Alexia Maccon, 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. So 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.
CHANGELESS is the second book of the Parasol Protectorate series: a comedy of manners set in Victorian London, full of werewolves, vampires, dirigibles, and tea-drinking.
Gail Carriger writes comedies of manners mixed with paranormal romance (and the sexy San Andreas Shifter series as G L Carriger). Her books include the Parasol Protectorate and the Finishing School series. She is published in many languages and has over a dozen NYT bestsellers. She was once an archaeologist and is fond of shoes, octopuses, and tea. Join the Chirrup for sneak peaks of upcoming giggles: http://gailcarriger.com/chirrup
Ahhhhhhhh...this was just what I needed. After suffering a cerebral edema brought on by “big idea” overload from reading Macrolife: A Mobile Utopia(review to come), this breezy, charming comfort read was the perfect curative to alleviate the swelling in my brain pan.
While tagged as a constituent of the paranormal romance genre (one of the few that holds little interest for me), I think this series (through the first two at least) is more aptly described as an Austenesque comedy of manners...with gentlemen monsters and shadings of steampunk. Therein lies part of the reason why I enjoy this series so darn much, it allows me to exercise my love of all things Austen in a setting that appeals to the speculative fiction fanboy in me.
Plus...it's just really good.
Set in an alternative London, where Queen Victoria reigns by virtue of the support of vampire hives and werewolf clans, who, collectively, make up the aristocracy of England. The political and financial power of the fang-bangers and the mutt-faces are held in check largely by: (1) their own deep-seated animosity towards one another and (2) the existence of slick steampunk technology developed by both the government and quasi-secret shadow societies whose raison d'etre is protecting humanity from the immense power of the supernaturals.
Gail Carriger deserves large chunks of kudos for developing a world that holds together and makes sense in the context of her story. The numerous checks and balances on the power of the much stronger, immortal supernaturals easily passes the smell test and satisfies the prerequisites for allowing the necessary suspension of disbelief. More varieties of kudos for Gail below, but I wanted to bestow credit for this, as it's an area where too many stories like this fall flat.
Our main character, Alexia Tarabotti, is a preternatural (aka a “soulless”), an extremely rare species of "more than human," whose lack of a soul causes her to negate any supernatural force with which she comes in physical contact. Thus, when touched by Alexia, both vampires and werewolves (who both have an excess amount of soul) will become completely human and subject to all the dangers of mortality. This tends to complicate things for her as she married the "alpha" of the most powerful werewolf clan in London at the end of the previous book.
Now, as Lady Maccon, preternatural problem solver and advisor to Queen Victoria, Alexia is, put simply, the WOMAN.
A strange plague is loose in London that is causing all of the supernaturals to become, well, natural. The condition appears to be identical to the effect that soulless have on the supernatural, except that it is affecting a large geographical area and no physical contact appears necessary. Without the furries and fang-faces, the government could not maintain power, and so Alexia is charged by Queen Victoria to solve the mystery.
That's enough to give you the big picture, but there is quite a bit more going on.
The story is good, the world building is entertaining and consistent, and the inclusion of elements of steampunkery is a treat, especially Alexia's "James Bond" parasol, whose multi-purpose specifications would make Oswald Cobblepot green with envy.
But, as good as those garnishes are, the two ingredients that make this series a real pleasure for me are Alexia Tarabotti's character and Gail Carriger's prose. Alexia is a woman who’d be right at home in a Jane Austen novel. She's intelligent, self-assured, eminently capable and has a tongue/wit combo that can shred an ego at 50 paces. She owns the scene when she’s present and makes my cockles warm and steamy. Plus, she passes all of my “dad” tests for a great female character so I plan to introduce her to my older princess as well.
And Gail Carriger's prose is a delight. While no one can match the lashing, snarky hilariousness of Ms. Austen, Carriger provides a wonderful dose of Austeneque atmosphere and dialogue that kept me engaged throughout. From delicious words like folderol, balderdash and coxcomb, to stylish, snappy banter emanating from above corsets and below top hats. Carrier creates a cozy mood infected with clever that kept me smiling pretty consistently.
All told, it was a wonderful rollick that kept me entertained. This is the only series of its type that I currently follow (which says something of its appeal) and I intend to continue on to the next adventure of the parasol protectorate.
FYI, intrepid readers: Do NOT read the blurbage/description for Blameless (book 3 of the series) until after you have read Changeless. It contains a major spoiler.
I am in a state. Changeless has a twist of an ending that I could not possibly have considered, and it has left me bereft and confused and so distraught that I’m not sure how Miss Carriger will fix the situation. I just…ugh! I’m wide-eyed and slack-jawed with shock and still shaking my head and I think I will continue doing so until we get the next book in September. September! Again, I say ugh!
