- Gail Carriger
Alexia Tarabotti, Lady Maccon, has settled into domestic bliss. Of course, being Alexia, such bliss involves integrating werewolves into London High society, living in a vampire's second best closet, and coping with a precocious toddler who is prone to turning supernatural willy-nilly. Even Ivy Tunstell's acting troupe's latest play, disastrous to say the least, cannot put a damper on Alexia's enjoyment of her new London lifestyle. Until, that is, she receives a summons from Alexandria that cannot be ignored. With husband, child, and Tunstells in tow, Alexia boards a steamer to cross the Mediterranean. But Egypt may hold more mysteries than even the indomitable Lady Maccon can handle. What does the vampire Queen of the Alexandria Hive really want from her? Why is the God-Breaker Plague suddenly expanding? And how has Ivy Tunstell suddenly become the most popular actress in all the British Empire?
This is the final book in the Parasol Protectorate series following the adventures of Alexia, in the Victorian era when one can easily have tea with a vampire and a carriage ride with a werewolf...as long as you mind your manners. Two years have passed since Alexia and her husband Lord Maccon, had their daughter Prudence and it’s been two years of relative calm (with the exception of bath time of course). Now though, the death of the Scottish Pack’s Beta means that Alexia, her husband and daughter are set to head to Egypt and the source of the Godbreaker’s curse.
One of the elements that I love about this series is the comedy of manners that has evolves. The idea of going out in public without a hat – scandalous! Tea and cake are essential for British mentality, and Alexia ensures that this is never missed. The first half of Timeless is set in London and is quite slow going as we catch up with all our favourite characters – Biffy, Lord Akeldama, Ivy Tunstall and of course we meet Prudence, Alexia’s daughter for the first time. While this re-introduces us to all the players and provides plenty of comedy moments, not much of interest actually happens – that is all saved for Egypt.
Once Alexia and family hit Egypt a lot happens in a short space of time. The pace speeds up and there is little time to think as events – both heartbreaking and inevitable seem to happen quickly. The ending is sweet and pretty inevitable, but feels like it’s missing that spark that would make it completely satisfying. I’m not sure what it is, but while I did enjoy this visit to Victorian steampunk London, it felt very much like Gail was setting up the scene for a sequel series – perhaps focussing on Prudence when she’s older..? Surprisingly though the next series will actually be a prequel series!
In the end though this is a good finish to a consistently entertaining series and I will miss having tea and cake with Alexia in the future.
Recommended for fans of George Mann and Patricia Briggs. 8 out of 10