Author: Gail Carriger
Series: Parasol Protectorate #5
Cover Art: N/A
Genre: Paranormal Steampunk
Reviewed by: Abigail
Kissing. References to heterosexual & homosexual sex. Scenes of homosexual sensuality.
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’s acting 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?
And so we bid a fond farewell to Alexia, Conall, and the wide and wacky cast of characters who have delighted for the past five books in the incomparable Parasol Protectorate series. In TIMELESS, great care has been taken with every beloved (and unbeloved) character, every errant plot thread, and every previously hinted at mystery to fully resolve and reveal them in the most deliciously witty way possible.
Picking up two years after HEARTLESS, TIMELESS opens with the unusual but necessary living situation adopted by Alexia, Conall, and Lord Akeldama regarding baby Prudence. Several lovely and zany scenes detail just how charmingly crazy life has become. In short time, dead werewolves, ancient Egyptian vampires, and long buried secrets send Alexia and family to Egypt while Biffy and Professor Lyon investigate in London. For the first time in the series, Alexia shares POV with another character: Biffy. While I understand the choice to tell part of TIMELESS from Biffy’s POV, I can’t say I especially enjoyed his chapters. In fact, the way his findings were relayed to Alexia almost made them superfluous. Really. As a supporting character, Biffy is great, but as a leading man, I found both him and his romance with Professor Lyon lacking. There wasn’t a ton of romance in TIMELESS, but I was disappointed that most of it was between Biffy and Lyon while Alexia and Conall’s romantic scenes/moments were noticeably truncated.
Biffy’s chapters aside, I loved the main story which featured all the hallmark characteristics of this series: Witty dialogue, slapstick humor, impeccable manners, and an indomitable heroine. Highlights from all the previous books are revisited and new information is revealed that all converge in one big climax. It’s one of the most satisfying series endings I’ve read. Not so much because it ties everything up in a tidy bow, but because it sets up a plausible future that may not have been anything like I expected for some characters, but is nonetheless completely consistent with this wonderful world.
Gail Carriger’s upcoming The Parasol Protectorate Abroad and The Finishing School series, which have hitherto been shrouded in secrecy, are set up quite nicely in TIMELESS. It’s easy to speculate on the characters who will comprise the main players and even the ones who’ll likely pop up in cameo roles in each series. Without spoiling anything, we’ll definitely be getting more of this delightful world…and Alexia may not be retiring her parasol so much as passing it on. This is a series that ends with great aplomb. Alexia deserved nothing less.