Heartless? I really wondered about the title. It did not look like a fit for Alexia or Conall but there it is on the second page. Alexia says, “For goodness sake, I may be soulless and I am, admittedly, not precisely maternal, but I am by no means heartless.” And the term heartless is used by and about other characters throughout the book. So the title does fit. I was looking at heartless in the wrong context.
Like the previous books in the series Heartless is full of fun dialog, wonderful characters and an interesting mystery. Many of the characters from the previous books are back in Heartless. We learn more about some of the side characters and more of the back-story is filled in. Look for answers from the past and new problems for the future. Alexia also accepts her friend Ivy as the first member of the Parasol Protectorate, a new top-secret organization, created on the spur of the moment. And of course there is the infant-inconvenience who makes an in person appearance at the end of the book.
One of my favorite characters is Lord Akeldama. He is an over the top vampire with a wardrobe to match. I really enjoyed all of the pet names he comes up with for Alexia. On just the first few pages Alexia is “ my dearest petal, my little pomegranate seed, my little lilac bush, my dearest marigold, my little cream puff, sugar drop, butterball, and my little dewdrop”. I wonder how long and hard Gail Carriger had to think to come up with all of the unusual pet names?
The Alexia Tarabotti Novels are a fun mixture of paranormal and steampunk. Any could be read as a stand-alone but I recommend starting with the first, Soulless, and proceeding in order with Changeless, Blameless, and Heartless. The next novel Timeless is due out in March of 2012.
Orbit published Heartless by Gail Carriger in 2011.
I purchased Heartless. (I own the entire series.)