The Parasol Protectorate, by Gail Carriger
I’m going to start with something light. A series by Gail Carriger called The Parasol Protectorate. Soulless, Changeless, Blameless and Heartless. Book Five and the expected last of the series, Timeless is set for a March 2012 release.
They’re fun, plain and simple. The books, set in an alternative Victorian England, follow the preternatural Alexia Tarabotti and her parasol on paranormal, steampunk adventures. In Carriger’s world, the supernatural live openly, vampires rule the fashion world (of course), werewolves run the military (how else would you explain the British Empire), ghosts kind of mill about and Queen Victoria has secret supernatural advisers. The supernatural suffer from an excess of soul, whereas Alexia, a preternatural, suffers from the lack of one. Silly, yes, but fun.
The cast of characters is delightful, some of my favorites are Lord Akeldama, rove vampire and his bevy of drones (especially Biffy), Ivy Hisselpenny and her offensive hats, Lord Maccon, werewolf pack leader and his beta, Professor Lyall and Madame Genevieve Lefoux, french inventor and hat maker.
Alexia is sharp tongued and sharp witted, half Italian, half English, she’s curvaceous, olive skinned and her nose is too big to be considered a beauty in Victorian society. Her preternatural state give her somewhat autistic traits which add to her inability to fit in to Victorian society. She prefers libraries to ballrooms and is dismayed by any party that doesn’t provide adequate comestibles. She’s like a supernatural, or rather preternatural, Elizabeth Bennet. Jane Austen meets Joss Whedon.
The dialogue is snappy and especially entertaining, whenever Chris or I were reading one of them we would find ourselves laughing out loud and reading particular bits out loud to each other, it’s just too good not to share.
The books are a bit frothy and remind me of one of Ivy’s hats, but I enjoyed them thoroughly, like a good summer movie, and highly recommend them if you want something you can burn through and have a little fun.
(AAbbott, August 25, 2011)
Adding my agreement about the enjoyability of the series. This is not great literature, but it is great fun. Each book is a quick read, and in no way taxing, but hilarious nonetheless. Witty banter, start to finish, with gems of silliness like the insinuation that being Scottish is less safe and socially acceptable than being a werewolf, or that being French is something a civilized person might endeavor to change. Elements of Jeeves and Wooster, and Monty Python grafted onto a supernatural framework.
(CSWalters, August 25,2011)