by Gail Carriger
3 stars - vampires, werewolves, romance, and mystery
ALR Green - bitey face werewolves
From the back cover blurb:
Alexia Tarabotti is laboring under a great many social tribulations. First, she has no soul. Second, she's a spinster whose father is both Italian and dead. Third, she was rudely attacked by a vampire, breaking all standards of social etiquette.
Where to go from there? From bad to worse, apparently, for Alexia accidentally kills a vampire - and then the appalling Lord Maccon (loud, messy, gorgeous, and werewolf) is sent by Queen Victoria to investigate.
It's a mishmash of delights. Let's take them one at a time.
Romance - This book is first and foremost a romance. It's a regular bodice ripper, with a plucky, independent heroine and a gruff, but well muscled, hero. This reader was a bit grouchy with the writing style at first, but once I realized the book was really not a mystery or a vampire / werewolf story, but a good, old-fashioned romance, well, I settled in for the ride. What a delight!
Vampires and Werewolves - Well, yes, but given that the setting is Victorian England, they are for the most part very well mannered. They register with the government and prey only on willing victims. Most of them live in hives (vampires) or packs (werewolves) with a few independents milling about.
Fashion - Bustles, corsets, cravats, and waistcoats abound. Clothing commentary is present even during action scenes as one can hardly wrestle about with bad guys without silk and taffeta getting mussed. Fashion is a sure marker of character "Highland werewolves had a reputation for doing atrocious and highly unwarranted things, like wearing smoking jackets to the dinner table. Lyall shivered at the delicious horror of the very idea."
Mystery - Well, really just a bit of one. Enough to provide encounters, both amorous and dangerous between our hero and heroine.
Now then, it seems my local library filed this book under "horror," which was no doubt mandated by the supernatural beings, but I wouldn't put it in that category myself. It also had the book in the "young adult" section which is fine, but I must warn you that there is some fairly explicit mushy stuff (provided one has the vocabulary to understand what is being said).
Robust secondary characters abound. Wonderful!
The destination of the story is apparent from early on, but the journey brings some delightful surprises. Hop on, enjoy the ride.