This is the fifth (and as of yet final) novel in the Parasol Protectorate
novels about Alexia Tarabotti, and as a result, this review will contain spoilers for previous books in the series, and the book will not be as satisfying to you if it's the first one you pick up. Go read Soulless instead.
Book summary from the publisher, because it's been two months since I read the book: Alexia Tarabotti, Lady Maccon, has settled into domestic bliss. Of course, being Alexia, such bliss involves integrating werewolves into London High society, living in a vampire's second best closet, and coping with a precocious toddler who is prone to turning supernatural willy-nilly. Even Ivy Tunstell's acting troupe's latest play, disastrous to say the least, cannot put a damper on Alexia's enjoyment of her new London lifestyle.
Until, that is, she receives a summons from Alexandria that cannot be ignored. With husband, child, and Tunstells in tow, Alexia boards a steamer to cross the Mediterranean. But Egypt may hold more mysteries than even the indomitable Lady Maccon can handle. What does the vampire Queen of the Alexandria Hive really want from her? Why is the God-Breaker Plague suddenly expanding?And how has Ivy Tunstell suddenly become the most popular actress in all the British Empire?
My enjoyment of the various books in this series has varied. I adored the first one, thought the second one was dull and the third one rather dreadful, but book four was an improvement, and as a final book in the series, this was a worthy ending to Alexia's story. By now, most of the characters are fully developed in Carriger's world, and interact in amusing and sometimes surprising ways. Alexia has mellowed a bit, and is less prickly than in some of the earlier instalments. It's fun to see the "show go on the road" so to speak, and while in previous books the cast have been travelling in Europe, this time they go all the way to Egypt, home of the first vampires.
While certain things were left unanswered, to a large part, Carriger finishes off the major story strands with this novel. It's fairly clear to the reader what will happen in future with Alexia, her beloved Lord Maccon, Lord Akeldama, Biffy and Professor Lyall (two of my favourite characters), Floote, Madame Lefoux and of course Ivy Tunstell and her acting troupe. Never exactly groundbreaking and profound literature, this book was an entertaining light-hearted romp, and possibly my second favourite in the series after Soulless.