Timeless Mass Market Paperback – Mar 1 2012
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"Readers will undoubtedly be content with how this charming series wraps up."―SciFi Now on Timeless
"Spectacular debut novel...a real page-turner."―RT Book Reviews on Soulless
"Soulless is a character-driven romp with great worldbuilding and delicious rapier wit that recalls Austen and P.G. Wodehouse."―io9.com on Soulless
"A delightfully fun supernatural comedy of manners, with a refreshing romance thrown in - and a highly promising first novel."―Locus on Soulless
"Delivers what readers have come to expect: witty style paired with globe-spanning Victorian derring-do."―RT Book Reviews on Timeless
"Carriger's Parasol Protectorate series beautifully blends together alternate history, steampunk and paranormal romance into stories that are witty, engaging and fun."―Kirkus on Timeless
"The world of Timeless is a unique recipe of steampunk and fantasy spiced with light sprinkling of romance. Its setting is rich for characters to romp about in, but the unbridled playfulness of the language and dialogue shines brightest."―Miami Herald on Timeless
About the Author
New York Times bestselling author Gail Carriger writes to cope with being raised in obscurity by an expatriate Brit and an incurable curmudgeon. She escaped small town life and inadvertently acquired several degrees in Higher Learning. Ms. Carriger then traveled the historic cities of Europe, subsisting entirely on biscuits secreted in her handbag. She resides in the Colonies, surrounded by fantastic shoes, where she insists on tea imported from London.
The Parasol Protectorate books are: Soulless, Changeless, Blameless, Heartless, and Timeless. Soulless won the ALA's Alex Award. A manga adaptation released in Spring 2012 and a young adult series set in the same universe -- the Finishing School series -- launched in Spring 2013. Gail is soon to begin writing a new adult series, The Parasol Protectorate Abroad (2015).
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'Timeless' jumps two years forward from 'Heartless', two years that have been peaceful -- well, as peaceful as anything is likely to get in the Maccon household. Then Alexia gets, by way of the local vampire queen, a summons to appear with her daughter in Alexandria (yes, the one in Egypt) before Matakara, the oldest vampire living. At the same time, Sidhaeg -- Conall's multi-great-granddaughter and Alpha of his old Scottish pack -- shows up, looking for her missing Beta, who had been in Egypt on a mission for her. The Beta reappears, but gets murdered before he can get more than a few words out to Alexia. So Alexia packs up her family -- and the Tunstells and their acting troupe -- and heads out via steamer (werewolves being notoriously poor floaters). From there, the story whirls through a sequence of mishaps, supernatural political entanglements, and strange occurrences. The action clips along at a great pace, both in Alexandria and back at home, as the Maccons abroad and the wolf pack back at home both try to sort out the mystery of the God-Breaker Plague.
The really great thing here is Carriger's ability to not forget character development admist all the action. For a lot of the book, that really shines in Biffy and Lyall, though we do get a fair bit out of Alexia and Conall as well. Biffy's swiftly becoming my favourite character in the whole series, really, because he goes through such a transformative journey from when we meet him to the end of this book. Without giving too much away, Carriger handles the various aspects of his personality and relationship dynamics really well, with a lot of tenderness and a lot of psychological awareness. She handles the expanding cast of characters without sacrificing any emotional realism, and she jumps back and forth between the two plotlines in a way that makes sure the reader never loses sight of what's going on.
I've said throughout the series that Carriger is at her best when she's writing for herself, with her own style, rather than emulating other genres, and in 'Timeless', she seems to have trusted that impulse entirely. There are no moments of narrative awkwardness, where the story feels like something else has collided into it from the outside; rather, we are treated to the continuing adventures of Alexia et al in Carriger's own witty voice. It's a delight. My only criticism is that the denouement ties up a little too quickly. I could've used a bit more exploration of the new constructs our characters find themselves in at the end of the series, about how they're going to move forward from here on out. Ultimately, it just ended way too soon; I could have happily spent a lot more time with these characters.
