Review: Heartless

Heartless by Gail Carriger

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

"Heartless" (Parasol Proctorate 4) by Gail Carriger, is how eight-month pregnant Alexia sees the suggestion to save the life of (her and) her unborn from persistent assassination attempts by unfriendly vampire hives in supernatural Victorian London. Fun. Suspense. Action. Best-friend loner (his own kind of queen) vampire Lord Akeldama will legally adopt the child. She and werewolf husband will move in, next-door obstensibly, renovated third clothes-closet actually, to oversee. But a fading ghost warns of a plot to "kill the queen".
I noted the prophetic ambiguity, and the distracted parasol inventor, clues if we're attentive.)
Alexia enlists silly-hat atrociously-accoutred friend Ivy in a new Parasol Protectorate, and "the game's afoot". (Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes from Shakespeare's Henry V). I couldn't close my eyes a wink, while intrepid Alexia tumbles hilariously after clues, across balconies, in and out of dirigibles, ferly danger, attacks, explosions, helped and hindered by creatively-named eccentrics. I could see the trouble ahead from her final solution, so a sequel already draws my curiosity. What the baby does in father Maccon's arms, and in Akeldama's on the very last sentence, stamps Timeless PP#5 as a must-read.
I know the cast, understand their motives, so action feels continuous. I don't know if this book could stand alone without background series support. Learning back-stories seems to add reasons for re-reading from the start. I do not see the need for italicized paragraphs from a dying female ghost's point of view, unless to reinforce her identity and relationship to the mystery plot.
The extra Jaye Wells excerpt sounds ferly, no fun. I like female assassins like Nikita, but not Sabina's quick kill of her best friend in the middle of a warning, at least let him live to explain.

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