Blameless: I Blame You, Mr. Virus!

Oh virus! How you have given me the chance to indulge in the things I love!

Yes, I came down with a cold this weekend. I wasn’t able to travel to my destination to fulfill one of those booked weekend activities. Run down from work, slightly stressed from constant travel, and it being cold for November, I caught the common cold. I was forced to stay home. Even more, I was forced to stay home alone while my significant other left to fulfill his familial duties without me. Which, surprisingly, left me incredibly productive.

I finished Gail Carriger’s third Parasol Protectorate novel, Blameless. I finished the first draft of a story. I called and caught up with my best friend. I finished my Healthcare application. I unabashedly listened to the new In This Moment album on repeat. I wasn’t won over initially, but now I’m incredibly into it. I feel I should get sick more often.

This time, I didn't actually trash the book.
This time, I didn’t actually trash the book.

As for Blameless, La Diva Tarabotti gets herself in several fickle situations involving mechanical killer ladybugs, embroidering Templars, and untrustworthy husbands. To my pleasure, Carriger allowed our cross-dressing Madame Lefoux and Alexia to embark on their best friend straight/lesbian adventure to Italy, allowing Alexia to escape the vicious gossip revolving around her pregnancy. Not only has she been cast out from Lord Maccon’s home, she loses the protection of the Woolsey pack and her position as muhjah with Queen Victoria for being indiscreet. As Lafoux and Alexia engage battle with assassinating vampires, we learn that Alexia’s butler, Floote, is a secret badass who has single-shot guns stashed on his person and saves their butts, excuse me bustles, more often than not. Ah, sweet character development!

Unfortunately, Madame Lefoux made a few moves on our ignorant Alexia, including a kiss, which was brushed off as some new French mannerism. Sigh. Luckily, Madame Lefoux isn’t an idiot and can see where her attentions aren’t welcome. She engages in harmless flirtation, and I can only hope Carriger takes pity on her and introduces a love interest for our beloved lesbian. After Lefoux’s previous lover died in the last book, I can only hope that Alexia is an unattainable rebound for Lefoux and that she’ll pull herself out of mourning soon.

As Alexia learns to love pesto in her homeland’s orange countryside while being in the grip of experimentally minded Templars who call her the Female Specimen, her insufferable husband Lord Maccon gets drunk on everything from alcohol to formaldehyde, truly testing the temper of his Beta, Randolph Lyall. Lord Akeldama disappears. Biffy gets captured by the potentate. Lyall and Maccon save him, Biffy gets shot, Maccon turns him into a werewolf, Akeldama is distressed because Biffy was supposed to become his vampire. While I’m summing things up quickly, probably because of sinus pressure and the fact that I can feel my alone time rapidly ticking down, this section was actually just as entertaining as the bits with Alexia.

Maybe it’s because I really like the dynamic between Lyall, Akeldama, and Biffy. Lord Maccon can jump off a cliff for all I care, but to his credit, he did realize he made a mistake in accusing Alexia of being unfaithful. Let’s just say he didn’t annoy me that much as he did in the last book. He has tunnel-vision in regards to making things right with Alexia, but during his drunken time and even after, lets his Beta take responsibility for a lot of things that he should probably be involved in. As a result, Lyall comes off as an indulgent mother who cleans up the messes quietly and fashionably until he snaps from stress. Or comes down with a cold.

I feel like Lyall is the Woolsly’s Alpha, in all but name. He supports Alexia as much as he can, and even tells Connall that he’s going to have to do a lot of groveling to even get Alexia to look at him again. Lyall, I respect you, even if your attention to your fashion makes me roll my eyes sometimes.

Alexia forgives Connall in the end, I mean, I thought more suffering should be enacted on Connall’s head, but for a woman pregnant with a soul-stealer and still in love with her husband, her quick forgiveness was expected. You do dumb things when you’re in love.

Soul-stealer baby. He/she will be very interesting when Carriger decided to let he/she be born. Bet it’s a girl. I haven’t read any spoilers either.

Another point of respect goes to Mrs. Ivy Tunstell née Hisslepenny for proving she’s not quite the idiot everyone assumes. She’s flighty, yes, but she provides Lyall with a dose of good information about Biffy’s whereabouts.

“He [Lyall] wondered for the first time how much of Ivy was in fact, comprised of dark curls and big eyes and ridiculous hats and how much of that was for show. Ivy returned his direct gaze with a particularly innocent smile. ‘The great advantage,’ she said,’ of being thought silly, is that people forget and begin to think I might also be foolish. I may, Professor Lyall, be a trifle enthusiastic in my matter ad dress, but I am no fool’”

AWWW YEAH. Ivy, redeemed.

I’ll say I enjoyed this novel more than the last two. It’s probably the fact that the Alexia and Connall were separate and we saw more of secondary characters developing their own story.

Other things that had me laughing out loud:

 “Madame Lefoux marched over to him [Mr. Lange-Wilsdorf, evil German scientist] and grabbed the peculiar weapon out of his limp hand. ‘You know the truth of the matter sir? Your ideas may be sound, but your research methods and your moral code are both highly questionable. You sir, are a bad scientist!’ With that she clocked him in the temple with the muzzle of his own gun.”

With my scientific background, this has never been said so simply. And it’s a little scary, how you can get in a discussion with other scientifically minded people and see just how ruthless they can be in defense of morally questionable actions.

 “Or perhaps they [Italians in general] thought this was a lover’s spat of some multifaceted variety. Or perhaps they thought the battle was over a ball sport. Alexia seemed to recall hearing one matron complaining that the Italians were very passionate in their support of balls.”

Yes. I think that means what I think it does. I really need to figure out how to upload animated gifs because there is one of Emma Stone that would be priceless here. Use your imaginations, O’ Reader.

My next novel will be Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer. My father lent me the whole series and I thought I should get cracking on it before he demands them back.

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