The Parasol Protectorate is a steampunk fantasy series by Gail Carriger. It is unashamedly silly and a little bit brilliant. It's literary candy of the best kind, precisely because it doesn't take itself seriously and is written with a great deal of wit.
As before, there are spoilers ahead for the entire series, so if you don't want to be spoiled I suggest you stop reading here.
The world for The Parasol Protectorate is pretty standard steampunk, which will either delight you or annoy you depending on your fondness for the sub-genre. There's dirigibles, goggles, clockwork automatons and even a mechanical giant octopus. Steampunk can be a matter of taste, and as it is very much to my taste, I loved it. Your mileage may vary.
However, there are some pretty nifty original ideas alongside the standard steampunk ones. The concept of the supernatural vs. the preternatural was very interesting, and I liked a soulless heroine who wasn't dead, for once.
The first three books are the best. I found the fifth and last book somewhat disappointing, but there was some good character development for Alexia and Ivy, and Prudence is adorable.
Likes and Gripes
Professor Lyall is amazing and should have his own series. That is all.
Similarly, Madame Lefoux. It's actually one of my gripes that she doesn't get enough attention. She's a fascinating character and you don't learn enough about her. Still, when she's there she's fabulous.
Ivy started off very silly and I found that a bit annoying. She does become awesome later on, especially in the last book, but it would have been nice to see hints of that earlier.
I never got much of a sense of Conall Maccon, which is odd as he's the love interest. He's not really there half the time. It didn't bother me since I was happy to read about Alexia's adventures without her husband
There's not much more to say, really. It's a fun and very silly series executed with style. If you're after an entertaining, witty light read involving werewolves and dart shooting parasols, this may well be it.
I give the series an A-.