It’s simply too much to bear.
The rest of the book…as if I can concentrate on the rest? Sigh. Well, we rejoin Alexia, Conall and co. three months after the wedding. Alexia is settling in nicely to her roles as wife and "high-powered political daffodil." She has a series of crises to handle, beginning with a military regiment camping on her lawn and continuing with a wayward sister left in her care. Her husband toddles off one night without a word, while at the same time a strange affliction strikes the supernatural segment of London. Husband and blight both lead Alexia to Scotland.
In Changeless, Carriger brings the steampunk elements to the fore. No longer are these details mere pretty frills on the peripheral. This time around we’ve got glassicals galore, dart guns, transmitting devices, air-travel by dirigible, and a very unusual inventor who may be a spy but is certainly a snappy dresser. I enjoyed most of these gadgets and appreciate the detail with which they’re described. (But moreso I appreciate the pirouette Lord Akeldama employs to express his glee over a new acquisition.)
As proven in Soulless, Carriger is a dab hand at comedy of manners, though I don’t think quite as many laughs littered this installment. There are plenty of moments to make the eyes twinkle, but I began to find Ivy tiresome and dearly wished someone would knock the girl unconscious for some of the proceedings. Felicity, Alexia’s half-sister, is along for the ride and she too needed some boshing about the head for her constant biting remarks--I was at a bit of a loss for the purpose she served, but I have faith that Carriger has a Big Plan at work.
Possibly the best aspect of Changeless is an unexpected partnership between two of my favorite characters. I shan’t go into details, but let’s just say that together they are formidable and I think they’ll play a much larger role in the events to come. I shudder in delight at the possibilities.
But the ending overshadowed all. It’s such a shock to the system that everything preceding it fades into the background. I’m flabbergasted. It‘s whimper-inspiring.
Excuse me. I’ll be over here wringing my hands until September.
After loving the first book, I think my hopes were too high for this one. 😬 I should know better. It’s extremely rare for the sequel to be as great as the prequel. Anyhow, this was still a good read. 😉 I don’t want to give anything away. It just kinda lost some of the magic for me. Plus, I hated the ending. 😡 I will of course have to keep reading, as it ended on somewhat of a cliffhanger and I need to know what happens next. 🤔
I really can't believe how disappointing I found this book. I thought the first book, Soulless, was so fun and fresh! I'm quite amazed that this one tanked so spectacularly for me.
A lot of the things that drew me into the first book were missing here. I was actually pretty bored throughout most of it. It felt incredibly tedious and drawn out. Now, the voice is still the same - which is a huge plus for me. Alexia is a fabulous narrator and I find her thought process and commentary hysterical! But the book cannot hinge on her alone. That's really where this book failed - the side characters.
In the first book we got a lot of page time with characters that really made the book for me. Professor Lyall, Lord Akeldama, Ivy, and Lord Maccon. Ivy was seen in this book, but I'll get into that shortly... All these characters combined to make some really fabulous interaction. The dialogue and banter popped and the situations they found themselves in were so entertaining! The strength of the book didn't rest on Alexia alone. It was the whole cast that truly made it enjoyable.
We also got to get some really fun scenes from Lord Maccon and Professor Lyall. In this one we had one tiny scene from Conall's pov, and while we did get a couple from Professor Lyall's view he wasn't really contributing to Alexia's storyline. I just found it disappointing. Lord Maccon was a huge character in the last book. What happened?
I also felt that the first book was a romance. The relationship and the development of their interactions together were given a good chunk of attention. In this one Lord Maccon gets very little page time and actually only shows up for about 1/3 of the book. So it definitely didn't fall into the romance category for me. Their relationship is a big reason why I enjoyed the first so much. I was so looking forward to having even more page time with them together because of they got married. I never expected even less interaction!
So, on to the specifics of what irritated the crap out of me:
Why did Conall dodge out of every single conversation or scene with Alexia in the beginning? I was really starting to get angry. He would take off willy-nilly and Alexia wasn't even angry! She's his wife! They're supposed to be partners! I just can't believe that's what their relationship turned into! We only saw him when he had sex with her or flirted. Any conversation that involved actual information sharing or conversation was skipped. I was pissed!
I was also extremely irritated that everything could have been solved much earlier in the book if Conall had been more open with Alexia about the information he had learned in all the years he had been alive. He doesn't have to talk about everything he's ever encountered, but maybe it would have been nice to share information specific to her. It's not like she can go up to someone on the corner and ask about them! The Soulless are kind of rare. I just felt it was pretty thoughtless that he never even considered it.
