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Publisher's Summary

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?

©2011 Hachette Audio (P)2011 Gail Carriger

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Overall

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Performance

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Story

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Witty and Surprising

This is the first book of the series I’ve listened to in audio format. A risky proposition for book four when you already have a feel for how the characters should sound. But Emily Gray is a truly marvelous narrator and brought the parasol protectorate world alive. Heartless is as witty and surprising as I’ve come to expect from this author and delivers some surprising twists to set up the last book in the series.

In this latest installment of Carriger’s steampunk series, Alexia and Conall are reunited and preparing for their new addition. But it’s not all hearts and flowers for those two- someone is trying to kill Queen Victoria after all, and Alexia is on the case. Along the way, Alexia makes some personal discoveries and uncovers secrets about her close associates. I’m glad I waited to read this book until I had the last book in the series on hand because this book made me eager to keep reading.

I like the mystery of this series, the charm, and the setting, but the characters are I think my favorite part. They are so exaggerated and make the books so much fun to read. And even in book four we find out some unexpected tidbits about familiar characters. Ivy and Lord Akeldama are in fine form in Heartless as usual, and Biffy also becomes a more central character. I was pleased to find out the origin of the “Parasol Protectorate” in this one and I liked the way the amusing way the secret unfolded.

Emily Gray reads the audiobook and deftly handles all of the different characters and accents. Listening to the books is really a treat and made me wish I’d listened to the whole series. Gray has a great grasp on the characters and captures all the right nuances. The voices are distinct and consistent and she reads with a brisk, even pace. Lord Akeldama and Ivy sound just how I’d imagined, and I also enjoyed her no-nonsense Alexia as well as all the other characters.

I don’t read a lot of urban fantasy or steampunk but for some reason I can’t resist this fun series.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Not my favorite. . .

While not my favorite, it's still an okay book. I enjoyed the beginning and the very end (the last 20-ish minutes or so) but didn't really get into the middle and what followed as much as I would've liked. I understand it's a whole different time and place but I kind of wanted to smack Alexia with her own parasol in this book. Emily Gray does a nice job as narrator, as usual.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Highly Recommended!

The Parasol Protectorate series never fails to entertain! Supernatural stories with a proper British flavor. Gail Carriger has another hit! Emily Gray does another wonderful rendition of these tales! You should definitely check out this series.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Great

Loved it! I'd even pay for it with real money. Great series and excellent narration!!!!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Tenesha
  • Ocala, FL, United States
  • 01-05-12

Thank Goodness.....

After the last book in the series I was not looking forward to this one....I am eating my words right now. I honestly think that besides the first book, this was definately one of the best. I am proud to say that I am throughly looking foward to the release of the next book Timeless in a few months. I can't wait

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • S
  • 11-07-11

Wow! That was boring!

Wow! That was boring! There was absolutely no story to this "book". Ninety-nine percent was the overly-detailed descriptions of the heroine's life as a pregnant woman. One percent mentioned the other characters briefly but usually while they were discussing fashion and home decorating. There was also no mystery. Nada. Someone mentioned the queen's life was in danger and that was it. Undoubtedly it was supposed to set up the next book, but give us something worth our time, please! Again, Wow! That was boring!

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Talia
  • TULSA, OK, United States
  • 03-11-13

Carriger Delivers Another Winner with Heartless

Oh my! Where to begin? There are too many wonderful things in this book to cover them all and do so without giving away any major plot points or spoilers!

First of all, let’s begin with the absolutely lovely change in tenor in Connall and Alexia’s relationship. In the past, they’ve relied heavily on barbed comments and physical affection to communicate their love for one another. In book four, we finally see them learning to communicate through words. I’m so happy to see this evolution in their relationship. While the humor of their earlier exchanges was fun to witness, this new aspect of their relationship is far more realistic and more enjoyable for the reader . They are now truly believable as a couple. It’s nice to see Connall’s affectionate and gentle side when it comes to tending to his wife.

As always, Carriger is a master at juggling the several relationships she’s established throughout the series. There were a few heart wrenching moments for poor Biffy as he struggles to adapt to his new life in the Woolsey Pack. But again, Lord Maccon’s newfound softer side comes in to play here, which is quite sweet.

I was so pleased to learn more about Professor Lyall. I had always wondered certain things about him, and Ms. Carriger does not disappoint in providing him a suitable and complex background.

Madam Lefoux gets considerable page time, but that being said, I felt like she was here and there and then gone again without really contributing much substance to the story in the earlier pages. However, that might have been exactly how Ms. Carriger wanted it. The inventor’s flighty appearances and distracted demeanor are a direct result of something that occurs later in the book. So her harried appearances are quite believable when you get the pay off at the end.

Speaking of relationships, one of the most interesting aspects of the book is how – over time – the Woosley Pack and Westminster Hive become more and more intertwined. I’m fascinated how these two groups, who have been enemies, are slowly becoming… not friends, but at least tolerated allies. The evolution of this relationship has been slow and steady. Kudos to Ms. Carriger for making it a highly believable event when it finally comes to fruition!

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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DISAPPOINTED!! THIS BOOK WAS SADLY LACKING!

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

I would not recommend series has lost its charm starting with this book

What was most disappointing about Gail Carriger’s story?

The Hive has been behind most of her problems, yet she runs to their rescue at the expense of her friend, and she constantly offers refuge to her horrible sister who has no redeemable qualities. Why would she offer lodgings to a bunch of vicious murdering vampires that have been out to get her since day one? After several attempts against her they are never held accountable and now she's bending over backwards to help them... Really? It's enough to make you lose respect for the heroine.

What about Emily Gray’s performance did you like?

The narration is not great with regards to the male characters but has been consistent throughout the series so can't complain overmuch.

Could you see Heartless being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?

No too many things ignored in the book like her terrible selfish family that will kick her out into the street which is completely ignored in the series. Her tolerance for the vampire hive that has continuously tried to kill her is really disappointing. She is supposed to be a strong heroine but she lets these two groups do things to her with no backlash whatsoever.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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excellent performance!

Gail Carriger is a brilliant story teller. I am always immersed in her "world" from the first word. And Emily Gray is a wonderfully enjoyable narrator. VERY easy to listen to and makes me smile without even knowing I am doing so. Both have amazing character development success! Thank you for making my workouts exceptionally easier.

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entertaining

so funny lol fast pace. sad for it to end but ready for the next.