Entries in The Parasol Protectorate (6)


Random Tuesdays: Coolest Fictional Cities, Steampunk Batman and Assorted Other Geekiness

My brain is currently bouncing between “watch cartoons!” mode and desperately wanting to dive back into City of Fallen Angels for more Jace/Simon snark, so coming up with a plausible subject for a thinky thoughts kind of Random Tuesday is unlikely. Instead today I present to you some of the randomly awesome things I’ve come across over the last 48 hours.

- Complex.com compiled a list of the 50 “Coolest” Fictional Cities. Their definition of “coolest” must be much different than mine because there’s no way I’d ever volunteer to live in a place like Silent Hill or frickin’ Mordor. The list includes fictional places from all platforms – movies, television, cartoons, comics, videogames and books. There are even two references to rap songs that confused me and left me staring at my computer for a few minutes trying to decipher what they were even referring to.

- Apparently at one point there was supposed to be a Steampunk Batman videogame. For whatever reason, it’s not happening, but io9 has some leaked footage of what it might have been like. Batman’s cape is particularly flow-y.

- Meet my new hero: Helena Wayne as Robin:

DC is about to come out with some new comic lines, including one called Earth 2 where Helena Wayne is Robin to her father’s Batman. Somehow she ends up in the Earth 1 universe and becomes Huntress in the current Birds of Prey comic. I don’t know how this happens, but I want to be her when I grow up. (originally found through The Mary Sue Tumblr, on the DCU blog)

- Nine potentially awesome science fiction spinoffs from Blastr. This made me realize I missed Alphas. I didn’t realize I even really liked Alphas

- If you’re in the Austin, TX area, Gail Carriger – author of the super awesome The Parasol Protectorate seriesis signing at BookPeople this Saturday to celebrate the release of Timeless. If you go, I’ll probably be the girl in the Supernatural or comic book-related t-shirt trying to not let her fangirl show.

- And finally from Aine’s Realm on Tumblr:



We’ll have a new contest up some time tonight as part of the Leap Into Books hop hosted by  I Am a Reader, Not a Writer and Jinky Is Reading. Right now, I’m late for dinner.

What random things are you doing today?


Random Tuesdays: Favorite Couples from Books, Television & Movies

Happy Unattached Drifter Christmas!  In honor of Valentine's Day, I had originally planned to rant about my hatred for love triangles and/or the current trend of asshat male love interests.  Other than the fact that chocolate covered strawberries become more plentiful during this time of year and some candy will be on sale tomorrow, I've never been a big Valentine's Day fan.  In school it was a holiday built for embarrassment and I don't do well with embarrassment, whether it's my own or someone else's.  As a single adult, it was the time of the year where every type of media was telling me I should feel sad and lonely.  As one half of a couple, it's just another Tuesday (but possibly with chocolate covered strawberries).

But I'm going to put aside my curmudgeonly ways and attempt to celebrate what Hallmark and the advertising industry tells me Valentine's Day is about this holiday of love, here are some of my favorite fictional couples.  Warning: I have a thing for doomed romances, a fact that is more proven by my television and movie choices.  Spoilers ahead, mostly for things that have been out for three or more years.


From Books:

Snow & Bigby from Fables series by Bill Willingham

It's fun because they hate each other, but not really.  They bicker and complain about each other and then have floating wolf babies.  It's the perfect comic relationship (except for Bigby's regular disappearances).


Alexia & Lord Maccon from The Parasol Protectorate series by Gail Carriger

She's a crazy, spontaneous modern Victorian lady with a knack for getting into and causing trouble, and he's the acerbic, gruff head of a pack of werewolves.  Together, they are perfect.


Alec & Magnus Bane from The Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare 

I know this isn't the "obvious" pairing from this series, but for most of the first three books, Jace fits firmly into the asshat category for me.  Magnus makes Alec a more interesting character by association while being made of pure awesome from the start.  

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Waiting on Wednesday: Timeless by Gail Carriger

Waiting on Wednesday was started by Breaking the Spine and serves to showcase those books we’re not so patiently waiting to arrive!

I’m in a better mood today.  I feel like I have the framework of a game plan and am now moving towards something productive rather than waiting for something to happen.  I also don’t feel like my brain is leaking out of my nose, so you know, that’s helpful.

Back into the swing of things.  Today I am wishing I had the final book in my favorite steampunk-by-way-of-Jane-Austen series.  While I’ve enjoyed the exploits of Alexia, Ivy, and Connell, I’m really interested to see what else Gail Carriger has hidden under her tiny little hats.


