Timeless (Gail Carriger)

Timeless is is the fifth and final novel in the Parasol Protectorate series by Gail Carriger.
[Here are my reviews of the other books.]
Finished on: 12.10.2015

Plot:
Things have settled in London. Lord and Lady Macon have an established routine with Lord Akeldama, even though their daughter Prudence is a handful for all of them and bound to cause quite an uproar wherever she goes. But then Alexia and her family, particularly Prudence, are summoned to Egypt by the oldest living vampire. Taking the Tunstells and their theater group as cover, they all travel to Alexandria together.

Timeless is a very nice ending to a fun series. I didn’t like all things about it, but altogether I did enjoy it a lot.

carriger-timeless

I’ve been meaning to talk about the covers for the book series for a while. They always use the same model who is obviously supposed to be Alexia and it just irks me because Alexia always talks about how “not thin” she is – and this model is certainly very thin. And since fat(-ish) protagonists are rare anyway, I hate that we don’t get to see this on the cover.

[SPOILERS]

It is a trope in writing about immortal characters that they shy away from attachments to humans because they all die anyway and it only ends in pain and misery. And I honestly never understood this logic or at leat not in its pervasiveness that all immortals must think that way. On the one hand, just because an attachment doesn’t last forever, doesn’t make it any less valuable. I can spend two weeks with somebody and they can profoundly influence me and my worldview. And even spending an evening bonding with somebody can be hugely enjoyable, no matter if we see each other again. And if we don’t that doesn’t necessarily mean that it leads to extended grief. On the other hand, grief is part of life. It can’t be avoided. And it doesn’t negate the great things that come before it. Say I live forever and of that forever I spend 50 years with an amazing person. Isn’t that a great thing? Of course it’s sad when it’s over, but relationships just make a huge part of what makes life good in the first place. Avoiding relationships to spare yourself grief is avoiding joy and love. And I suspect that somebody who lived for a while will have realized that and will brave relationships with all those shiny, sparkling, unique humans despite whatever grief may come afterwards.

And I loved that in the books up to Timeless, this was just never an issue for Alexia or Conall. In fact, Alexia talks with Ivy about this at one point and says that she doesn’t care that Conall won’t really grow older but she will and he obviously didn’t care that Alexia would die before him. But with Timeless, suddenly we are back to “growing old together” as the ultimate romantic goal and Conall opts for basically committing suicide over the course of decades just so that he and Alexia can die together. Bringing me back to the question why his death would make their relationship any more meaningful than him staying immortal.

That part of the explanation is the madness that befalls alphas when they grow too old, didn’t help me much either because that entire thing felt completely shoehorned in and seemed like an excuse to get to that ending. Just like Biffy’s sudden alphaness was just way too convenient to make the ending satisfying. Don’t get me wrong, I was rooting for Lyall and Biffy a whole fucking lot, but Carriger spent the last books building Biffy up as the perfect beta and the suddenly whack boom bang, he’s an alpha and all problems are solved.

Apart from that and from a minor squibble I had plotwise (it was just so obvious that Prudence was the kidnapping target, why nobody thought of it earlier will remain a mystery), I really loved Timeless though. Prudence is great and I really couldn’t have wished for a better ending for Ivy. (Ivy will always remain my favorite.) Carriger really managed to tie things up nicely – and I’m looking forward to reading her book(s) about Prudence.

Summarizing: All’s well that ends well.

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