Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Book Review: Blameless

So I finally, finally! got a hold of the rest of the Parasol Protectorate series, it just took me a while to realize both that the nice hardcover editions could be bought secondhand on Amazon for a reasonable price and that I had a birthday coming up where I hadn't really requested anything. In any case, expect reviews for the other two books in the series pretty soon as well, I ended up tearing through all three books in less than a month. Oh and as was the case with the first two books, a plot even from the end of the second book is critical to setting up the third book so this review is going to have more spoilers than usual even though I've done my best to keep them as vague as I can, just avoid the summary.

Blameless by Gail Carriger

Summary: Following the reveal at the end of the previous book that Alexia is pregnant she is out on her ear with Conall accusing her of unfaithfulness and living with her family who are being, well, her family. Confused as to how this actually happened Alexia decides to track down the only group of people who know anything about prenaturals, the Templars, all while dodging a large number of assassination attempts from the vampires.

The Good: This book manages to both have Alexia leave England to explore more of Europe and yet still include the most interesting characters (either as part of her entourage or by including a POV back in England). I think that’s always the hardest part to pull off when a story is set in a different location than the previous installment was and Blameless pulls it off better than a lot of stories do (although in retrospect we don’t actually see a lot of the rest of Europe, maybe that’s what the Parasol Protectorate Abroad series will be about). Also, while I’m sure someone out there will disagree with me, I thought the pregnancy plotline was handled fairly well, especially since the “oh the lady is magically pregnant and it’s scary!” plotline is sadly more common than you’d think. Alexia is her normal self, the pregnancy is unexpected but doesn’t threaten her health and, well, it’s not very scary. It’s treated fairly sensibly and much better than I expected it to.

The Bad: As just about every character points out, this is a rather flimsy reason to separate Conall and Alexia, although since it was necessary for the Templars to actually appear on page sooner or later (both because of what they know and because of their connection to Alexia’s father) and this was a good fit for that plotline. As an aside, it is slightly frustrating that it’s nigh impossible to have a good summary of these books without spoiling the events of the previous one, although that’s not really a problem with the books, especially considering that I enjoy books that are that plot reliant normally.

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