Novel: Heartless (Parasol Protectorate #4) by Gail Carriger
Summary: Lady Alexia Maccon, soulless, is at it again, only this time the trouble is not her fault. When a mad ghost threatens the queen, Alexia is on the case, following a trail that leads her deep into her husband's past. Top that off with a sister who has joined the suffragette movement (shocking!), Madame Lefoux's latest mechanical invention, and a plague of zombie porcupines and Alexia barely has time to remember she happens to be eight months pregnant.
Will Alexia manage to determine who is trying to kill Queen Victoria before it is too late? Is it the vampires again or is there a traitor lurking about in wolf's clothing? And what, exactly, has taken up residence in Lord Akeldama's second best closet?
Characters: Carriger is not afraid to go places with her characters and that is something I truly appreciated. We have a dark past I did not expect for one character, and present actions that are more than a bit shocking (but understandable) for another. Alexia makes mistakes that can't be easily rectified and one at the end that can't be fixed at all, just lived with. I loved that all of the characters have grown through out the series and even changed, but I have never felt betrayed as a reader by any of those changes.
Plot/Pacing: I liked this plot a lot more than book three, but I was able to guess quite a few key plot elements. Not all of them, but enough that I occasionally got frustrated with how long it was taking Alexia. However, at 8 months pregnant, Alexia is getting into so much trouble that guessing a few pieces of the mystery didn't matter. The rest of the book was just too much fun.
Moments I Loved: Any moment with Biffy. He's sweet and wonderful and I loved watching him struggle to become part of the wolf pack.
WTF Moments: Alexia names her baby Prudence.
Narrators: This is the same narrator as the rest of the series and she does a good job. She gets the cadence of Alexia's dry humor. She never ruins a joke by drawing attention to something that is supposed to be understated. (That is my biggest pet peeve in narrators.)
Overall: Loved it! This is a crazy steampunk/paranormal/comedy of manners/everything.... seriously, it's a great mashup that is expertly done. It's funny and entertaining and this is probably my second favorite in the series.
Heartless gets a FakeSteph rating of...