Review: Parasol Protectorate Series (or at least what I read)

Well this started out will good intensions. I started this series in January 2021 and I wanted to review it, but I didn’t have a lot to say about the first in the series. So I decided that I’d my first ever series review! I had planned to talk a little bit about each book individually, and hopefully a review of what I thought as a whole, that way it’ll all be in one place. What ended up happening… I read books 1 and 2 then ended up reading about 1/3 of book 3 and decided to DNF (Did Not Finish) it. So here’s what I thought of the series (or at least of what I read).

A Touch of Gold: Amazon.ca: Sullivan, Annie: Books

Title: Soulless
Book in Series: 1
Author: Gail Carriger
Publisher: Orbit
Release Date: October 1, 2009
Page Length: 357
Genre: Steampunk Science Fiction | Paranormal Urban Fantasy | Romance | Historical Fiction | Mystery
Age Range: Adult
Rating: 3.5⭐

Goodreads Synopsis:

Alexia Tarabotti is laboring under a great many social tribulations.

First, she has no soul. Second, she’s a spinster whose father is both Italian and dead. Third, she was rudely attacked by a vampire, breaking all standards of social etiquette.

Where to go from there? From bad to worse apparently, for Alexia accidentally kills the vampire–and then the appalling Lord Maccon (loud, messy, gorgeous, and werewolf) is sent by Queen Victoria to investigate.

With unexpected vampires appearing and expected vampires disappearing, everyone seems to believe Alexia responsible. Can she figure out what is actually happening to London’s high society? Will her soulless ability to negate supernatural powers prove useful or just plain embarrassing? Finally, who is the real enemy, and do they have treacle tart?

GoodreadsAmazon Chapters|IndigoBook DepositoryIndieBound

Thoughts

This one was interesting. It felt like a mix of The Extraordinary Adventures of the Athena Club series, Veronica Speedwell series, the Mercy Thompson series – although with less sexual tension than the latter two. Soulless had such great potential of being a glorious historical fiction with smut – or at least more sexual tension. I was begging Alexia and Lord Maccon to hurry it up or banter more, but it never quite met my hopes for that. However, the story overall was really enjoyable. I like the characters and they all had memorable personalities. I wish more of the world’s paranormal politics would have been explained, but maybe that will be more involved in the next book. I enjoyed the mystery element of it too. It wasn’t a huge mystery that required a lot of puzzling to figure out where it was going, but it did add something a little extra to the overall plot of this book.

A Touch of Gold: Amazon.ca: Sullivan, Annie: Books

Title: Changeless
Book in Series: 2
Author: Gail Carriger
Publisher: Orbit
Release Date: April 1, 2010
Page Length: 336
Genre: Steampunk Science Fiction | Paranormal Urban Fantasy | Romance | Historical Fiction | Mystery
Age Range: Adult
Rating: 3⭐

Goodreads Synopsis:

Alexia Maccon, the Lady Woolsey, awakens in the wee hours of the mid-afternoon to find her husband, who should be decently asleep like any normal werewolf, yelling at the top of his lungs. Then he disappears; leaving her to deal with a regiment of supernatural soldiers encamped on her doorstep, a plethora of exorcised ghosts, and an angry Queen Victoria.

But Alexia is armed with her trusty parasol, the latest fashions, and an arsenal of biting civility. So even when her investigations take her to Scotland, the backwater of ugly waistcoats, she is prepared: upending werewolf pack dynamics as only the soulless can. She might even find time to track down her wayward husband, if she feels like it.

CHANGELESS is the second book of the Parasol Protectorate series: a comedy of manners set in Victorian London, full of werewolves, vampires, dirigibles, and tea-drinking.

Thoughts

I took a little break between this book and Soulless to make sure I didn’t get burned out with the world. I don’t know if that helped.

I found that I liked these characters best when they are bantering back and forth. In this one Lord Maccon wasn’t in it for the first half of the book after the first couple of chapters. In this part we had her sister, best friend, and a new character (friend or foe?) travel with her to Scotland, after her husband. The bickering between the characters or the flightiness of the other female characters were a nuisance and I spent the entire time wishing they would fall of the airship.

The mystery was somewhat intriguing – what was turning supernatruals back to their human form? Although I was interested in the mystery, I found it fairly obvious. Moments where the Alexia proved her Sherlock-like-intelligence didn’t seem like such a big feat to me because I had solved that part of the mystery quite a few chapters back. I don’t always mind a predictable mystery, something comforting about it, but in this case – because I wasn’t fond of the female characters – I found it tiresome.

The new character (Genevieve Lefoux), who we were suppose to feel warry of, I found the most interesting of the female companions. She dressed “oddly” (meaning dressed in male business clothing instead of Victorian dresses) and felt like an loner; however, the mystery of where her trust lied was not to mysterious to me. I wanted to learn more about her, but I’m assuming that was saved for the next book.

Although I wasn’t enjoying this one as much as Soulless, I still wanted to give Blameless a try after taking a bit of a break in between.

A Touch of Gold: Amazon.ca: Sullivan, Annie: Books

Title: Blameless
Book in Series: 3
Author: Gail Carriger
Publisher: Orbit
Release Date: September 1, 2010
Page Length: 336
Genre: Steampunk Science Fiction | Paranormal Urban Fantasy | Romance | Historical Fiction | Mystery
Age Range: Adult
Rating: 0⭐ DNF

Goodreads Synopsis:

Quitting her husband’s house and moving back in with her horrible family, Lady Maccon becomes the scandal of the London season in the third book of the NYT bestselling Parasol Protectorate series.

Queen Victoria dismisses her from the Shadow Council, and the only person who can explain anything, Lord Akeldama, unexpectedly leaves town. To top it all off, Alexia is attacked by homicidal mechanical ladybugs, indicating, as only ladybugs can, the fact that all of London’s vampires are now very much interested in seeing Alexia quite thoroughly dead.

While Lord Maccon elects to get progressively more inebriated and Professor Lyall desperately tries to hold the Woolsey werewolf pack together, Alexia flees England for Italy in search of the mysterious Templars. Only they know enough about the preternatural to explain her increasingly inconvenient condition, but they may be worse than the vampires — and they’re armed with pesto.

BLAMELESS is the third book of the Parasol Protectorate series: a comedy of manners set in Victorian London, full of werewolves, vampires, dirigibles, and tea-drinking.

Thoughts

I tried everyone, I really did. It’s not that the writing is bad – I enjoy Carriger’s writing. I just only seem to like the characters in very specific situations. I wanted more of the banter and that wasn’t happening at the point where I DNF’d it. At this point (page 143), We were bouncing between two (or was it three) characters. We had the parties split into two courts – Alexia is innocent or Alexia is a cheater. This wasn’t enough to interest me. We once again have Alexia and Maccon separated (a result from the end of book 2) so I’m already unhappy knowing I wont get banter until they get back together. We were getting a bit more about Lefoux and Professor Lyall but not enough for me to want to stick around.

It had moments, like the killer lady bugs!, but every time I went to pick it up I was dreading it. I had debated do I slog through the first half (or more) of the book just to get to (hopefully) the reunion of Alexia and Maccon OR do I just decide that this series (and world) isn’t for me. I still stand by my original comparisons – if you enjoyed The Extraordinary Adventures of the Athena Club series, Veronica Speedwell series, the Mercy Thompson series then you may like these. I think I just wanted a little more of the romance/banter that was in Soulless that having that taken away wasn’t worth it for me.

I will not be reading Heartless or Timeless (or the other series in this world). If Carriger writes something outside of this world then maybe I’ll try it since I was enjoying her writing.

What do you think? Have you read this series or the others?

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