Review: Heartless by Gail Carriger

Posted 13 July, 2011 by Amanda / 6 Comments

Heartless by Gail Carriger (Parasol Protectorate, #4)
Genre: Steampunk
Purchased: paperback
Read: 7/1/2011 — 7/2/2011
In six words: the ending saved Heartless from disappointing

Gail Carriger — Website | Blog | Twitter | Facebook
Amazon — Paperback | Kindle
Book Depository — Paperback
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Book Order

1.  Soulless — good escape from grad school stress ****
2. Changeless  — delightful book overshadowed by cruel ending ***
3. Blameless — my opinion: Carriger has redeemed herself ****
4. Heartless
5. Timeless (2012)

Why I Started This Series

Over a year ago, Tara @ 25 Hour Books sent me Soulless.  At that time, Steampunk wasn’t even in my vocabulary, and the most I had ventured outside of my mystery and romantic suspense comfort zone and enjoyed the experience was Harry Potter.  But I am never one to turn down books that are offered to me, especially when they are sent directly to my doorstep.  Convenience and the promise of entertainment keep me from staying too firmly rooted in a single genre.  I like to explore a bit.  This was one adventure that paid off.  I’ve included a six word summary of my impressions of each of the previous books, as well as the links to my reviews on 25 Hour Books for Changeless and Blameless if you really want to know my deepest darkest thoughts.  However, I highly suspect that my six words and star rating (out of 5) should suffice.  You can bet that I will pick up Timeless when it is released in 2012, but I am not sure I will do so with the same anticipation as with previous books.

Note: If you have not read the rest of the books in this series, and you do not wish to know what happens, please do not read any further.  Instead, I suggest you waddle off to your nearest bookstore or shelf or wherever you might find the Parasol Protectorate, and read the books.  NOW. 


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?
-from Goodreads

My Thoughts on Book 4

Because the last time I read a book in this series was back in October of 2010, my knowledge of Alexia’s world had become hazy.  This lack of sharp recollection made jumping into Heartless a bit difficult.  On a slightly related note, I cannot believe how much Heartless captures Gail Carriger’s writing style.  I’m not sure that’s even the best way to explain it, so let me try again.  I follow Gail both on Twitter and her blog (links above).  Reading Heartless is so incredibly reminiscent of her blog posts and tweets.  Perhaps it would be best to say that Heartless is the essence of Gail Carriger?  This observation made reading Heartless more enjoyable, I think.

However, the majority of this book did not engage me as previous books have.  Do not get me wrong, this is a very enjoyable book.  But there was some element lacking that prevented me from truly getting sucked in until the very end.  Perhaps it is because there is less friction between Alexia and her husband, and he plays a very minimal role that also has him showing his softer side.  Not a bad side, mind you, it’s just that this reader likes more friction and wit.  Alexia primarily waddled around on her own in her efforts to solve the mystery of who wants to kill the queen.

There is a great deal to learn in Heartless that has largely remained a mystery throughout the rest of the series.  Not only are some of these things addressed, but there are also some surprising and/or scandalous bits of information revealed.  And, of course, we learn more about the infant-inconvenience.  The aforementioned mystery was extremely well-done, and the end result plus the infant-inconvenience give plenty of material for Timeless, the next book in the series.

You Might Like This Book If…

If you’ve read any previous Parasol Protectorate, this is a must read.  Victorian era historical fiction fans who don’t mind a little paranormal will probably enjoy this series.  But I confess that I have no idea how this book fits into the steampunk genre.

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Filed under: ESR: 7, Review: Amanda, Steampunk, ,


6 Responses to “Review: Heartless by Gail Carriger”

  1. Felicia

    I have only read the first book in this series. I have a problem with over descriptiveness in steampunk that I am trying to get past. I do have the rest of them though (I skipped the review because I read the backs of each of the books and it does seem the story changes a bit over the course of the books)

    • This is the only steampunk book I have read (or at least that I was aware of reading), and the only over descriptiveness that I could do without here is the fashion. But that seems in line with Gail’s interest and personality, so I just skimmed it.

  2. The good is that I don’t need to waddle off the nearest bookstore, I already own the first three books.:) The bad is that I haven’t read them. :(

    Like you, I had no clue what Steampunk was. I think Tara (or the blogging community) introduced me to it and I remember buying the books up right away, but they have since sat unloved on my shelves.

    I did read The Iron Duke by Meljean Brook (which Tara delivered to me) and simply fell in love with the steampunk world created within that story!

    • There’s no time like the present!

      I haven’t read The Iron Duke (though I’m sure Tara put it on my TBR list) but I really liked this series. I’ve heard that it’s not a good representation of what steampunk really is, though.