'Timeless' is an adventure story that manages to be lighthearted and emotionally tugging at the same time. Carriger gives us characters we can care about, but without ever taking herself too seriously. The series as a whole has fantastic energy, superb wit, and a sparkle that I've yet to find in other steampunk literature. The Parasol Protectorate series is just plain fun. I'm tremendously sorry to say goodbye to this series, but I'm delighted that Carriger's world will be continuing in the YA Finishing School Series and the adult Parasol Protectorate Abroad series. The former will take place some twenty-five years earlier in the AU's history; the latter is due to feature our Prudence, all grown up and taking on the world. Both are due out in 2013, and I eagerly anticipate their arrival.
I enjoyed this book in the way that I enjoy watching an old movie on a rainy day. It was comfortable and nice to catch up with an old friend. However, reading a new book, even one late in a series, shouldn't feel so rote. It should be exciting, and I should be looking forward to seeing what happens. The problem was that I felt like I already knew what was going to happen and none of it was all that remarkable or interesting.
Let's start with the good. I found Prudence and her unique abilities to be entertaining. The irreverent attitude that Alexia has for the "infant inconvenience" was still funny for me; it's loving with a complete lack of romanticism, something utterly alien to most modern readers. Alexia seemed a bit softer in this book and more relatable, although it almost veered a little too much from the Alexia we've grown to love. Seeing Akeldama bested by a toddler during bath time was also quite fun. There were also lots of wonderful Ivy moments, and her storyline was one of the few things I truly enjoyed about the book. I loved it, actually.
Now for the bad. Quite a bit of this book is told in Biffy's POV, and I absolutely hated it. Don't get me wrong, I adore Biffy as a supporting character, but I just didn't enjoy him in a more central role. He's too much of a stereotype to be a sympathetic lead for me. I also did not like the Biffy/Professor Lyall romance. I know a lot of others liked it, but it just didn't work for me for several reasons. 1: A good part of PL's appeal was his mystery, and placing him into a first-hand love scene stripped him of any of that. 2: There was pretty much no build-up to the romance. It was briefly mentioned in the last book I believe that Alexia wanted to set them up, but that was pretty much it. Biffy even says that they had little interaction. But then, Biffy helps Lyall out in one fight, and they go home and sleep together. That's not romantic to me. 3: There's no relief from it. For the rest of the book after the initial hookup, if they are in the scene together, some mention is made of the relationship. It is just constantly there in your face. 4: I would much rather have seen a Biffy/Lord Akeldama romance play out. I feel like the end of that relationship was not given its due, and it would have been far more interesting to read about a vampire and werewolf trying to make things work.
In my opinion, far too much attention was given to supporting characters in this book. I wanted more time with Alexia. Her POV was almost solely in Egypt, and that trip felt very bland. The supposed "mystery" of the God-breaker plague that they were uncovering was such an utter let-down that I could have just cried. The plague as well as the motivation behind it felt like very lazy writing to me. I was excited about learning more about Alessandro Tarabotti (and Floote, of course), but there was nothing startling or exciting there either. I was also EXTREMELY upset about the way Floote's story played out in this book, as he was my absolute favorite character, after Alexia. I had also expected for there to be more uncovered about Prudence's abilities or the history behind preternatural/supernatural pairings. I knew the book was going to be set in Egypt, but I had still hoped that they would further address Zenobia (the child of a vampire and preternatural) or someone similar. I'm not faulting the book for not having exactly what I hoped for, but there were just so many more interesting things that have been alluded to in past books that would have been much more interesting to read about than what was actually put in the book. I just feel like I learned nothing new about the characters or the mythology of their world except for some tidbits about water.
Ultimately, if you're reading this review, you've likely read the first 4 books, so of course you have to read this one. There's nothing so bad that you shouldn't finish the series, but I would not expect to be blown away. This did read like it was probably the final book in the series, and, unfortunately, I actually hope that is the case. The way things were left with the characters, I don't think I would find an ounce of enjoyment in another installment. I hate that too because this has been my absolute favorite series that I re-read over and over.
