Series: The Parasol Protectorate, Book 2
Authors: Gail Carriger
Publisher: Orbit Books
Author Website: www.gailcarriger.com
Twitter: @gailcarriger, @orbitbooks
Rating: 5/5 stars
Alexia Tarabotti, the Lady Woolsey, awakens in the wee hours of the mid-afternoon to find her husband, who should be decently asleep like any normal werewolf, yelling at the top of his lungs. Then he disappears - leaving her to deal with a regiment of supernatural soldiers encamped on her doorstep, a plethora of exorcised ghosts, and an angry Queen Victoria.
But Alexia is armed with her trusty parasol, the latest fashions, and an arsenal of biting civility. Even when her investigations take her to Scotland, the backwater of ugly waistcoats, she is prepared: upending werewolf pack dynamics as only the soulless can.
She might even find time to track down her wayward husband, if she feels like it.
Oh, Gail Carriger; I'm having a love/hate relationship with you right now. Well, maybe hate is too strong a word. I simply loved Soulless, but Changeless left me wanting. Wanting what, I'm not quite sure, but wanting something more. Don't get me wrong, Changeless had all the elements that made Soulless such a great read, but that's just it; it was all the same. I think the book suffered from what I call "Second Book Syndrome;" where the sophomore offering in a series still hasn't quite hit the stride of the rest of the series and is more or less riding on the coattails of the first book. I have all the faith in the world that Blameless (released in September) will make that hurdle and keep the story moving along.
We have all our favorite characters from Soulless with the introduction to a handful of new characters who may or may not have the best interests of Alexia Tarabotti at heart. Ivy Hisselpenny has a slightly larger, if not more empty-headed, role this time around (seriously, a good title for a book of her own would be Witless or Senseless). I did find that Alexia's immersion into the pack hierarchy was handled very well; I felt that her character has had some honest growth from the first book to this one in that respect.
The cliffhanger ending I didn't feel was entirely necessary, but since that seems to be the way of the literary world these days, it doesn't leave me entirely surprised. The entire element of the cliffhanger could have been left off for a couple of more books, and that's all I'm going to say on that subject.
All things considered, Changeless is still a fun read. It may not entirely hold up to Soulless as a whole, but it's a good companion and leads nicely, if not a little abruptly, into the next book. If you have already read Soulless and are wondering about Changeless, I might say to hold off until later in the year when Blameless is released, but don't let this review of Changeless dissuade you from reading Soulless. They are both clever, fun books that will leave you laughing out loud on several occasions.