The fourth book in the Alexia Tarabotti series, published July 2011.
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?
After months of assassination attempts on Lady Alexia Maccon’s life, she is astonished at the solution to the problem presented her by her husband, Professor Lyall and Lord Akeldama. She has to give up her baby for adoption to Lord Akeldama, which will stop the vampire attacks on her? Her husband explains that both BUR and the pack of which he is Alpha, are stretched thin, keeping her protected. And by giving her child in the care of Lord Akeldama, the vampires will cease. Alexia is stunned. She may be soulless, but she is certainly not heartless! But pragmatic as she is, she sees the merit of the idea. So she agrees, on a few conditions. They are to move next door of Lord Akeldama, but Lord and Lady Maccon will secretly reside with Lord Akeldama as well. Alexia will not be separated from her child if she can help it!
And so it starts. Lord Akeldama does not only have to convert one of his wardrobe closets into a nursery, he will have to give another up as a bedroom for Alexia and Conall. Everything is settled, when miss Felicia Loontwhill, Alexia’s half-sister appears. She wants to come live with Alexia again, as she has joined a suffragette organisation, and her mother is not pleased with that. Very reluctantly, Alexia agrees. She has not yet forgiven her sister for telling her personal secrets to the tabloids in the third book. Her sister is always complaining, and downtalking to Alexia, and now she wants to live with a werewolf pack?
And then a ghost, with little sanity left, is warning Alexia of a murder plot against the Queen! All the investigations BUR is doing, lead to nothing, so it is up to Alexia herself to find out the truth. Even if she is 8 months pregnant and Conall wants to keep her locked up in their room. Soon Alexia finds clues to the past, when Conall’s previous pack tried to poison the Queen, and Conall left them to come to London. Conall doesn’t want her to investigate, the past is best left behind and forgotten. But Alexia is determined. It is her job as the muhjah to find out the truth and to protect the Queen. Everyone is busy, and there is no option left but the send her best friend Ivy back to Scotland for more information from Lady Kildair.
In the meanwhile, Genevieve Lefoux is acting strange, and appears to be exhausted. Her aunt is very close to dying for the second time, and it is heartbreaking to witness that. But what is she working on?
And Biffy, the latest werewolf, is not doing well. He cannot get used to being a werewolf, he is still in love with Lord Akeldama. He is fighting the change, which makes it worse for him, and more susceptible to the moon. Nothing Conall is doing seems to help much.
This fourth book in the series is very fast paced, a lot happens. Alexia never seems to have a moment of rest in it. But I loved it. Could not stop reading, I just had to know what happened on the next page, and the next. And the ending, brilliant. I can’t wait till the next book comes out in March 2012.
Alexia is a really formidable character. Inseparable from her trusty parasol and its many options. She also takes her job as muhjah very seriously, taking care of the supernaturals in England in her own manner. Even though it is difficult to go about, and she is constant hungry and tired, she doesn’t give in. Matters have to be solved, and today.
There was not so much Ivy in this book, which is a shame. She is such a surprising character. At first I thought her a typical ignorant miss, but there is a lot more to her than meets they eye, something Alexia is finding out as well.
After the previous book, I was hoping for more information on Floote, the butler/secretary, and Alexia’s late father’s valet. Instead, we got some info about Professor Lyall, that really surprised me.
Again, there was not a predictable moment in the book. I love Gail Carriger’s writing style, her vibrant descriptions of all the steampunk gadgets and machinery, and her very original take on vampires and werewolves.
Is there an: “I hate Felicity” club? I want to join it. Such a vicious, opportunistic young lady. But at least, she gets locked up in the cellar in the end. I kind of hope she will be forgotten for a while …