Review: Timeless (Parasol Protectorate #5) by Gail Carriger

Agent Blue Bonnet here with a transmittal from the Parasol Protectorate secret society: Timeless by Gail Carriger is finally out! I discovered this series last year while I was participating in the Steampunk Reading Challenge over at Bookish Ardour. I absolutely loved Soulless (Book #1) and it has been an interesting series to watch evolve overall.

Timeless is Book #5 in the series–which seems to be the last installment I am sad to say. The first four books take place in rapid secession but this book is set two years after Book #4. Alexia Tarabotti AKA Lady Maccon, is settling into her new life–as best she can considering she is married to a werewolf and boasts a metanatural daughter.

Alexia is what is known as a preternatural, meaning she is born with no soul–she cancels out the supernatural abilities in other creatures and sets them ‘free’–in other words she gives them the ‘true death’–thus she is know in the supernatural sect as a ‘soul-sucker’. Her daughter, Prudence, is a metanatural which means she can absorb supernatural power on contact–earning the name ‘soul-stealer’. Both terms don’t bode well for the Maccon family. Most supernaturals fear both them, but others long to be free of the ‘curse’–immortality.

Suddenly, the Maccon family is summonsed to court… not Queen Victoria’s court…..the court of Queen Matakara, Vampire Queen of Egypt–the oldest living vampire! Her’s is a summons not to be ignored….so the Maccon family catches a steamer to Egypt–their abomination AKA baby Prudence, in tow. Lady and Lord Maccon are both troubled by the summons….things at home in London are unstable at best.

In the last book the God-Breaker Plague came to London…..there were mummies sucking the soul right out of London’s supernatural world, to say nothing of the swarming vampire hive, the Maccon family taking up residence in Lord Akeldama’s second closet, a new dandy werewolf, mechanical devices wreaking mass destruction at every exclusive address in London, and not to mention a baby….the least they can do is wonder what Queen Marakara wants from them?

When they arrive in Egypt, Lord and Lady Maccon discover a much more disturbing reality….there is no tea! Oh and the God-Breaker Plague (GBP) seems to suddenly be expanding. Back in jolly old London, the Pack is trying to sort out the mystery of the GBP….Professor Lyall and the new dandy werewolf Biffy, are trying to piece together the murder of a pack member which they are sure ties into the GBP curse.

The story unravels from there into a wild, whirlwind adventure of mishaps, supernatural politics, mummies, proper etiquette, and steam powered inventions complete with a spot of proper English tea!

One of the things I love about this series was we more or less grew with the characters which allows the reader to fully appreciate the character development and story line–not just the mystery and plot. I loved the direction that Carriger went with Biffy….I didn’t think I was going to but in the end she surprised me which doesn’t happen often! Biffy really shines in this book, and I liked watching him go from vampire drone to dandy werewolf. He goes through such a transformation (literally and figuratively) and Carriger really nails his inner consciousness of the change–in addition to exploring the effects his transformation has on those around him and his relationships.

I’ll be honest, my biggest criticism of this book… I didn’t like the cover. The covers of Book #4 and Timeless were ‘blah’ for me….I liked the other covers better. NOT a fan of the cover designer….this cover had the potential to be totally rockin’ but it just fell flat for me… didn’t do justice to the story in my opinion.

I also wasn’t entirely sure I would like the Egypt direction and I was worried that too much was left loose at the end of Heartless meaning this book would have to be crammed full of answers if it is to be the last. It took a while to actually get into the story it seemed….there wasn’t really a re-cap as to what happened in the previous book so I was a little disorientated at references to the last book. Example, the GBP…I forgot that preternaturals repel each other, so when it was referenced to in Timeless, I had to stop and think back to the previous book. It would have been nice to weave more of the ‘back story’ into the book to remind readers what happened previously.

I also felt like the ending was a little too rushed. It took about half of the book to get to Egypt and the actual story and then a lot was left to culminate at the end….lots of questions to be answered and explained….lots of mystery to be solved….just lots of excess soul in general! And then suddenly….there we are at the end. The ending felt a little hasty.

That said, this latest installment breathed life into the series for me. The last book (Heartless) was not my fav, even Blameless was a little wanting…the quality of the novels dipped somewhat in the last couple of books for me, but I was so in love with the wit, charm, and overall concept that I couldn’t NOT finish the series…but I will admit, I had reservations considering I didn’t care for the direction the series was taking in Book #4 so I was thrilled that this book made up for Book #4–Timeless exceeded expectations and made me fall in love with the series all over again!! I think the exotic location, the dual POV added new character perspective, plus the ‘full circle’ of things was a perfect antidote and ending to the series. Carriger left some room for the unanswered questions to be addressed, perhaps in her new YA series Parasol Protectorate Abroad that I hear is in the works :).

Book #1 will still be my all time fav in this series–virtually everything about this series is note worthy. It is a quirky, witty, engaging series that will charm readers. I loved the mix of steampunk and supernatural elements in the books….it all came together so seamlessly. The steampunk elements made the books for me…it added such a different layer of entertainment and added a surreal, mysterious feeling to the supernatural adventures.

Throughout the series Carriger’s voice and personality shine through. She is at her best when she’s writing with her own style. Carriger does not emulate other genres which I loved….readers get the experience of feeling treated by reading her books.

Challenge/Book Summary:

Book: Timeless (Parasol Protectorate #5) by Gail Carriger

  • Kindle Edition, 341 pages
  • Published March 1st 2012 by Hachette Digital

This book counts toward:

Historical Fiction Reading Challenge

Recommendation: 4 out of 5 (an appropriate ending to an outstanding series, lovable steampunk classic)

Genre: Steampunk, historic fiction, sci-fi, supernatural lit, fantasy

Memorable lines/quotes:

I never gossip. I observe. And then relay my observations to practically everyone.

One did not, after all, gossip about oneself. It was simply not done.

The burden of a spy…was not in knowing things but in knowing when to tell such things to others.

3 thoughts on “Review: Timeless (Parasol Protectorate #5) by Gail Carriger

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