Thursday, 16 June 2011


Gail Carriger

Quitting her husband's house and moving back in with her horrible family, Lady Maccon becomes 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.

Ah now that was much more like it. After thoroughly and I really do mean thoroughly enjoying the first in this series I must admit to having been a little disappointed with the second. It wasn't bad, it just wasn't as good. Inevitable I suppose. This third one though was another good natured, frivolous, humorous, tea-loving, straight-laced, well-mannered melange of romp, romance and, eventually, romping (if you catch my drift).

The newly pregnant Alexia finds herself excluded from the pack, outcast from polite society and the object of concerted vampire attacks due to her condition. So, being Alexia she takes matters into her own hands and along with Floote and Madam Lefoux heads off to Europe to find out more.

Lord Maccon meanwhile has retreated into the bottle leaving Professor Lyall to deal with both the pack and B.U.R. Lord Akeldama has fled and the vampires are out for blood - specifically Alexia's. Lyall's increased role in this book is fine by me. I always have a soft spot for characters of his type - quietly and ruthlessly efficient with and unerring moral compass. His sartorial excellence doesn't hurt either. It is he who initially investigates the missing Akeldama whilst bringing Maccon back to sobriety and it is he who is left to explain about Biffy.

First stop for Alexia is France which introduces two new Brass Octopus scientists before she falls into the clutched of the Templars in Italy. It's here she at last uncovers a clue as to just what the baby is likely to be and why the vamps are so worked up about it.

The final act is split over several locations and is to the most part very satisfying. I think maybe Maccon was let off too easily by Alexia and the repercussions of Biffy's new furriness and how this will change relationships remains to be seen.

All things told however this one was a fun ride. Lot's of action, a bit of plot and some great interaction between the characters. I'm glad to say I thoroughly enjoyed this one again.

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