Changeless by Gail Carrriger
(The Parasol Protectorate #2)
Orbit (April 2010)
Paperback, 388 pages
Warning: contains spoilers for ending of Soulless
Changeless by Gail Carriger picks up where Soulless left off, with Alexia Tarabotti happily married to Lord Conall Maccon, and the new Lady of Woolsey Castle. Due to her husband’s state as an alpha werewolf, this also makes her the new alpha female of the pack. This provides some great comedic moments in which the males have to come to terms with Alexia’s feisty character!
The main plot of this book revolves around a new threat sweeping the supernaturals of London, making them all appear human – similar to the effects of Alexia’s preternatural influence. It is unclear whether this is caused by an unknown disease, another preternatural or even Alexia herself, but as muhjah to Queen Victoria, the new Lady Maccon is determined to find out the truth.
This mystery comes coupled with the death of the alpha wolf of Lord Maccon’s previous pack in Scotland, which results in the majority of the novel occurring in theHighlandsafter Alexia follows him by dirigible. Accompanying her to Scotland is her sister Felicity, her maid Angelique and best friend Ivy Hisselpenny, as well as Tunstell, one of her husband’s clavigers (wannabe werewolves in other words!). New character Madame Lefoux is also along for the ride, a French female inventor who shocks the fashion scene by dressing as a male whilst opening a fashionable hat shop.
Madame Lefoux is an interesting new character, full of mystery and intrigue, which leaves the reader never entirely sure of how trustworthy she is. However, the inclusion of Alexia’s sister, Felicity, seemed a little pointless, as she added nothing useful to the plot other than to create tension with Ivy. This tension was part of the book’s subplot, whereby the newly engaged Ivy tries to fight her love for Tunstell who is clearly enamored with her. However, this subplot wasn’t as entertaining as it was intended to be, with the resolution being obvious from the beginning.
I also found myself starting to dislike the relationship between Alexia and Conall, as they now refer to each other as ‘husband’ and ‘wife’ when talking to each other, and I didn’t like this way of interacting as it somehow seems derogatory. Ivy’s hats, intended as a source of comedy in the novel (each one is more ridiculous than the last) are starting to grow tiresome now, as I’ve reached the stage where I don’t want to read any more ridiculous hat descriptions. I was also disappointed that the vampire, Lord Akeldama, didn’t have a larger role in the novel, as he is one of my favourite characters in the series and merely played his role from afar. With regards to the ending, part of it felt predictable, although there was a revelation at the end that was totally shocking and unexpected.
Overall, this second book in the series was still enjoyable to read, and I still love the Victorian style of the narrative, with the lengthy old-fashioned words and third person style. Alexia is still a fascinating main character, and after the last few pages of the book, I’m excited to see where the series will go next!
I didn’t enjoy this book as much I enjoyed Soulless, but I still felt that it was a great addition to the series. Alexia’s preternatural state was explored a bit more and new mysteries were raised that make me want to read the next book in the series! The ending revelation of the novel also implies that there could be trouble ahead in Alexia and Conall’s marriage…
BOOKS IN SERIES ORDER
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