Heartless: Book Four of the Parasol Protectorate Series

Amazon Used
At this point in the series, with only one book left, I almost can't write a review without spoiling some things for certain readers. That's why I'm going to change up my format out of consideration of anyone thinking about reading further into the series. I'm doing this because you might not be interested in starting a new series without knowing if it will end badly. We don't want another Lost.
Okay, Carriger has gotten into a really good stride at this point in the series. All of the characters are really interesting, the conflict is now more engaging - and if you have your wits about you, you actually have a chance at guessing the outcome (I hate books that deliberately with-hold information from the reader and toss out red herrings so that, even if you're paying very close attention, you'll never figure it out - cough, cough the Millennium trilogy)
I'm also excited that Carriger focused more on London this time around. I'm already a fan of Victorian novels on manners, and one of my favorite parts about this series is that - unlike a lot of Steampunk (unfortunately... ) - she's interested in it as well. Most Steampunk is really just a regular sci-fi novel but with steam & goggles. I get that a lot of fans think that's more interesting than Victorian manners, but this sets it apart.
The rest is under the spoiler-buffering jump -

Okay, so we've known for a while that Alexia is pregnant. Now she is jolly well and good pregnant. A lot of this novel features her "waddling" and cracking jokes at her big belly. It's a little annoying, but Alexia is extremely dry - it's good that Carriger doesn't take her too seriously because I think that would be absolutely intolerable. She's also nicer to Ivy in this book. Poor Ivy; we all have that one trite friend (usually in my circles, it's me), but she's good as gold and I've never been crazy about how mean Alexia is to her friend. I also made several outbursts while reading in regards to the risky situations the fully pregnant Alexia kept getting herself into, to the amusement of my confused coworker. I'm sorry, but chasing a giant, fire-breathing robot octopus through the streets of a fictional Victorian London is ill-advised, and it's not wonder that... never mind.
Anyway, this book has a lot more to do with home-prepping for the Maccon pup. It's been arranged that Lord Akeldama will be taking over a large share of the burden and as such the Woosley Pack has a new head quarters in London. This is great news for Alexia who is investigating a threat on the Queen, while digging up some back story that ties this series together with The Finishing School series. We learn a little more about Alexia's father (and more minor character developments) as well. Actually, if you ask me, this is the meat of the story here. The conflict is a little on the gristley side - by which I mean, I didn't get much out of it. All the same, I loved this installment maybe more than all the others so far.

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