Timeless (Parasol Protectorate #5)
Gail Carriger

Releases on March 1, 2012
400 pages 
Buy it on Amazon here

Alexia Tarabotti, Lady Maccon, has settled into domestic bliss. Of course, being Alexia, such bliss involves integrating werewolves into London High society, living in a vampire's second best closet, and coping with a precocious toddler who is prone to turning supernatural willy-nilly. Even Ivy Tunstell's acting troupe's latest play, disastrous to say the least, cannot put a damper on Alexia's enjoyment of her new London lifestyle.

Until, that is, she receives a summons from Alexandria that cannot be ignored. With husband, child, and Tunstells in tow, Alexia boards a steamer to cross the Mediterranean. But Egypt may hold more mysteries than even the indomitable Lady Maccon can handle. What does the vampire Queen of the Alexandria Hive really want from her? Why is the God-Breaker Plague suddenly expanding? And how has Ivy Tunstell suddenly become the most popular actress in all the British Empire?

I just want to see this cast of characters dealing with a baby.  That’s going to be hysterical and I’m always up for a good gig or five.

Moving Alexia through mainland Europe added an interesting change of tone as well as scenery to Blameless, so I’ll be interested to see how moving the story to Egypt with all its ancient history and superstitions will work out.


See my mini reviews of the first three books in the seriesSoulless, Changeless, and Blameless – and my review of the fourth book Heartless  here.


Review: Heartless by Gail Carriger

Heartless (Parasol Protectorate #4)
Gail Carriger

Orbit (2011)
374 pages
Paranormal / Steampunk / Mystery

Purchase it from Amazon here

Towards the end of the book, one of the tertiary characters in Gail Carriger’s Heartless captures all the wonderful qualities of Lady Alexia Maccon, the protagonist of this wonderful series, all in one statement:

“Who else would be standing in the middle of a street on full-moon night with a raging ruddy fire behind her, waving a parasol around?”

The best thing about Carriger’s Parasol Protectorate series – and there are many wonderful things about this series – is her domineering leading lady.  Even on the occasions when she needs to be rescued, she never backs down and still usually remains a thorn in her enemy’s side until everything returns to her liking.  When facing entrapment within a burning warehouse district, only Alexia would think to bust a street lamp and use her parasol to hit a burning coal into a warehouse full of fireworks to alert people of her plight.  She is always finding herself in the most ridiculous, unladylike of situations, and she always comes out on top.  Alexia Maccon is my hero.

As a preternatural, she can turn any supernatural entity back into a human temporarily through skin-to-skin contact, so of course, she married a giant, uncouth Scottish werewolf, who is Alpha to the only pack of werewolves around London.  There is almost always someone trying to kill her, normally a vampire who is threatened by her “soul stealing” ability, and now that she’s pregnant with a werewolf’s child, the attacks have increased.  Yet she takes this all in stride and goes about her day as though she isn’t constantly being attacked by mechanical killer insects, exploding teapots and zombie porcupines.  Nothing is going to slow her down, not even an eight month pregnant belly (or, in some cases, going into full out labor).

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Review: Soulless, Changeless, & Blameless by Gail Carriger

In preparation for Monday’s review of Gail Carriger’s Heartless, how about a set of mini reviews for the previous novels in the Parasol Protectorate series?

I must warn you: I love this series.  It makes me giddy that it will be five books when I originally thought there would only be three.  I love that a new one comes out every six months or so.  I love the main character, Alexia, her grumpy werewolf husband, her flamboyantly fabulous vampire friend, Lord Akeldama, and all the magic gadgets provided by the wonderfully French Madame Lefoux.  Carriger created a world that I want to be a part of, a world where alpha werewolves have to attend polite dinner parties and vampires are the prime purveyors of all knowledge, both useful and gratuitous.  Add in dirigibles and a dash of steampunk, and who wouldn’t want to live in that world?

Even though, in the first novel, many of the characters seem like clichés, I didn’t mind because of the world they lived in and, above all, the literary flourishes that made me actually laugh out loud.  A lot of these current paranormal romance and young adult novels could be saved by a little bit of cleverly stylized writing.  Carriger manages to find her voice early on and maintains it consistently throughout the series.

I think my favorite thing about this series is that Gail Carriger utilizes steampunk elements in stride.  Even when ridiculous, such as in the case of the mechanical killer ladybugs, she still manages to keep the quirkiness from overpowering the main plot or overshadowing the characters.  I’ve begun to appreciate that more as I read more novels that attempt to mix steampunk with the supernatural.

Since we’re talking about three consecutive books in a series, spoilers do arise.

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