Look, if you’ve made it to book four of this series, you know what you’re in for. Vast quantities of absurd silliness. Lots of naked werewolves (played comedically, of course). Foppish vampires. Alexia being no nonsense and getting herself into all sorts of trouble. A supernatural threat that’s not really a threat, but mostly just an excuse for us to hang out with these characters for four hundred pages. The Parasol Protectorate is not plot heavy. These are hang-out books, and if you happen to love the characters (as I do) that state of affairs works out just fine.
It’s been about five months since the events of Blameless and Alexia is wandering around London eight months pregnant with some sort of supernatural baby. The vampires are still trying to assassinate her and said child, until that is the Maccons and Lord Akeldama strike up a scheme to have Lord Akeldama legally adopt their child. They figure the vampires will be placated if they allow their child to be raised under the influence of one of their own, but of course they also rent the house next door, and prepare to secretly live in Akeldama’s house. So the bebe will have three strange parents.
Vampires taken care of, of course a new threat is looming along with the birth of her child. A ghost appears to warn Alexia that there is a plot to kill the queen afoot, and as muhjah it’s her duty to investigate and prevent said event from occurring. It’s a whole escalating thing with dirigibles and fires and rampaging giant metal octopus machines (cleverly called octomatons).
This book is perhaps the fluffiest of all the books so far. I do wish it had a little bit more emotional heft. I think she missed an opportunity with Madame Lefoux and Alexia’s fractured relationship here, but I hope it’s rectified by the end of the next one (not much time left, I only have 100 pages left in it).
I feel like I just started this series, and it’s already almost over!