Publisher: UK – Orbit
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?
Despite being eight months pregnant, Lady Alexia Maccon takes no prisoners in her latest adventure. From the first page, she waddles in control of herself and others – and making sure there is always a cup of tea at the ready. One of the elements I love about this series is the comedy of manners that ensures. After all, werewolves turning into naked men causes certain social niceties some issues...
This world neatly combined elements of steampunk (steam inventions and dirigibles) with the paranormal in a world of Victorian ideals. This means that unmarried women don’t go out unchaperoned, and even in the midst of an attack it’s scandalous to see men without hats upon their heads. The investigation into who is threatening the queen is interesting – especially when Alexia gets side tracked. However, the first half of the book is relatively slow moving with little urgency until the final hundred pages when there is a huge finale across London and into the countryside.
I love the cast of characters about Alexia, from her over protective alpha husband, Lord Maccon, the dandy former-vampire drone Biffy, mad inventor Madame Lefoux and even hat-obsessed Ivy Tunstell. The world is unique and this is a rip-roaring adventure with perfect manners and a lot of fun.
Recommended for fans of Nicole Peeler and Philippa Ballantine. 8 out of 10.