May 24, 2012

Review: Blameless - Gail Carriger

Hello all!

Today I bring you another review of this series I love so badly, The Parassol Protectorate. You can read the previous reviews of Soulless and Changeless, before we start.
Also, be aware, there will be spoilers of both Soulless and Changeless, since they are needed to better talk about Blameless.

You've been warned.

We begin the book with Alexia Maccon unfortunately stuck at the Loontwill's home. Again. Not as a spinster, but as a married woman with, well, problems. When one's husband is a werewolf and one's pregnant, well, something must be explained - this is not Twilight, after all and Werewolves just don't have children. It's not done!
So Alexia is casted out from the Shadow Council, from her home and marriage, from the Woolsey Pack, from society, since she must've been "indiscreet". Well that's absurd, Alexia would never do such thing - she finds most people impossible to even talk to, why would she do that when her husband is, well, such a big piece of man...
Gail Carriger delivers another one of her masterpieces, with witty comments and steampunk fantasy goodyness.

I just adore the setting of the story, with Alexia, who is a wonderful main character, with the vampires and werewolves, who are amazingly well written and the whole steampunk thing which is amazing. I mean, really, killing clockwork-ish ladybugs? Just a-may-zing. Ah, and the dresses and the parasol, of course.

So Alexia is cast out of everything she found on book 1 and everything she loves. Along with that, the only one who can really help her understand, our favorite fashionable vampire, is gone. Poof, possibly turned into glitter. Ok, not really glitter, he swarmed, which means he was in immediate danger and he ran away.

Professor Lyall is left to investigate the dissappearance of Lord Akeldama and Lord Maccon getting drunk on any kind of alcohol he can find (which is very hard for a werewolf), while Alexia decides that a trip to Italy to talk with the Templars, the only people who may possibly know anything about her "delicate condition". She takes Floote and Madame Lefoux, as help and protection, and travels to Italy in a "not so swift" travel, as anything Alexia does.

I'm not going into detail as to how things go, since that would be bad, mean, ugly spoilers, but I simply love how Alexia conducts things. Since she is soulless, her answers are what we would call sceptical. When asked what she thinks of "this lovely city" she goes "well, it's orange", since it was all so orange and, aparently, she is soulless and can't see the beauty and magic of things. I happen to disagree, I think she sees the beauty of things, just not the futile things, futile ideas and, well, maybe I am soulless too ;)

Floote is one interesting guy and I like how he shows up more here and on the following books. I also adore Lyall and I think he makes everything more interesting, such a perfect gentleman, so impecable and a perfect Beta.

I have so much more to talk about the characters, but I will wait to tell on my review for the next book. I strongly advise everyone to read these books, they are lovable, unbearably cute, amazingly fun and just all around awesomeness. Stay tuned for reviews of Heartless and Timeless.

May 07, 2012

Review: Nebador #5 - Back to the Stars - J. Z. Colby

There is no way out. Now, they're part of the Manessa crew, they're out in space and they just won't be able to run away anymore.

Rini, again, makes a bad decision. He's a good boy, he's just what we'd call airheaded. But that's not exactly that: he's contemplative. He can meditate for years and never reach the edge of his patience, he jumped into adventure more than anyone else, simply because he wants to see what else is there and that's how he gets into trouble right at the first page of the book, he contemplates so much, he stays there, staring at the stars and forgets that he must get inside before he runs out of air.

The rest of the crew ends up saving him, but he learns the lesson - there are times to let yourself get lost in thoughts and watch the universe and there are moments when you need to be aware or you and other people might get hurt.

This is the fifth book of the Nebador Series, called "Back to the Stars", it shows how 4 former slaves and  one innkeeper's daughter end up flying an intergalactic ship. This specific book shows our lovely ones flying away from their planet and into the stars, into experiences that they can't even imagine. If the previous books show them learning things way beyond their rank on that planet, their possibilities and more than anyone on that planet would know for ages, this book shows them growing up. It shows them becoming more adult, more developed, than most adults on Earth, nowadays.

We watch our crew get too close to the Sun, explore new worlds, solve puzzles - oh I love a good puzzle! - and meeting new people! They stumble into another ship and it's crew, but they have this interesting feature: they are birds! And Manessa's crew must get used to talking to people of different "buildings", not only the kind they know, that is monkey-human like.

Also, they get, accidentally, into a desperate situation and neither Ilika, with all his experience, nor Manessa can help them out. They are trapped and they must ready themselves to die. Some are ready faster than others, some are more reluctant, but they all learn the lesson - and move on with the flight, as this will not be the last on the series and no reader would think they would trully die, right? I guess that's the negative part of knowing there are many more books on the series, it's almost impossible to imagine the author "killing" all of the characters.

Ilika himself has been learning so much. He's experienced as a crew member, but not as a captain, so he, too, must learn how to work with his crew, even if he's had this training before. Specially, he must learn about his feelings and how they'll work there, how not to push or expect things these people may not give him and yet, train them to be real people from Nebador, with a smile on the face while the universe is trying to crush you.

The crew gets to meet one of the big people from Nebador, the "golden light" that's helped them before, on the fires of Lumber Town and that made the lights dance during Miko's funeral. The power that had to make sure they were ready. That was probably the best part of the book to me, she was beautiful and the whole part was very interesting, with love and devotion, acceptance and guidance.

At the end, we see our crew getting ready to travel beyond their solar system, having to use much of what they've learnt and learning the secret and the why, why wouldn't their people ever leave their solar system unless they change so much - and maybe never leave at all - but I won't spoil that for you. ;)

This book also has two short stories, Buna's New World and First Taste of Freedom, but I admit it, I wasn't too fond of them. You see, they are set on the time of the first book and I just can't relate to that anymore. I would feel much more connected to them if they were set with those characters, the ones we left behind, but after the Selection, it would be much more interesting.

I'm looking forward to Book 6: Star Station, dying to know what's there and what kind of people they will meet. Summer 2012 can't come fast enough!

You can buy Nebador: Back to the Stars here or click here to see all the places where you can find it.
You can also read my reviews for books One, Two, Three and Four.