Sunday, April 1, 2012
Alexia Tarabotti, Lady Maccon, has settled into domestic bliss. Of course, being Alexia, such bliss involves integrating werewolves into London High society, living in a vampire's second best closet, and coping with a precocious toddler who is prone to turning supernatural willy-nilly. Even Ivy Tunstell's acting troupe's latest play, disastrous to say the least, cannot put a damper on Alexia's enjoyment of her new London lifestyle.
Until, that is, she receives a summons from Alexandria that cannot be ignored. With husband, child, and Tunstells in tow, Alexia boards a steamer to cross the Mediterranean. But Egypt may hold more mysteries than even the indomitable Lady Maccon can handle. What does the vampire Queen of the Alexandria Hive really want from her? Why is the God-Breaker Plague suddenly expanding? And how has Ivy Tunstell suddenly become the most popular actress in all the British Empire?
This has been a fun ride getting to know Alexia Tarabotti and her handsome, werewolf husband, Conall Maccon, Earl of Woolsey. Carriger's whimsical and clever humor in this series shall be missed! This last installment of the Parasol Protectorate series begins approximately two years from where the last book left off with Alexia giving birth to her daughter Prudence and the alarming cliffhanger that showed the baby exhibiting signs that she was capable of taking on the characteristics of whomever she touched, whether vampire or werewolf.
Now an adorable toddler who keeps everyone on their toes, Prudence is a handful. Only Alexia's touch prevents Prudence from turning into a little fur ball baby werewolf or a speedy vampire with supernatural strength. This is, of course, what happens in case she accidentally touches her Papa or Lord Akeldama! Still living in Lord Akeldama's closet next door to give the appearance of having the head vampire raise their daughter, Alexia and Conall have settled the Pack into London. Soon they are summoned by an ancient Queen of the Vampires, who resides in Alexandria, Egypt. She has summoned Alexia to bring Prudence to her for a reason that is revealed later on. They basically cannot refuse to go. They all head off to Egypt with Ivy and Tunstell (who have twins and an ever so efficient nursemaid) as well as their acting troupe that will perform in Egypt! Carriger's usual ingenious humor and shenanigans take place as well as many revelations about Alexia's father and butler Floote's role in his past.
The shipboard journey to Egypt is full of momentous mishaps, some of which are hilarious. I particularly loved it when Prudence wound up being a werewolf puppy in a pink tulle dress, running around helter skelter! The Egyptian storyline itself harkened back to Amelia Peabody and Radcliffe Emerson, I kept wondering if they'd make a cameo in the book! Alas, no. Still, it was a fitting homage for the final book in the series, whether intentional or not. The plot line itself was a bit murky and complex, but the aftermath of a desert battle in a hot air balloon is enough to make one's heart stop beating - but not for long. Minor angst for a short time, I'm glad to say. Frankly, the whole Plague plot line confused me, but I didn't mind too much for most of their time in Egypt was amusing or exciting. Between the Queen herself and her macabre situation, the kidnapping of one of the twins and wondering about the identity of the mysterious hot air balloon man, it didn't matter if I knew exactly what was going on or not, it was a fun read!
My favorite part of the book, though, was back in London while Alexia and her family were in Egypt. I loved the entire Biffy and Professor Lyall romantic storyline, which I anticipated from the last book. They are sweet together and it was well done and fulfilled all my hopes and dreams! *grin* I also loved the dynamics of the battles between Lyall and Lady Kingair, who has a conniption once she finds out about Lyall's involvement in getting rid of the previous alpha to their pack. You can thank Alexia's awful sister for starting that whole thing!
I marvel over the entire world of the Parasol Protectorate and will remember many of these characters fondly. I do hope we'll see a bit more of these characters in the future, I'd love to know more about Lord Akeldama's background and how he first became a vampire. I'd also like to see how Biffy fares as the new beta of the pack! I'd also like to know more about Major Channing Channing! Ah well, who knows? Whether we do or not, this is a memorable and entertaining series and I highly recommend it if you are into historically witty paranormals with some romance and steampunk thrown in to keep them interesting! Miss Carriger has an amazing imagination, coupled with a wicked sense of humor, a great combination. She is an auto buy for me and I am eager to read whatever she comes up with next!
Series Overall: 4/5