Also, what happened to Ivy? She was funny and a bit ditzy in the first book, but she turned outright stupid in this book. It really casts Alexia in a bad light to be best friends with someone that dumb. She wasn't just a little dumb either. She was like I-just-got-ran-over-by-a-car-because-I-wanted-to-see-if-it-would-hurt dumb. She seemed completely different from her character in the first book. Maybe it would have been easier to ignore if she hadn't had such a huge part in the book. But she was everywhere. *shudder*
I liked getting to meet Madame Lefoux. I had fun trying to figure out what was going on with her sexuality. It seemed blatant, but then I kept getting stray comments throwing me off the trail and making me think that something else entirely was going on. Alas my original supposition was correct. I don't know whether I'm disappointed or not... ;)
The plot point involving Alexia felt a bit like I was being beaten over the head with "clues." The first time I saw a comment about it I knew what was going on. I didn't need it shoved in my face constantly. The same goes for the identity of the villain.
Once we found out some new information about Alexia's interaction with her father, I really had the uncomfortable feeling I knew where that storyline was going. Thankfully it didn't, but I'm not positive it won't come up in the next book.
I really didn't suspect what would cause the cliffhanger that I've heard so much about, but I was pretty angry. It didn't whet my appetite for the third book though. It actually just made me disgusted with the whole experience. If I hadn't bought the third book in advance that would have been the end of my association with this series. Now I just have to decide if I'll get my money's worth and read the book or if I'll pass it on without even trying it.
That end...how can the author bring up that jacked up situation and have it all go to hell only FOUR PAGES from the end. It made me really pissed off at the author. It felt like blatant manipulation. I do NOT enjoy being jerked around to ensure I'll buy the next book. I really wish I hadn't bought that third book...
Even if the author "fixes" the situation in the next book, I'm never going to feel the same about it. I'll always have doubt and a faint disgust for it. I wish I would have quit at book one so I could have been left with that warm happy feeling with no taint.
Another fun frolic through Victorian England with werewolves, vampires and ghosts galore. This is proving to be a very entertaining series.
Our preternatural main character, Alexia, travels to Scotland in a dirigible (and nearly falls out of it), disposes of a mummy and exorcises her first ghost. A surprise at the end, with an unexpected reaction from Conall ensures that I will have to read book 3 very soon!
sure, i like candy. what's not to like? it's a sweet, brightly-hued thing to eat. but candy is not guilt-free. it is not substantial. it's not even the best dessert item out there. now chocolate, that's a dessert. chocolate can be sexy, right? when it's hot, chocolatey things get messy. on the other hand, candy is not really very sexy. it's cute - but it's too instantly disposable to be sexy. candy is for kids. now ice cream - that's a great dessert. i can spend some time with it. it is a more nuanced flavor. it's creamy and delicious and goes down smooth. candy is sadly insubstantial when compared to ice cream - there is literally nothing that is good for you that goes into the making of it. it's a superficial pleasure. and often a badly-made one, a luxury that is not that luxurious and seems somehow rather cheap. i do hate when i get shards of candy in my teeth - but it also melts away inoffensively. candy is not the worst thing in the world: a quick, sugary, forgettable pleasure. sometimes it can be quite delightful. but i certainly can't give candy more than 2 stars!
I’ve been betrayed by this series. I finished this book last night and actually put off writing my review overnight, but I am still so enraged at the events of the ending. This is made more annoying by how fun the book was up to that point. Changeless was another 3.5 star read up until that ending, which made me drop it to a singular star. Fucking plotberg off the port bow. That ending is NOT okay. But more on that later. Changeless is a hilarious novel up to the point it becomes fucking rage-inducing.
Before I descend into the ranting portion of this evening, I’ll talk about the good things. Alexia continues to be her fabulous self, sassy and parasol-wielding. Even better, there’s the addition of Madame LeFoux, a crossdressing French woman. Oh, also, minor but obvious spoiler, lesbians! I am so thrilled to find lesbians in here, because any sort of diversity is depressingly rare in steampunk novels (or really most any kind of novels). Changeless is hilarious and full of the sort of hijinks that made the first novel so hilarious.
Actually, speaking of obvious things, pretty much all of the twists were so obvious. I saw the lesbian twist coming. I knew what was causing people to lose their supernatural abilities long before Alexia did. The final twist I saw coming as well, though I was NOT prepared for the response to it, which GRRR. More on that in the spoiler tagging below, because holy shit this is not a rant I can do without spoilers. Right, so basically everything was really telegraphed, but hey I wasn’t reading it for its twistiness, so okay whatever.
