September 20, 2011

Steampunk... whuh?

Okay, I've never given much thought about Steampunk.  It always sounded too sci-fi for me, that is until I took the advice of one of the guys at my old bookshop.  Although I was still hesitant about trying it, the cover was so intriguing I thought "what the hell?"

I don't regret my decision.  The Parasol Protectorate series by Gail Carriger (love the logo) is truly wonderful.  It is full of the customary corsets and carriages, teapots and tiaras, that one expects from a period series, but don't let the Victorian setting put you off from reading this awesome series.  Our heroine kicks butt with her jumped up hi-tech parasol.

For those of us who adore a little supernatural spice, you will get your fill of werewolves, vampires and other things that go bump in the night - rest assured that they play a major part in the storyline.  The central story revolves around a bluestocking, Alexia Tarabotti.  A lady of Italian extraction, who just happens to be soulless.  Her curse, if that is how one wishes to view it, is that if she touches another supernatural being, they become human - and can be killed.

And if that didn't set her apart enough, then Alexia has the most superficial and gossip-mongering family.  If I was in Alexia's shoes I would have tried to do away with them long before now. . . hint hint

And yes, I know it's actually 'An Alexia Tarabotti Novel', but it doesn't have the same ring as the Parasol Protectorate does it :D

About the Books

So far there are four books available in the Parasol Protectorate series, with Timeless being released on 28 Feb 2012;


Alexia Tarabotti is laboring under a great many social tribulations. First, she has no soul. Second, she's a spinster whose father is both Italian and dead. Third, she was rudely attacked by a vampire, breaking all standards of social etiquette.

Where to go from there? From bad to worse apparently, for Alexia accidentally kills the vampire -- and then the appalling Lord Maccon (loud, messy, gorgeous, and werewolf) is sent by Queen Victoria to investigate.

With unexpected vampires appearing and expected vampires disappearing, everyone seems to believe Alexia responsible. Can she figure out what is actually happening to London's high society? Will her soulless ability to negate supernatural powers prove useful or just plain embarrassing? Finally, who is the real enemy, and do they have treacle tart?

SOULLESS is a comedy of manners set in Victorian London: full of werewolves, vampires, dirigibles, and tea-drinking.


Alexia Tarabotti, the Lady Woolsey, awakens in the wee hours of the mid-afternoon to find her husband, who should be decently asleep like any normal werewolf, yelling at the top of his lungs. Then he disappears - leaving her to deal with a regiment of supernatural soldiers encamped on her doorstep, a plethora of exorcised ghosts, and an angry Queen Victoria.

But Alexia is armed with her trusty parasol, the latest fashions, and an arsenal of biting civility. Even when her investigations take her to Scotland, the backwater of ugly waistcoats, she is prepared: upending werewolf pack dynamics as only the soulless can.

She might even find time to track down her wayward husband, if she feels like it.


Quitting her husband's house and moving back in with her horrible family, Lady Maccon becomes the scandal of the London season.

Queen Victoria dismisses her from the Shadow Council, and the only person who can explain anything, Lord Akeldama, unexpectedly leaves town. To top it all off, Alexia is attacked by homicidal mechanical ladybugs, indicating, as only ladybugs can, the fact that all of London's vampires are now very much interested in seeing Alexia quite thoroughly dead.

While Lord Maccon elects to get progressively more inebriated and Professor Lyall desperately tries to hold the Woolsey werewolf pack together, Alexia flees England for Italy in search of the mysterious Templars. Only they know enough about the preternatural to explain her increasingly inconvenient condition, but they may be worse than the vampires -- and they're armed with pesto.


Lady Alexia Maccon, soulless, is at it again, only this time the trouble is not her fault. When a mad ghost threatens the queen, Alexia is on the case, following a trail that leads her deep into her husband's past. Top that off with a sister who has joined the suffragette movement (shocking!), Madame Lefoux's latest mechanical invention, and a plague of zombie porcupines and Alexia barely has time to remember she happens to be eight months pregnant.

Will Alexia manage to determine who is trying to kill Queen Victoria before it is too late? Is it the vampires again or is there a traitor lurking about in wolf's clothing? And what, exactly, has taken up residence in Lord Akeldama's second best closet?


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?

UPDATE - this does seem to be the last book in the series {searching for tissues to sniffle into} however Ms Carriger is planning another series set in the same funky Victorian period, only 25 years earlier, and at a Finishing School.

About the Author

Ms. Carriger began writing in order to cope with being raised in obscurity by an expatriate Brit and an incurable curmudgeon. She escaped small town life and inadvertently acquired several degrees in Higher Learning. Ms. Carriger then traveled the historic cities of Europe, subsisting entirely on biscuits secreted in her handbag. She now resides in the Colonies, surrounded by a harem of Armenian lovers, where she insists on tea imported directly from London and cats that pee into toilets. She is fond of teeny tiny hats and tropical fruit. Find out more about the author at

PS all book descriptions and author bio were taken from Amazon.  The bio is the same in the back of the books, but it just saved time to cut and paste.