Timeless (The Parasol Protectorate, No. 5)
I’m always sad to see the end of a series that I’ve enjoyed. It feels like saying goodbye to old friends—and in truth, many of the characters that we read about and identify with do indeed come to feel like real people. Stepping into a world of fantasy or space travel by seeing through their eyes, we come to know these fictional folks as well as our friends and coworkers. As Gail Carriger’s Alexia Tarabotti novels come to a close with Timeless, readers will get to have one more adventure with a memorable cast of characters.
(Description nicked from B&N.com.)
“Alexia Tarabotti, Lady Maccon, has settled into domestic bliss. Of course, being Alexia, such bliss involves integrating werewolves into London High society, living in a vampire’s second best closet, and coping with a precocious toddler who is prone to turning supernatural willy-nilly. Even Ivy Tunstell’sacting troupe’s latest play, disastrous to say the least, cannot put a damper on Alexia’s enjoyment of her new London lifestyle.
Until, that is, she receives a summons from Alexandria that cannot be ignored. With husband, child, and Tunstells in tow, Alexia boards a steamer to cross the Mediterranean. But Egypt may hold more mysteries than even the indomitable Lady Maccon can handle. What does the vampire Queen of the Alexandria Hive really want from her? Why is the God-Breaker Plague suddenly expanding? And how has Ivy Tunstell suddenly become the most popular actress in all the British Empire?”
Some of the most amusing scenes in this book come from Prudence, Alexia’s daughter. Dealing with her is an interesting exercise, as she has the power to temporarily steal a supernatural’s powers. Thus, if Lord Maccon touches his child with his bare skin, he soon finds himself holding a wolf cub. Her presence lends an air of suspense to the proceedings, because you never know when something like that will happen.
I found myself warming to Prudence, but I also wished that she had been introduced sooner than the series’s final book. Her inclusion here, while charming, is a bit of a jolt. The cast has stayed fairly stable throughout the series, and suddenly there is a major new presence. Children in general are hard to ignore, but this particular child gobbles up every scene that she’s in.
On top of that, this book has a lot going on. There are resolutions to the God-Breaker plague, a lot of the questions about Alexia’s father, and issues with the Woolsey pack, to name a few. I wouldn’t say that the novel felt rushed, but I did finish the novel with the mental question “That’s it?” I’m not sure what I expected from the resolution, but despite how much of the plot tied up in neat little bows, it still felt a bit unfinished. I wonder if Prudence’s sudden appearance caused me to feel that way. I wish that other characters had gotten more page time.
That said, I did still enjoy the novel. Carriger doesn’t skimp on her usual humor and dry wit, which I absolutely adore. All of my favorite characters (such as the pack beta, Lyall, and new werewolf Biffy) get a reasonable amount of time in the story. Aside from a few quibbles, this is a reasonably tidy end to the series.
Timeless may not be the best of the Alexia Tarabotti books, but it does a pretty good job of wrapping up a series that has ranged from London to Egypt and back. I’m curious to see what the follow-up series has to offer. Gail Carriger has proven that she can weave a yarn with the best of them!
This review appeared on Owlcat Mountain on May 17, 2012.