Thursday, 1 March 2012

Timeless by Gail Carriger

Timeless is Gail Carriger’s fifth and final instalment in the Parasol Protectorate series and what a delightful read it has been. For those of you unfamiliar with the setting, the Parasol Protectorate series is set in a Victorian steampunk London (mostly) in a world openly populated by vampires, werewolves and ghosts (the supernatural). Alexia, the main character, is a preternatural which means that her touch temporarily cancels out supernatural abilities and their accompanying immortality. And she probably doesn’t have a soul.


SPOILER WARNING: Minor spoilers in the form of which characters are alive/undead at the start of the fifth book after their lives/undeaths were threatened in previous books. Also a bit of a spoiler for part of the ending of Heartless, the previous book, which I will indicate with SPOILERCAPS. No spoilers for Timeless itself, however.


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The cover proclaims that Timeless is “a novel of vampires, werewolves, and mummies” and it does not lie. We again meet Alexia and all our favourite characters from the earlier books and are introduced to Alexia’s daughter, Prudence, who is now two years old and quite the entertaining little toddler.


What I found most surprising was how much of the over-arching plot from the earlier books was pulled into this conclusion. Hanging threads I hadn’t even really noticed were hanging were neatly tied together along with seeds planted in earlier books. At the same time, this volume turns Alexia’s adventures into the perfect stage for Carriger’s next series in the same universe (Parasol Protectorate Abroad, due out in the latter part of next year), which I believe will follow Prudence at least in part.


So now, after mysteries which were simmering beneath the surface in the earlier books are brought to the fore, I am simply dying to know what happens next.


There is a lot of interesting character development in Timeless, in particular we see Biffy step further into the spotlight and gosh he is quite adorable. He is easily my favourite character in Timeless and I hope that when Carriger revisits the Parasol Protectorate world we’ll see more of him (which seems likely, really). I can’t say more without spoilers, but as my husband will attest, Biffy scenes frequently caused me to voice miscellaneous sounds of adoration.


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THE NEXT PARAGRAPH CONTAINS A SPOILER FOR THE END OF HEARTLESS. YOU SHOULD BE SAFE IF YOU JUST SKIP IT. HELPFUL TILDES ARE HELPFUL.


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Another interesting and slightly more subtle character development we see is Akeldama’s in his new role as Prudence’s adopted father. At first it seems as though things are ticking along as usual at the Akeldama household, but towards the end we see interesting new depths to the character whether he wants us to or not.


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THE MINOR SPOILER IS PAST, YO.


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Have I mentioned I heart Biffy to bifs bits?


Anyway, Timeless is a hilarious manner-punk read in which, among other things, Alexia discovers that having a magic toddler can make propriety quite challenging. And that you can’t get a decent cup of tea in Egypt. I laughed out loud several times, I was moved by the sombre parts, wailing in disbelief at one point, and made many Biffy-adoring noises.


If you haven’t started reading the Parasol Protectorate books, I can’t imagine why not. Who doesn’t like hilarious steam-/manner-punk? If you have kept up with the series, get out and get your hands on Timeless by whatever (legal!) means necessary. It’s a satisfying conclusion to the series and an enticing set up for the next. And, quite frankly, don’t you want to read more of Alexia’s adventures?


5 / 5 stars

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