My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I loved this book. Really, I can’t remember the last time a book had me quite so hooked, so excited at the prospect of reading, and so completely gutted to have reached the end. Needless to say I ordered the next in The Parasol Protectorate series within hours of reshelving!
So what is it that makes the book so compelling to read? Well, to start with let me offer a brief synopsis. Alexia Tarrabotti, the protagonist, is the named “soulless”. In a Victorian London where werewolves, vampires and ghosts are registered as recognised citizens, she is the anti-supernatural. One touch of her soulless hand grounds the focus of her physical contact, rendering them – for the duration of contact – fully human once again. She is the natural predator of the predatory, the evolutionary response to supernatural threat.
While the supernatural are aware of the preternatural’s existence, Miss Tarrabotti is no threat to them in the modern, civilised society of which they are a part. But when, while innocently enjoying afternoon tea in a library, Miss Tarrabotti is attacked by a rove vampire who seems blissfully unaware of her abilities, she falls prey to a modern threat from which not even her charmingly cutting way with words can untangle her.
So, yes, vampires, werewolves, afternoon tea, parasols, Victorian Britain, corsets, cravats, and a delightfully rough and handsome werewolf Earl whose Scottish burr occasional escapes its confines leaving a trail of young ladies melted in his wake… I think this novel was written with me in mind!
All this alongside the most humourously written farcical prose I’ve read in a long time: if Wodehouse and Austen had a lovechild, and Wilde and Mitford had a lovechild, and those two lovechildren had a lovechild of their own with all the concentrated wit of their forefathers – well, they might have produced Gail Carriger. I laughed SO HARD at this book, I felt certain I would bust a gut!
Two thumbs up, five stars, ten out of ten and a hundred pleas for more of the same!
UPDATE: The lady herself: A very brief interview with Gail Carriger on the importance of etiquette and tea!