Monday, April 26, 2010

Changeless by Gail Carriger

Posted by Simcha 8:29 PM, under | 12 comments

Less than a year after the publication of her debut novel, Soulless, Gail Carriger has already provided readers with the second book in her Parasol Protectorate series, thereby firmly placing her high on my list of favorite authors. It also helps that these book are so delightfully fun to read, offering a fresh take on the world of vampires, werewolves and the supernatural, all within the setting of Victorian London.

Alexia is enjoying her new status as Lady Woolsey, with all the perks it has to offer (especially those that take place in the bedroom) when her new husband begins exhibiting strange behavior, culminating with his sudden disappearance to Scotland. At the same time, a strange new phenomenon has suddenly affected London’s supernatural creatures with mortality, and it’s Alexia’s job as Muhjah to get to the bottom of this new threat. Alexia’s investigation leads her to Scotland, where she makes some new discoveries about her husband, her absent father, and her own powers as a preternatural.

First off I want to say that based on the blurb on the back of the book, I was expecting certain events to take place which never actually do, and at first this distracted me somewhat from the story itself. The description of
Changeless makes it sound like the plot centers on Alexia’s search for her missing husband, which it does not, so I just wanted to begin with a warning that the description on the back cover is not an accurate portrayal of the events in the book.

Changeless does start off a bit slow, as we accompany Alexia on her errands and listen in on her interactions with various friends and acquaintances. In this manner we learn about the current threat to London’s supernatural and we meet some new interesting characters who will accompany Alexia on her adventures. Though it’s when Alexia sets of to Scotland that the story really picks up, and the reader discovers the extent of the mystery in which Alexia is now involved.

Changeless offers readers the same wonderful writing and witty humor which were present in Soulless, though this book discusses in a bit more depth some of the steampunk elements in this world, particularly the aethographer, a contraption used to relay messages over far distances. We also get more of an insight as to what Alexia’s soulless status might mean for her, as well as for others. And I was particularly pleased that Changeless provided an explanation for the relevance of goggles to steampunk, which is something that I've been wondering about for a while

I had just finished a couple of rather heavy fantasy novels when I started on
Changeless, and it was just what I needed. It was a fun and fast read that was thoroughly engrossing, but also provided enough depth and ingenuity to give it substance. And towards the end, the story rushes to a climatic finish which had me tightly gripping the book’s pages, and which was only forgivable because the third installment of the series will be available in just a few months. Otherwise, I would not have been at all happy.

Changeless was a very satisfying sequel to Soulless, and I can barely contain my eagerness for the final installment in the series. I will admit that I assume that these books will generally appeal more to female readers than male, due to the strong focus on romance, though I do know of some men that have enjoyed them as well. But if you are someone who enjoys books with strong female characters, humorous dialogue, romance and some light steampunk, then I highly suggest you give this book a try. Though if you have not yet read Soulless, I recommend you do so first.


Awesome review! This sounds like a great series, i can't wait to read it!

Glad you liked this one! I enjoyed the first one, though I found it a little silly and didn't really like the whole part of being locked in a cage together. It was fun, though!

Okay, okay, I get the point - I've got to read Soulless and, like, now! And then buy this one. . .

I saw this book and thought it interesting. So glad for the blurb warning because I can be distracted by that sort of thing too!
Guess I'll add Soulless to my "Wish" list to get started in the series. :)

Thanks for letting me know that the back cover is misleading. I have yet to read this, although it is no longer beckoning, but screaming, from my TBR pile. Your review makes it sound like I should move it up my list.

Carrie: If you do read these books, I hope you enjoy them as much as I did.

Aarti: While I thought Soulless was a lot of fun, that section in the end was a bit odd. You think there would have more urgent matters to think about when they are about to be tortured. And the section with the robot was strange too. But Carriger really adds some creative innovations to the paranormal genre, and I really enjoy her style of writing.

Brizmus: You should like these books, there are no scantily dressed, weapon toting females on any of the covers :)

Martha: It drives me crazy when book blurbs either give too much away or give inaccurate information about the story. I look forward to hearing you opinion of these books, if you do read them.

Stephanie: These books are different than anything I've seen you review, but since you mentioned that you do enjoy the occasional romance, I think you will like these as well. While I don't believe they are classified as romances, I think of them as such.

Interesting review. I really learned a lot about the books in this review. This one and the first one sound like great fun reads. I am going to have to get these. :) Thanks!

I read and liked Soulless. When everything goes well I will read Changeless within May 2010.
To be honest I didn't read the blurb so far. But it is good to know that there is a difference between the blurb and the content of the book.

Most important for me is that Changeless is as good or even better than Soulless.

I agree with you that more women than men will read these books. In this case I'm an exception because I'm a man AND I like the books by Gail Carriger.

ediFanoB: I actually had you in mind when I commented that I know of men that enjoyed Soulless. And since you liked Soulless I'm sure that you will like Changeless as well. Though I would recommend that you wait until the third book is released to read it because Changeless ends on a cliffhanger and I'm very impatient to find out what happens next.

thank you very much for your recommendation because Changeless is on my reading schedule for May 2010. Of course I ordered Blameless in advance which will be published in September 2010. So I will read Changeless and Blameless in September. That gives me the opportunity to write a different kind of review (follow up or double or I don't know).

By the way did you know that there will be a fourth book in the Parasol Protectorate series?

I decided to read Pinion by Jay Lake instead.

ediFanoB: I did Not know that there was going to be a fourth book in the series. I'm going to have to look into this now. And while I'd love to read more about the characters, I just hope that this doesn't mean Carriger will be dragging one story line out too long and ending again with another cliffhanger. The only reason the last one was forgivable is because she the next one will be published so soon after. Enjoy Pinion. I've never read anything by Jay Lake, though I think I follow him on Twitter (which is why the name sounds familiar)

I understand your concern.

I liked MAINSPRING and ESCAPEMENT by Jay Lake. PINION is set in the same world.

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