Alright, ladies and gentlemen. This is by far one of my favorite posts. I love great books, and I like telling people about them, and I just finished a FANTASTIC book. I've already told you all about Soulless and Changeless by Gail Carriger, now we must discuss Blameless, the most recent book!
Now, Blameless came out several months ago, but because of the other books that I'd already started, I couldn't get to this book until just after Christmas. I can tell you that I really wish I'd ignored every other book on my shelf to jump into this one. As with the last two reviews, I won't spell out the plot for you and ruin the story.
I must tell you that, as well-written as the first two books are, Carriger really came into her own with this novel. Though books one and two had a few quirks that are to be expected in a debut and sophomore novel, Carriger grew noticeably as a writer while she crafted book three. In fact, not a single "quirk" showed up in this book. With Blameless, Carriger has cemented her place as a veteran writer who is most definitely here to stay.
A few changes to the world became apparent early on. Characters known for flamboyance or silliness proved to be serious people, capable of wisdom, cunning, and even dogged determination to help the protagonists achieve their goals. These secondary characters became more important to the story. Their personalities broadened to make them more realistic. And while they all served a purpose in previous novels, their contributions in volume three are critical to the protagonists' success.
Ms. Carriger branched out quite a bit in some of her scene descriptions, too. While the setting has always been quite vivid in her narration, several of the characters venture beyond England's borders to "the continent." Personally, I've never been to France or Italy, but Carriger's illustration of those lands paint a vivid picture in my mind that do nothing but entice me to buy a plane ticket to Europe as soon as possible. Not only are her descriptions vivid, but often enough they're clever, witty, and delivered in the voice of the character that is experiencing whatever is being described on the page.
As with the previous novels, this book is filled with laugh-out-loud humor that's delivered in the matter-of-fact, dry tone that would be acceptable to a "woman of breeding" such as the protagonist, Alexia Maccon.
What else can I tell you? The plot is solid and hole-free. The descriptions are vivid and full of life, as are the characters. The voice is still unique. It's very funny. And most importantly, the author is constantly improving in her craft. (Nothing is worse than reading several novels by the same person and discovering that they have no room for improvement; they have reached the pinnacle of their ability as a writer.)
So, as I've said many times before, go buy this book (and all of Carriger's other books), read them and laugh.