Gail Carriger – Timeless
54. Timeless by Gail Carriger (2012)
The Parasol Protectorate, Book 5
Length: 386 pages
Genre: Historical Steampunk Fantasy
Started: 13 May 2012
Finished: 14 May 2012
Where did it come from? The library.
Why do I have it? I devoured this series last fall, so I was eagerly waiting for the new one to come out.
deal with vampires, werewolves,
mummies… and toddlers.
Summary: Lady Alexia Maccon has her hands full. Not only must she continue to cope with the requirements of London society – both supernatural and not – but her young daughter also has a distressing tendency to turn supernatural herself, whenever she is touched by a vampire or werewolf. And an energetic toddler is troublesome enough, let alone what she can get into when she’s got fangs or fur. But Alexia is managing with her usual flair, when she suddenly receives a summons from the vampire queen of Alexandria, Egypt. The message is mysterious, but it may have something to do with the recent expansion of the anti-supernatural God-Breaker Plague… and in any case, such a summons is not something one can ignore. So the Maccons are off to Egypt, where Alexia must figure out what the queen wants from her, while somehow managing to keep her family and friends out of the danger that Egypt holds for them.
Review: The Parasol Protectorate books are just so much fun! They’re silly, light, engaging stories that are perfect reading for when you need a break from more serious fare, and Timeless was no exception. I thoroughly enjoyed myself reading it, which was no surprise, but definitely a pleasant treat. According to the back cover, this is the final novel in the series, and as such, Carriger does a nice job in both giving it a plot of its own, and wrapping up several of the loose threads from the previous books. However, I did sort of feel like the answers – about what’s going on with Alexia’s father, and the butler Floote, and the deserts of Egypt – weren’t quite weighty or portentous enough to have carried the entire series. That’s a touch hypocritical, I realize, praising a series for being a light read and then complaining about the lightness of the ending, but it was a little disappointing to get to the end and think “Oh. Okay then.” rather than “Oh! That’s awesome!”
One part of the plot I did love without reservations was the sub-plot involving Biffy and Professor Lyall. That’s probably not surprising, as they’ve been my favorite characters for several books now, but in this installment especially they provide not only an emotional grounding but also a subplot that is at least as interesting as the main action. And while we’re on the subject of secondary characters, I was surprised to find that I actually really liked the addition of Alexia’s daughter. I’m always a little wary when a long-running series adds a baby, since it so often becomes All About The Baby, but Carriger does a good job of incorporating her into the story without letting her overwhelm it, and I found Prudence to be surprisingly charming and funny in her own rights.
Overall, while this book wasn’t quite note-perfect, it was without question a thoroughly enjoyable read, and a satisfactory end to a fun series that I can easily see myself returning to. 4 out of 5 stars.
Recommendation: This book isn’t even remotely standalone, but I’d recommend the series as a whole to any fans of vampires & werewolves, steampunk, and/or Victorian London who are looking for a fun diversion.
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First Line: “I said no such thing,” grumbled Lord Maccon, allowing himself, begrudgingly, to be trussed in a new evening jacket.
Vocab: (see the whole list)
- p. 103: “Biffy tilted his head in consideration. Then he remembered Lord Akeldama’s gold pipe that was actually a glaive.” – a sword or broadsword.
- p. 188: ““Queen Matakara has sent me to be your guide to Alexandria. One might say, perhaps, your dragoman.”” – a professional interpreter.
- p. 189: “Ivy had selected a gray felt chapeau with a steel braid around the crown, a long gray feather, and a turned-up brim that showed off a turban of striped surah silk wound underneath.” – a soft, twilled silk or rayon fabric.
- p. 278: ““I traced Madame Lefoux to the dahabiya docks.”” – a large boat used on the Nile as a houseboat or for conveying passengers.
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