This is the fourth book in Carriger’s popular Parasol Protectorate series and it resembles nothing more than a collection of quirky characters wandering about in search of a plot. The banter between Alexia and her husband is amusing, the narrative style is entertaining and the decorative elements are ingenious (zombie porcupines!), but at the end of the day, this book is as insubstantial as a meringue.
Lady Alexia Maccon is eight months pregnant and in no mood to deal with insolence from anyone. So when word comes from a deranged ghost that the queen is in danger, Alexia lumbers into action in the hopes of catching a killer before he or she gets to Queen Victoria. In addition to saving the queen, Alexia has to deal with attacks from zombie porcupines, random vampires (they seem to want her dead for some reason), Madame Lefoux’s infuriating secretiveness and a sister who has inexplicably decided to join the suffragette movement. With luck, Alexia will be able to sort everyone out into their proper places before giving birth. (ORBIT, Jul., 400 pp., $7.99)