Published by Orbit on July 1st 2011
Genres: Paranormal, Steam-Punk
Source: Owned Audible Book
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?
I love audio books. In the author’s notes on the audio version of Joe Hill’s NOS4A2, he talks about how the first stories we learn are read to us. I listen to audio books when I’m in the car, shopping, and playing Candy Crush Soda Saga or Trivia Crack.
In typical book blogger fashion, I already have a tbr shelf just for audio books. Reviewing them is a bit more difficult, because I don’t take notes and I don’t always know how to spell the characters names. So these reviews will be a little different from my book reviews.
Ghosts, zombie porcupines, murder plots, and a super pregnant Alexia Maccon. Throw in one insufferable suffragette sister, one reluctant vampire drone turned depressed werewolf, Lord Akeldama as a next door neighbor, and dirigibles, and you have yet another exciting Parasol Protectorate novel!
The vampires are still trying to kill Alexia because they fear her child, but Lord Akeldama agrees to adopt her child, which is the start of a rather uneasy truce between the local hive and Lady Maccon- but also ensures the right amount of humor because Alexia and Conall move next door so they can be near their child while it’s growing up. Of course a lot of the humor also comes in the form of Alexia dealing with her 8th month of pregnancy and all the many physical discomforts (and societal unease with women’s pregnancy, especially in the Victorian age).
The main plot deals with Alexia and Conall trying to uncover a plot to kill the queen- information they get from a ghost who is already close to final expiration and unable to give a very sensible account. But there’s also subplots involving Conall’s pack, Alexia’s father, and Biffy’s adjustment to pack life. Or lack of adjustment.
While I liked Book 3, this one is even better- it’s back in England, it has more Akledama and more Biffy, and more Professor Lyall. I love how Alexia draws Ivy into her machinations, and to be fair, while still silly and obtuse and lacking in hat fashion, Ivy is not completely clueless all the time. The end included a lively chase, lots of danger, a birth and the usual problem solving Alexia is famous for. Or is it infamous? Regardless, I started the 5th and final book immediately after finishing this one, because sometimes procrastination pays off and I don’t have to wait!
Emily Gray narrates to perfection, every time. I love that I never have to guess which character is speaking, because Gray gives each character a unique and identifiable sound, so much so that it’s hard to believe all the voices are coming from one person. She’s definitely one of my all time favorite narrators!