Some book series never end, (or feel like they don't.) Some book series are gone too soon. Rarely does an author bow out at the right time.
Gail Carriger allows us to say goodbye to Alexia Tarabotti Maccon at just about the right moment. Timeless, picking up two years after the end of Heartless, pits Alexia against mummies, mortality, and her dratted family history, whilst juggling a toddler inconvenience. It's an exciting romp through fresh scenery with the series' usual wit and humor. With a few exceptions, it's the perfect close to a great series.
Detailed spoilers of what did and didn't work:
Madame Lefoux. Frankly, her whole character and friendship with Alexia was ruined at the end of Heartless. Bringing her back served no point. No redemption story was going to make her not have rampaged though the city on a flame spewing octopus, almost killing Alexia in the process. She could have been cut out of the novel and it wouldn't have been worse for it.
Floote. If PP goes back to one well too often, it's the "thought to be trusted friend is actually not so good." Angelique, Professor Lyall, Madame Lefoux, and now Floote. Unfortunately most of those other times made more sense than here. Floote, the 70+ year old butler, has a secret society ensconced in Egypt designed solely to protect a lot of corpses in the desert. He then shoots a supernatural, smothers him, goes back to buttlering, then when discovered, steals an aircraft, and disappears, one step ahead of Lyall and Biffy. That seems...unlikely, even from a man we've learned has hidden depths and a bad ass attitude.
Conall's breakdown and Professor Lyall's whole storyline. As I said above, I can do without the whole storyline of trusted friend has other motives. I can see why it was a loose end that needed tying up, but every bit of it was unpleasant and sad, not the note I want a series to go out on. And frankly, after Alexia's pregnancy, I could do without Conall freaking out and breaking up with her. That was a storyline that almost stopped me from reading the rest of the series. I certainly didn't need it revisited here.
Biffy and Lyall. I'll admit, I was holding out hope that Biffy and Lord Akeldama would end up together. If a werewolf and a Souless can make it, why can't a werewolf and a vampire? If they couldn't, Lyall's a sweet character who deserved a bright and joyful partner.
The new generation of supernaturals. You either love Ivy the married vampire queen actress and Biffy the dandy Alpha, or you hate it. I love it. London's changing, Europe is changing, and the leaders need to adapt.
"Do you want cinnamon, infant?" Alexia, despite having no soul, is a great, funny mom who loves her kid. It may not be conventional, but it's tender and sweet, while being logical and pragmatic. It was so good to see that the character didn't change just to be mother.
Conall's decision. I flip-flopped on how well this worked, but I've come down on the side of "well". As is always a concern in supernatural/mortal relationships, I was a little worried about picking up the Prudence series to find Conall unchanged and Alexia old, or worse. Of course he loves her and wouldn't want to be without her, so he's made provisions.
With the exception of a few issues, the book is an excellent sendoff. I'm very excited for both new series in the same universe.