Posts Tagged ‘Steampunk’

Timeless. Fitting end to the Parasol Protectorate series.

March 14th, 2012    Posted in 52 Books in one year challenge, Fantasy, Fiction, Kelly
 

Timeless starts up about two years after the end of Heartless. Alexia and her husband are still living in Lord Akeldama’s second-best closet to allow them to participate in their daughter, Prudence’s, upbringing with her adoptive vampire father. Life is normal for everyone, well, as normal as living with a toddler able to steal the magic of others temporary turn into, for example, a toddler vampire or tiny werewolf, can be.

But trouble is brewing, and Alexia is summoned to Alexandria. Why does the most powerful vampire in the world want to see Lady Maccon? And will the Egyptians know how to properly prepare tea?

Timeless brings the Parasol Protectorate series to a satisfying close while leaving enough room in the writing-sandbox for the new YA series involving Prudence. Major plot threads, like Alexia’s father, are resolved. Prudence is a delightful addition to the story, bringing humor to the story. Some of the supporting characters, like Biffy and Floote the Butler, play bigger roles to good effect.

Title: Timeless

Author: Gail Carriger.

Source: Purchased (E-book)

Read: February 2012

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A Goliath of a book

July 31st, 2011    Posted in 52 Books in one year challenge, ARCs, Fiction, Kelly, Uncategorized
 

In Leviathan and Behemoth, Scott Westerfeld set up his own alternative, steampunk take on World War I. Germany and its allies are the “clankers”, countries who rely on mechanical devices. Great Britain is “Darwinist”, and they’ve developed ships with biological material. For example, the Leviathan is the premier warship in the British service, and it’s a whale hybrid. If this sounds confusing, don’t worry: it makes sense when you read the novels.

In Goliath, Austrian prince Alek has rejoined the Leviathan as a pseudo-captive after assisting an uprising in Turkey. Deryn is also back with the crew after helping Alek in Turkey, and she’s continuing to live her double life as Dylan. (She’s pretending to be a boy so she can fly.) There’s one problem: Alek knows that Deryn has a secret, although he doesn’t know what. And it doesn’t help that the perspicacious loris keeps calling Deryn Mr. Sharp.

Alek feels he has a destiny to fulfill, and he’s sure that stopping the war is part of it. Add in a crazy and potentially rogue scientist, unscrupulous journalists, and the Mexican revolution, and our heroes have plenty on their plates to deal with.

The novel has plenty of humor and action, and it comes to a satisfying if perhaps—in some aspects—unexpected conclusion. The writing is sharp, and as strong as the previous novels in the series. This is a great novel for teens and would also make a great introduction to steampunk for the uninitiated.
Read by: Kelly

Title: Goliath
Author: Scott Westerfeld
Read: July 2011
Source: Electronic Galley

 

 

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Heartless is a strong addition to the Parasol Protectorate series

July 24th, 2011    Posted in 52 Books in one year challenge, Fantasy, Fiction, Kim
 

The fourth installment of the Parasol Protectorate series might be my favorite thus far. Alexia’s world is well developed, and the story gets off to a fast and funny start. Eight-months pregnant Alexia taking on the world of werewolves, vampires, ghosts, and Victorian society? Perfect.

When a crazy ghost (because in this world, ghosts slowly devolve into poltergeists as the longer they exist since death) contacts Alexia about a plot on the queen, the soulless one has to dive into action. It doesn’t help that vampires are trying to assassinate Alexia and her unborn child, and they’re not afraid to use demonic hedgehogs and exploding gravy boats.

The storyline is fun, and sheds light into the back-stories of several characters, including Alexia’s father. The resolution makes sense, and it’s a fun journey to get to the end. The novel sets up the fifth and final installment “Timeless” well, since Alexia’s baby isn’t necessarily what everyone expected.

The Parasol Protectorate series is great those who like supernatural novels with a mix of comedy and romance. It’s a great guilty pleasure read, and don’t be surprised if you find yourself craving strong cups of English Breakfast tea while reading this novel.

Read by: Kelly

Title: Heartless
Author: Gail Carriger
Source: Powell’s Books
Date read: July 2011

 

 

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Double review: Changeless and Blameless by Gail Carriger

February 11th, 2011    Posted in 52 Books in one year challenge, Fantasy, Fiction, Kelly, Mystery
 

ChangelessFor years, I would have said the Sookie Stackhouse series were my guilty-pleasure reads, but I’d know I’d say the Parasol Protectorate/Alexia Tarabotti series has taken the Southern Vampire series place on my bookshelf. These novels are simply fun: witty, entertaining. The novels are full of eccentric characters, and the supporting cast around Alexia makes the novels. Plus the series is a (gentle) parody of historical novels . . . with steampunk elements. And werewolves. And vampires. What’s not to like?

As I said in my review of Soulless, I can’t let myself contemplate some of the ins and outs of Alexia being “soulless”, as logically it doesn’t always hold up. The world of these books, however, generally holds up.

The storyline of Blameless is dependent upon Changeless, and so in some ways the books have one long story arc although a smaller mystery is resolved in each novel. Carriger clearly laid the groundwork for more novels and it will interesting to see how the series plays out.

BlamelessRead by: Kelly

Title: Blameless
Title: Changeless
Author: Gail Carriger
Date Read: February 2011
Source: Public Library

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Fantasy/Steampunk: Soulless, by Gail Carriger

January 8th, 2011    Posted in 52 Books in one year challenge, Fantasy, Fiction, Kelly
 

Soulless by Gail Carriger

Soulless is a fun mix of fantasy and steam punk. Alexia Tarrabotti is a spinster in Victorian England. She’s also soulless, the opposite of werewolves and vampires, who have too much soul.  The story gets off to a brisk start, as a vampire at a ball attacks Alexia, and she accidently kills him with her hair pin and brass parasol. The vampire should have known it was a mistake to attack Alexia—after all, she neutralizes his powers—and this event sets up the rest of the novel.

I enjoyed the humor, and appreciated how Soulless gently satires historical novels.  I tried not to think too deeply about some of the issues around being soulless. For example, the author says, “Alexia. . . always dresses in the height of fashion because her soulless state seems to mean that she doesn’t have her own taste.”  Alexia clearly has preferences and the romantic aspect of this novel doesn’t work without them.

If you enjoy the Southern Vampire series by Charlaine Harris, I’d recommend Soulless.

Reviewed by: Kelly

Novel: Soulless
Author: Gail Carriger
Read: January 2011
Source: Public Library

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