Saturday, September 4, 2010

Review of Blameless by Gail Carriger

Oh! How I have been waiting with bated breath for the release of Blameless. I adored Soulless and Changeless--both wonderful, funny, sexy, inventive and one-of-a-kind steampunk/paranormal romances. The "romance" at the end of that description is intentional and very, very important in my opinion. The reason those books sparkled, sang, and popped was because of the fantastic chemistry between Alexia and Conall. She is a no-nonsense soulless heroine, primed for adventure and preoccupied with proper manners. Conall is an alpha werewolf, rough and grumbly and sexy and prone to emotional outbursts. They are one of my favorite couples ever.

And that, folks, is the massively huge problem with Blameless. Because Conall and Alexia are not together in this book until the bitter, bitter end. Like, the last page. Criminy! That was an error of epic proportions. All of the other "fun stuff" in Carriger's books...the myriad colorful secondary characters, the creative inventions, and the paranormal politics, fall totally flat without the heated, combustible attraction between our soulless heroine and her werewolf husband. They, together, create the sparkle in these tales. Without Conall as her sidekick, Alexia's antics were not nearly as entertaining. (In fact, the only criticism I had of Changeless was that Carriger kept the hero and heroine apart for too long in that novel. It is much worse here.)

And yes, I agree with other reviewers....Carriger did not adequately address the huge betrayal and consequent conflict resolution. But at that point, I was so disheartened that Alexia and Conall had not been together at all, I didn't really care.

Surprisingly, the best part of this book turned out to be the reaction of Professor Lyall to the young vampire turned werewolf, Biffy. The scene where Lord Akeldama, Biffy and Lyall are all dealing with the ramifications of Biffy's transformation was a fascinating and emotionally charged scene--the best scene in the book. (Which is a problem...when the best scene in the book does not involve the heroine, it's not good). I love the homoerotic undercurrent going on between Biffy and Lyall and I desperately hope that Carriger explores that further.

There was still a lot of great humor in this book. But the reunion at the end between Alexia and her husband was a gigantic let-down. And I just didn't think the plot and action in the rest of the book made up for that.

I am super disappointed. I was looking forward to Alexia and Conall as much as I used to wait for Emerson and Peabody when Elizabeth Peters released a new Amelia Peabody book every year.

I sure hope the hero and heroine of this series finally get back together in the next installment.
Grade: C+