Timeless by Gail Carriger
(Parasol Protectorate #5)
Orbit Books (March 2012)
Paperback, 328 pages
Warning: contains spoilers for previous books
Timeless by Gail Carriger picks up two years after the events of Heartless, with Alexia and Conall living in relative peace after the birth of their daughter, Prudence.
They still inhabit Lord Akeldama’s closet, managing werewolf pack business from London whilst living with a whole host of well-dressed vampires. Needless to say no-one is allowed to leave the house without a suitable modicum of dress, resulting in a very well-dressed Woolsey Pack of werewolves and their drones. The vampires also dote on little Prudence, spoiling her with affection and accessories.
Of course, in preternatural Alexia Maccon’s world this peace cannot last, with trouble finding her in spectacular style for this fifth instalment. Countess Nadasdy, queen of the London vampire hive, summons Alexia to deliver a message from Queen Matakara of the Alexandria hive, Egypt. The Egyptian vampire queen orders her to bring Prudence to meet her, leaving little other details.
Not being in a position to refuse (and seeking some adventure), Alexia takes along Ivy, Tunstell, their twin toddlers and an entire acting troupe as a guise for visiting Egypt. Madame LeFoux is also along for the ride, whilst Beta werewolf Professor Lyall is left to run things in London along with their newest recruit, Biffy.
Trouble ensues upon their arrival in the foreign country, as Alexia wishes to delve into her father’s history with the place, but there are some secrets people will kill to protect. Her preternatural state, as well as Prudence’s metanatural one, is explored further in relation to the God-Breaker Plague which was encountered in book two. This plague has the same effect as preternatural touch, whereby it turns supernaturals mortal, but also repels other preternaturals.
Meanwhile, back in London, Lyall has to cope with the visiting Lady Kingair, who is investigating the murder of her Beta. He is assisted by young Biffy, who has taken on the running of Madame LeFoux’s hat shop and has finally begun to adjust to becoming a werewolf. Biffy is a great help to both Lyall and Alexia and his character is really developed throughout the course of this book.
So far I’ve had mixed feelings about this series, but this book reminded me of everything I’ve loved about it and why I keep coming back for more. Alexia was as refreshing a heroine as ever, with her forthright manner and scientific interests, but motherhood had developed her even more as a character. Her interactions with both Conall and Prudence were lovely to see, as we don’t often see her softer side and there were some big emotional events for her to handle throughout this book.
As well as Alexia it was interesting to see the other characters developed, as we get to see more of Ivy than we have before, which really adds to the wit and humour of the book. In particular her acting troupe’s performances create comedic situations, as does her style of motherhood and her introduction to the more violent side of supernaturals.
“Alexia, I am quite overset. Do you realize we were attacked? Right here, in a public thoroughfare. Really, I feel quite faint.”
“Well, can it wait? We must make for safety.”
“Oh, my, yes, of course. And I could hardly faint with a bare head in a foreign country! I might catch something,” Ivy exclaimed.
I loved how Carriger keeps us aware of the action back in London, as I wasn’t expecting Biffy to become as central to the plot as he did, especially in relation to professor Lyall. There weren’t as many Akeldama scenes as I would have liked, but there was so much excitement throughout the book that I didn’t find myself missing his humour as I did before. We get to find out the secrets of the unflappable Floote, something I’ve been waiting for since the early books, and it was certainly worth the wait.
Overall this book was a brilliant series finale, as all questions were answered and I was satisfied with the conclusion. There were some truly unexpected moments that I didn’t see coming, but everything was tied up neatly with Carriger’s excellent style of writing. By far the best book of the series, Alexia certainly does go out with a bang, which is exactly how she’d like it.
A brilliant finale to the series, Timeless ties up all the loose ends with Carriger’s usual Victorian wit and weaves an action-packed novel that will keep you hooked until the final page. I loved the conclusion, and really think that this series improved as it went on.
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