Author: Gail Carriger
Genre: Steampunk paranormal mystery
Opening lines: “…How much longer, Mamma, must we tolerate this gross humiliation?”
BLAMELESS is a steampunk novel. What is steampunk? Well, there are a few definitions but the one I think is the best description is this: A steampunk novel is a novel usually set the in the 19th century, and often the Victorian era England. Steam Power is mainly used to run technological inventions that are very similar to modern technology – so there are clunky but effective steam or clockwork powered iPads, computers, robots, air flight and communication.
BLAMELESS begins almost as soon as ‘Changeless’ finished, rejected by her husband Conall, the pregnant Alexia has returned home and is suffering the rejection of Victorian society as it, like her husband, consider her to be pregnant by a result of an affair. She is quite the current centre of scandal. Alexia has also been fired from the shadow council by Queen Victoria and on top of all this she is not happy with side effects of nausea and lack of appetite caused by the ever growing "infant-inconvenience." Driven mad by her family Alexia decides to move in with her vampire friend Lord Akeldama only to find when she gets to his home that he has mysteriously fled London. Shortly after, Alexia is attacked by mechanical ladybirds intent on killing her, she captures one in a hatbox and retires to a teashop while she waits to meet with her supporters. Sadly the shop is full of society women who make it quite clear she is not welcome and ask Alexia to leave:
‘…“Ladies,” said Alexia to the assembled faces. Then she made her way, with as much gravity as possible for a woman clutching an epileptic pink hatbox to her bosom, to the counter, where she paid her account. The door behind her did not close fast enough to cut off the excited squeals and babble that heralded her departure…’
And then the adventures really start. When she meets up with her faithful friends Alexia is told that Conall is spending his days in a drunken stupor and as a result, without his protection, it would appear that the vampires are out to exterminate Alexia as they are scared of the child she is carrying. It is decided that Alexia, the butler Floote, and Madame LeFoux all travel to Italy and find the Templars who as well as wearing strange nightgowns have been researching soullessness for centuries. Meanwhile Professor Lyall, as the pack Beta, is in charge of the wolves until his alpha comes to his senses. His adventure occurs concurrently to Alexia’s and the two storylines travel happily side by side until the big finale. Lyall played a huge role in BLAMELESS and he handled it very well – I do hope there is a nice young lassie in his future. BLAMELESS has a lot of soul – with some very moving scenes.
‘…Driven beyond his instincts, the vampire pulled the newly made werewolf against him—one predator consoling another, as unnatural as a snake attempting to comfort a house cat…’
There is a lot less romance, the main twosome are estranged so this makes sense, however there is a lot more action – those vamps really want Alexia dead. There is a lot of laughter too. Those who wish Alexia ill quickly find out that it is not a good idea to annoy a pregnant woman who is angry with her husband! As usual there are wonderful inventions; Madame LeFoux in particular has a few things up her sleeves. Despite his minor part in this story, when he is in a scene, the drunken Conall is really, really funny. I suspect there is going to be a lot of crawling for him to get back into Alexia’s good books. There are two more books in this series and I have HEARTLESS near the top of the TBR pile.
Rating: B – Great. I really enjoyed reading it and it is a book I will be recommending to all my friends who like this genre.
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