Friday, February 22, 2013
by Gail Carriger
Late High School+
Alexia Tarabotti has resigned herself to the life of a spinster. At the age of 25, she is past the typical marrying age, plus she is half Italian. Rather than being the blond, slender and timid, Alexia is tan, robust, and has a rather forceful personality. On top of all of this, she is soulless, complete opposite of the vampires and werewolves now accepted into polite Society.
When Alexia accidentally kills a vampire at a party, an investigation ensues. And sent out to resolve the matter is Lord Conall Maccon, Scottish werewolf, and leader of the London pack. He and Alexia have not gotten along ever since the hedgehog incident, and he is very disgruntled to find her at the center of this mess. Try as he might, Lord Maccon can't avoid what she does to his sensibilities.
As Alexia and Lord Maccon look into the issues, more questions start arising. What was that vampire doing at that party, in a cheap shirt and half starved? Who continually tries to abduct Alexia? And who or what is the wax-faced person that keeps coming after her? As they try to resolve all this conundrums, Alexia must fend off the increasing amorous advances of a werewolf losing control as the full moon approaches...
So, this is definitely something that I would wait until late high school, or even after to recommend. Alexia and Lord Maccon get into several slightly compromising positions, plus (SPOILERS!) they get married and he seduces her in the carriage. While not as graphic as some romances, it still gives more detail than most teenagers want. So, keep it to late teens, or even out of high school before reading it.
Other than that, this is such a fun book. The word play between Alexia and Lord Maccon is great, the writing if fun, and it's a very interesting and innovative world. Set in Victorian England, it is based on the idea that werewolves and vampires are integrated into Society. One of Alexia's good friends is a vampire, that she only visits after dark, of course. They even have a branch of government dedicated to them.
I also like the idea of what Alexia is: a preternatural, or someone with a complete lack of soul. Vampires, werewolves, and ghost are most likely created in someone with an excess of soul, usually someone involved in artistic careers. Alexia is their opposite, and can actually cancel their abilities through her touch. So, if she touches her vampire friend, he becomes mortal again while in contact with her. Such a great idea, and the author has fun with that!
Overall, this is a really fun book! I have gone back a reread it several times, that's how much I have enjoyed it. I would wait until late high school or after to recommend it, due to some sexual innuendos and scenes. But very witty and fun, a great read for the supernatural scene!