Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Learning | The Parasol Protectorate.

Steampunk fans will enjoy reading Gail Carriger's books.

I learned about Ms. Carriger's books from a customer, who wholeheartedly recommended the Parasol Protectorate Series, also known as the Alexia Tarabotti Seriesto me.  

Soulless, Book 1 of the Parasol Protectorate Series
Quite honestly, she had me at "steampunk," but I was delighted when I started reading Soulless, the first book in the series. Carriger sets the series in a historical world that might have existed, if Victorian Society was interwoven with vampires, werewolves, ghosts and human beings. Queen Victoria has appointed a Shadow Council to oversee supernatural matters, and there is a Bureau of Unnatural Registry which keeps track of all of the werewolves and vampires in England. There are also plenty of interesting steam-powered machines used for detection, transportation, communication and warfare. (Including deadly mechanical ladybugs and porcupines!)  Alexia's parasol is her primary means of protection--and there are plenty of people who wish to see her dead in this series. History buffs will enjoy comparing the fantasy setting with the history/technology of the real world at the same time.

Alexia Tarabotti seems like a Jane Austen character. She would be a formidable force even without her preternatural status (in terms of this series, that means she was born without a soul; her touch will turn immortals human.) 

She keeps up with the latest scientific theory and technological developments. She's not afraid to protect herself...which explains why the first book opens on a scene where she accidentally killed a vampire, when she simply wanted to eat a few treacle tarts. 

Her mother and half-sisters are frivolous, mean-spirited women who are preoccupied with everything Alexia finds least interesting: who's engaged to whom, fashion, etc. 

Her best friend, Ivy, has horrible taste in hats; she may prone to malapropisms like, "persona au gratin," but she is not as foolish as she appears. 

I almost forgot to mention the great romance that transforms Miss Tarabotti into Lady Maccon by the end of the first book. If you've ever wondered about the challenges of marrying an earl who is a werewolf, look no further!

The Parasol Protectorate Series will appeal to fans of Jane Austen, P. G. Wodehouse, and Elizabeth Peters.  

Gail Carriger is writing more series to delight her fans:

Custard Protocol Series (sorry, you'll have to go to Link+ for this one)

Finishing School Series is a series for teens, set in the same fantasy Victorian Era as The Parasol Protectorate.

Soulless is the name of a manga series based on the Parasol Protectorate Series. I haven't seen it yet, but I will be looking for it.

One of the most intriguing devices described in The Parasol Protectorate is something called an octomaton, or automated octopus. It's a gigantic armored vehicle with eight tentacles that can shoot fire or other missiles.  

I had to laugh when a recent email reminding me about the upcomiing Bay Area Maker Faire featured a picture of El Pulpo Mecanico,  a moving sculpture of an octopus, which shoots flames through its tentacles. Duane Flatmo and Jerry Kunkel have displayed it at Burning Man.  

El Pulpo Mecanico (Flaming Octopus.)
 Photo from Tim Varga's photostream on
Some rights reserved.

The Bay Area Maker Faire will take place at the San Mateo County Fairgrounds on May 17-18, 2014. 

No comments:

Post a Comment