***Edited to add: I forgot to mention that when I initially read the description for this book, I thought that the summons from a vampire queen sounded really interesting, and it almost was. Everything was there: her sad eyes, startling appearance, and her age. There could have been such a fabulous story behind that queen, but it was so glossed over and barely given any attention. I just had to add that because it was one of the things that really drove me crazy.
Carriger's take on supernaturals (vamps, weres, ghosts, etc.) is lively and original. Alexia Tarabotti's husband, Lord Conall Maccon, is the powerful (but very old) Alpha of a large wolfpack in London. Her dear friend Lord Akeldama, an ancient vampire who speaks in italics, is head of a style-setting group of young, fashionable, and quietly intelligent male vampires. He is also, for safety's sake, adoptive co-parent of Alexia and Conall's toddler daughter. Friends Ivy and Tunstell have somehow become the toast of London's theatre. Who knew?
I followed Alexia Tarabotti, et al, through Changeless (The Parasol Protectorate), Blameless (The Parasol Protectorate), and Heartless (The Parasol Protectorate), with their cliffhanger endings but the final book: Timeless (The Parasol Protectorate, No. 5), was a bit of a letdown. All the elements are there, but I just didn't find the heart of it. It's possible that the novel is crammed too full and trying to cover too much. It made me sad and not because of the ending.
A manga version of Soulless will release in Spring 2012. Carriger is currently writing young adult books set in the same universe ~ the Finishing School series (Feb. 2013). Soon she will begin a new adult series, The Parasol Protectorate Abroad (Fall 2013). I have high hopes for this new series.
TIMELESS (Parasol Protectorate #5) is yet another hilarious and addictive addition to this witty and skillfully executed series. Alexia is running at full sass in TIMELESS and not alone. She has a mini me toddling along at her heals with the addition of two year old Prudence. And boy does Prudence add to the excitement in a way only she can with her "special" abilities.
I have to say, I was also so vey please to find this 5th book bursting with such a full cast. It seems all the favorites made it into this installment and quite nicely I might add. Expect lots of action, tons of answers and some pretty major changes with... well, just about everything. Oh and a few HUGE twists mixed up in all the hubbub.
Another amazing write; by the ever so delightfully cheeky and talented Gail Carriger who never seems to disappoint. So intelligent and clever!...Such adventure and whimsy!...And so, dare I say, gay!
Brilliant! Job well done!.. and now I'm ready for book #6.
Now that the Parasol Protectorate series is finished with Timeless, what we can expect next is a young adult series, The Finishing School, which takes place in what really isn't a finishing school at all. Also she will soon begin the first book in a series about Alexis and Conall's daughter, who is also Lord Akeldama's adopted daughter, the Parasol Protectorate Abroad series. The first book will be called Prudence and the second Imprudence. We have something else to look forward to, we will see familiar faces in both series.
As for Timeless, "The werewolves have a saying. It takes a pack to raise a child." A pack, a vampire hive, a thespian troupe, and more if that child is a metanatural toddler, who walks at a young age. Young Prudence turns life tipsy every time she changes from human form to a toddler vampire, complete with fangs, when she touches any vampire, including her adopted father. She also transforms into a wolf cub, complete with fuzzy tail, when she touches any werewolf, including her own father. This makes life quite challenging for her preternatural mother, Lady Maccon, and her supernatural werewolf father, Lord Maccon, as they venture forth from their odd home, in Lord Akeldama's third closet, to an ocean liner for a voyage to Egypt at the command of a Vampire Queen, and to search for information about the God-Breaker Plague, also to find out what Alexis's father was really up to at the time of his death, and for Ivy and her husband and their acting troupe to perform their rendition of The Death Rains of Swansea for the Egyptian Vampire court . As I read Timeless, I wondered if all four were tied together, and if so how. I was pleased at the revelations and the conclusion Gail Carriger came up with.
Timeless is a great finish to an incredible series. Witty, funny and creative, Timeless also prepares us for the Parasol Protectorate Abroad series with a new Vampire Queen and a glimpse of a new Werewolf Alpha in the future I laughed out loud as I always do when reading Gail Carriger's books. I will miss Alexia and I hope to see some of her in the coming series with Prudence. Timeless is a fun read, a great escape, and I highly recommend it.