Science Fiction and Fantasy Association of New Zealand

Timeless Timeless
by Gail Carriger

Supplied for review by Hachette New Zealand

Reviewed By: June Young

Timeless is the 5th and final book of The Parasol Protectorate series by Gail Carriger, and it is a fine ending to a very entertaining set of stories linked together by common history, various events that occur during the previous books and the characters associated with the action. For any reader who liked or loved the series, it is well worth getting. Even if your interest in the series is waning and you are wondering "is it worth getting?", Miss Carriger does finish her story, very neatly. Some would argue too neatly, but it is complete. Events come to an end, revelations happen and characters have long-term outcomes.

It is difficult to review this book without giving away spoilers, but let’s just say that Alexia needs to go to Egypt with her daughter Prudence, and ends up taking Ivy with her. Lady Kingair who we saw in Changeless is visiting London on business, so it is up to Professor Lyall to cope with her as well as being left in charge of the pack. Biffy too, remains in London to look after the hat shop while Alexia and her husband travel to Egypt. Egypt has been mentioned in previous books, and now the reader will see why it is so relevant to the overall story.

The two big differences to Timeless, is that the story is told in the first person. We get to see what the viewpoint characters are thinking. Biffy stands out rather well at this point. Secondly, I think that for the first time in the series, Miss Carriger writes in her own voice, and a very fine voice it is too. Timeless is like a well-written personal travel journal of the Victorian era, as far as Alexia’s story goes. Other books in the series had their own individual styles that reflected the popular literature of the day.

The only thing that is still enigmatic, in my opinion, is Madame Lefoux and her motives, and that of the organisation she is a part of. Aside from this minor short fall, I really enjoyed reading Timeless and would recommend it to anyone who has been reading the series. Having seen Prudence as a toddler, I will definitely be buying her story when it comes out in 2013. Timeless does feel like a setup for Prudence’s future in The Parasol Protectorate Aboard series, but I think this is a positive.

For new readers, I would suggest started with Soulless, the first book in the series, and read the series in its proper sequence. Timeless could, at a stretch, be read by itself, but it depends on how you personally view reading a series. Readers do get an outline of events that occurred in earlier books that are affecting the present in Timeless. The potential for a prequel is there, if one required a full back story. Alexia’s father really did get up to rather a lot prior to his settling in England but the motives for some of his activities remain very generalised to the reader.

I like Timeless, and I liked the series as well. It is a colourful mix of steampunk, fantasy, alternate history, romance and comedy, set in a rather different liberal Victorian London. Despite the presence of vampires, werewolves and mummies, it is very civilised, and not horror at all because the supernatural crowd are out in the open within the British Empire. Treat it as 328 pages of entertaining leisure reading; best not to take seriously. Suitable for older teenagers and up.

Note : I didn’t see it coming at all until about halfway through the book, and was quite surprised by some things, especially the ending. A few readers on claimed that they did "see it coming" but I didn’t.

SFFANZ is a non-profit organisation and registered charity
designed to bring together fans of the fantastic in New Zealand

Contact us by email at: