Blameless by Gail Carriger
(The Parasol Protectorate, #3)
Orbit Books (Sept 2010)
Paperback, 294 pages
Warning: contains spoilers for endings of Soulless and Changeless
Blameless by Gail Carriger picks up where Changeless left off, with preternatural Alexia pregnant and cast out by her werewolf husband, Conall Maccon.
As the news of her pregnancy is published in the local papers (with the implication of infidelity), she is then cast out by her family and forced to seek the help of loyal butler Floote, inventor Madame Lefoux and Conall’s Beta werewolf, Professor Lyall. It is decided that a visit to Europe would be best given the circumstances, so Alexia, Madame Lefoux and Floote set off for Italy, seeking more information about preternaturals.
However, since the vampires have gotten wind of her pregnancy an unsanctioned death warrant has been issued on Alexia, with all of the vampires and their drones out to kill her. They pursue her across France into Italy, where they meet some of Lefoux’s scientist associates, with Alexia’s life in constant danger. Floote and Lefoux are efficient travelling companions, with Floote revealing his talents with a gun and his extensive knowledge about Italy and Alexia’s father. However, we never find out how and why Floote knows everything that he does, as his actions go above and beyond the actions expected of a butler (but I’ll come back to this in a moment).
Meanwhile, back in London, Lord Maccon is out of action for the most part of the novel, resorting to drinking formaldehyde in an attempt to stay drunk. This leaves his Beta, Professor Lyall, to take control of the situation that has emerged in London regarding the vampires. Alexia’s friend, Lord Akeldama has mysteriously vanished, along with all of his drones (of which there are many), leaving Lyall to suspect further vampire corruption.
Alexia holds her own as the main character, accompanied by her trusty customized parasol. She is determined to find out more about her preternatural state, and to discover what effect this will have on the child she is carrying. It was also nice to see more of a vulnerable side to her regarding her pregnancy and her separation from Conall, as we are used to seeing her headstrong and outrageous ways.
“I believe that, if I do not lose this child, I may be forced to attempt to rid myself of it, or go insane. That, even if, by some miracle, I manage to carry through my confinement, I will never be able to share the same air as my own baby, let alone touch it.”
I felt that the plot of this third book was better than the second, as it seemed faster paced and I loved the change of setting to Europe. However, there was more focus on the description of inventions in this book, which I wasn’t overly fascinated with as at times it can get a little excessive. I also liked the fact that we got to see more of Floote’s character, as well as Professor Lyall’s, with the separation from Conall allowing the author to experiment with others.
As for the character of Conall in this book, my opinion of him changed massively, as I wasn’t impressed with the way he accused Alexia of being unfaithful. His method of staying drunk for most of the novel was petty and uncalled for, and I very much wanted to smack some sense into him for being so irritating.
I enjoyed this book more than the previous in the series, but there were even more questions raised in this book about the preternatural state and some of the characters that still have no answers. Particularly there are questions about Floote’s capability and history, Lord Akeldama’s past and Alexia’s child. Speaking of Lord Akeldama, I was disappointed at how little he appears in this book, as I think he is one of the best characters in the series and the build up of his disappearance isn’t resolved until near the end. I’m hoping this abundance of questions is wrapped up in the next book in the series!
This book renewed my love for the series, as Alexia is still as strong and defiant as always and I felt that she was back to taking centre stage in this book as Changeless focused more on her and Conall as a marital unit. I really liked the way we got to learn more about Alexia’s preternatural state, but I got really frustrated at the abundance of mysteries that still haven’t been solved, as even more questions seem to have been raised than before.
BOOKS IN SERIES ORDER
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