Kelley Armstrong, carrie Vaughn,Janeane Frost and Patricia Briggs to name but a few and i thoroughly enjoy this series and always look forward to the new book.
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I absolutely love the humour in Gail Carriger's Parasol Protectorate series but I have to admit I found myself disappointed with the turn this series has taken. It started going downhill for me in Blameless thanks to Conall's absolute refusal to believe his wife hadn't cheated on him, considering Alexia's preternatural abilities he should have been more willing to accept that he was the father of her baby but instead he spent most of the book in a drunken stupor believing she had been unfaithful. I felt that Alexia accepted his rather lacklustre apology far too easily so I was really hoping that she would make him work a bit in Heartless.

I'm actually pleased that they've got their relationship back on track, in spite of a lack of much needed grovelling, but there were a whole bunch of new issues that annoyed me in this book. Alexia is now 8 months pregnant but instead of resting up like she's supposed to she is too busy fighting off zombie porcupines sent by the vampires to kill her. It seems that the vampires have put a target on her head because they are worried about what her child might become and now she's even more at risk than ever before. I'm going to keep this review fairly vague to avoid spoilers but I was really shocked with the solution they found to this dilemma, I just couldn't believe that either of them would consider it an acceptable option - especially a protective, possessive alpha male like Conall. I love Lord Akeldama's character and always find him amusing but I am not at all impressed with his new role in Alexia's life.

As if vampire assassination plots aren't enough for Alexia to contend with she has also uncovered a plot against the queen and while trying to uncover what is going on she finds herself digging deeper into Conall's past. I enjoyed this side to the story, there were some interesting revelations about the Woolsey pack and I was pleased to see the banter back on track between the main couple but I've reached the point where I'm bored of Alexia's nasty younger sister Felicity and I was really shocked by what happened with the Westminster Hive. Once again they seemed to get one over on Alexia and Conall, it seems like the werewolves are constantly losing out to the vampires and that doesn't really give me much confidence in Conall's alpha status. He just seems to have gone from being the one who everyone is afraid of to someone that the entire supernatural community can walk all over and that's incredibly disappointing to me.

I'm still interested to see how things play out in Timeless but unfortunately I'm no longer as excited over this series as I was through the first couple of books. Let's just hope the series ends on a high note.
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