Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The Clocks Must Roll: Timeless

The fifth book in the Parasol Protectorate finishes the series with a satisfying mix of changes and agreements. Gail Carriger's title, Timeless, refers to the ancient civilization of Egypt and not to any maintenance of the status quo. Yet the characters themselves remain steady, adhering to the core of the character despite the balloons and mummies of changing fate.

So Alexia remains stubborn, hungry, and practical, whether she's learning to walk between balloons or struggling to regain her husband's trust. Ivy wears bad hats no matter the occasion, from performing in avente-guarde plays to rescuing her kidnapped daughter. Biffy's first concern is his appearance, because that affects his relationships, his business, and his place in the pack.

Carriger also manages to create a fun two year old character in Prudence; at first she seemed one of the annoying cute-machines that never really exist, but actually her character is a realistically drawn portrayal of a toddler, from the language roller coaster to the attention span. Steam punk fans will be glad about the new machines the characters play with along the Nile, but I mostly enjoy the adventure and the characters, both of which shine brightly without cloying.

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