by Gail Carriger
Alexia Tarabotti is a Victorian spinster who labors under the weight of misfortune. Admittedly, her father is rich, and her mother, if no longer precisely good-looking, is at any rate fashionable and received in all the best houses. But Alexia is afflicted with a dusky complexion, an unruly spirit, two simpering half-sisters, a perception that she is unmarriageable, and a complete absence of soul. In consequence, the vampires and werewolves who populate the cream of London society are rendered temporarily human at her touch.
Inevitably, hilarity and marriage ensue. We visit the headquarters of London’s vampires in Westminster, and meet a Scottish Lord who happens to be (a) a werewolf and (b) the head of Her Majesty’s Bureau of Unnatural Registry. Centuries ago, the British reached an accommodation with their supernaturals, and the alliance of human and superhuman subjects has carried the British flag across the globe. In the end (of course) we also meet a scientific mastermind whose nefariously subterranean laboratories can only be reached through a tiny ascension room. Alexia inhabits a good, clean, and frothy world that is neither very deep nor very disturbing, and in place of overwrought angst we have good and (mostly) clean fun.