Friday, May 25, 2012

Not With a Bang But a Whimper (Ok, That's a Little Harsh But I Like The Phrase)

Oy veis meer.  I am *behind*.  I have two books to review and it's erev a three day yom tov! Need to bang these out, and fast.  Luckily, since I finished the first one like, what, two weeks ago? I've somewhat forgotten whatever I had to say about it (not that I had a ton at any point in time) so maybe this won't take too long.  Anyway, this first one is a familiar name - (not that the second one isn't, more on that of course when I finish this one) - Gail Carriger.  The fifth (and last) in the Parasol Protectorate series, all for of whose previous installments I have reviewed right on this very blog! You can't expect much about of the fifth in a series, though I think expectations are somewhat raised for the finale.  But you know, I tend to be sanguine, and I enjoyed the previous ones, though some more, some less, so I was hoping for a good read.

I'd say I was fairly disappointed, at least in the most promising elements.  Characterization-wise, we continue going off the cliff (getting farther to the edge?) of pairing off everyone as she pleases and wrecking some heretofore steadily admirable personalities (Biffy no longer confidently flamboyant, Lyle not the calm presence of mind, and Floote, oh Floote, no loyal and utterly capable butler any longer).  Then there's the lack of humor, or rather the failure of what forced humor there is.  Turns of phrase, light absurdities, they just fall flat.  And romance is long gone by this point of course.

So we're left with plot... well this is the last book, so of course we get lots of loose ends tied up and that's always satisfying.  And there was plenty of excitement, and new scenes (Egypt!) and new background to keep one interested.  So I read it more eagerly than I might have expected, at least once I got into it.  But I have to say, the ending left me disappointed - in not one, but two ways.  First,  I just didn't like it - (spoiler alert) - Ivy as a vampire queen? no.  And then it just seemed like there were plenty of little strings still waving gently in the breeze (I mean by that that not everything was tied up tidily). I suppose the excuse fo r the latter is that I think there's some kind of follow up series with Alexia's daughter, and something had to be left for that? But come on, it's the final book, couldn't it have just been final? Or maybe that is final, maybe the lack of explanation of the book's "science" was on purpose? Dunno, and not sure how much I care.  I'll read the follow up if it's in a normal format, but I seem to recall it's either manga or a children's series, neither of which excites me overly much.  So series over, all tied up, one way or the other.

Verdict: 2.75 / 5

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