Updated: Nov 18, 2020
Published September 18th 2018 by Orbit (first published October 1st 2009)
Genre: Gaslamp Fantasy
Series: Parasol Protectorate
Rating: MR this book contains sex scenes.
"It was a style entirely of her own devising: a black frilly confection with purple satin pansies sewn about, brass hardware, and buckshot in its silver tip."
This book has been sitting on my shelf a good while after I picked it up at Barnes & Noble (I couldn't resist a signed illustrated copy.) When I picked it up and flipped it open, it seemed to be an Austen-esque vampire novel. What's not to love?
And I'm thrilled to tell you that that's exactly what it was! Alexia Tarabotti is a preturnatural, a person born without a soul. This makes her the opposite, the antidote, the "cure" to paranormalcy, she can touch a vampire or werewolf and make them human again for as long as she holds the contact.
She is also a single woman, slightly past marriageable age, in Victorian England. Born with the unfortunate heritage of an Italian father, she is browner than preferred, curvier than most, and has a most unladylike love of knowledge, in addition to a smartass attitude. Her family wrote her off as unmarriageable from the tender age of 15.
But Alexia is attacked at a party by a new vampire who doesn't know what she is. This is highly unusual, and so an investigation is opened by BUR, the paranormal police force, headed by a very domineering Alpha, Lord Maccon, whom Alexia adores infuriating.
What follows is an absolutely hilarious proceeding full of delicate sensibilities, most improper behavior, and a weaponized parasol.
I cannot tell you how much I enjoyed this book. It's a combo of everything I love: penny dreadful fiction, Jane Austen's England, and a badass smartass of a female heroin. And of course a very inapproprate romance between Alexia and Lord Maccon. It's a weird combo, like a fusion restaurant, where you're wondering how everything can possible go together, but somehow it does.
5/5, I will definitely be reading the next book in the series.