Then there’s Ivy, who I thought was kind of amusing in Soulless, and whose romance I was looking forward to. Umm, that was wrong, past self. I now know that Ivy is the WORST. She was okay in small doses, but she’s in Changeless rather a lot, and she is awful. The romantic shenanigans she gets into are not cute and I cannot stand this woman. Honestly, I really don’t get how Alexia is friends with her, considering that she’s, if anything, dumber than Alexia’s sisters, albeit not quite so mean-spirited, though every bit as self-involved.
Alright, now into the spoiler tags I go to talk about the huge fucking asshole of a plotberg:
For those who didn’t read the spoiler, a THING happens, and that thing means that, unless Carriger is a miracle worker, I can’t ship the main couple any longer. I WILL be reading the rest of the series, because it’s fucking addictive, but I am NOT happy, and it’s highly possible that I’ll be trading at least Soulless back in on Audible, because I can’t say that I enjoyed this one.
Oh, also, this audiobook did that annoying thing where they changed a pronunciation from book one to two. Lord Akeldama’s name was pronounced like Ah-keel-duh-ma, but now Gray is saying Ackle-dom-ah. EXCUSE ME. YOU MAY HAVE ONE PRONUNCIATION ONLY. This is shitty audiobook production, and I am grumpy.
Based on the first two books in the series, I definitely advise stopping with Soulless, because it’s got a satisfactory non cliffhangery ending, and this book is infuriating. However, now that I’m here, I’m going to continue through the series, because it’s addictive even if I’m pissed, so I’ll report back on that.
Not as good as the first one, but still pretty great. I'm loving the way she's building the world out through new characters and concepts. I'm super mad at a certain character right now, though.
It was inevitable that I wasn't going to like this one as much as the first, because I just have this thing about reading initial romances. It was enjoyable reading about Alexia and Lord Maccon's married relationship here, but it wasn't as purely *fun* as their courtship in book one. Also, the rest of the book was full of other stuff that fleshed out the world, intriguing new secondary characters, and a fun mystery, so I really don't have anything to complain about*.
*Well, perhaps the ending. But not here. That's for later. Scroll down. I probably go on about it quite a bit. Would also like to take a moment to note that this is the second time I've had to write this review. I stupidly wrote the original in my browser over at Goodreads, and of course it crashed before I could save it. That review was definitely better than this one, as these things go.
The inciting incident in Changeless is Queen Victoria calling the troops home from India (in this world, the fighting is mostly done by werewolves and the politics by vampires, which I think is a clever touch). And with them comes a plague of humanity -- quite literally. One night, a huge swathe of London is struck by some sort of phenomenon rendering all the supernaturals mortal again (and exorcising all ghosts, permanently). Alexia and her werewolf husband are both caught up in the mystery, as it falls within Alexia's purview as the muhjah on Queen Victoria's Shadow Council, and Lord Maccon because whatever's going on seems to involve his old pack back in Scotland.
I really liked the way Carriger is opening up Alexia's world. I liked seeing more about ghosts and werewolves, loved following her to Scotland to meet Lord Maccon's family. I also liked that we got to spend more time with secondary characters like Ivy and Tunstell, and new characters like Madame Lefoux, who shakes up Alexia quite nicely and in intriguing ways.
Lastly, I gather that the ending doesn't work for a lot of people. In fact, I gather they hate it, but I didn't. But it didn't exactly sit right with me, either. I think it makes sense if you stretch really hard on Lord Maccon's motives and backstory (gotta love a good fanwank), but how difficult would it have been to actually provide him with a motive within the text? I'm sure we'll get one in the next book, but the last three pages of this book would have hit so much harder, and without a sense of lingering betrayal on the part of the reader, if she'd set it up better. As it is, his actions feel like character assassination. The Lord Maccon we know would never, etc, etc. I don't believe he would never, but we haven't been presented with any evidence previously to this that he could ever act like this, so. Nearly the same thing practically speaking. Anyway, it's not a deal breaker for me, and I actually sort of liked the melancholy feel of the ending.
Also, who are we kidding? There's no way things won't eventually work out for the best. This isn't that kind of series.
Dare I say, better than the first? I do have to give fair warning that the end will make you wish it was September already and you had Blameless in your hands. But, can you really consider that a bad thing? I also have to confess that I actually woke up in the middle of the night and my first thought was of Alexia; poor poor Alexia. The ending is heartwrenching to say the least, it just made me so sad and I can't imagine how things are going to work out. But they have to work out, right? Right?!?
I honestly don't think I can write a review that does this book justice. And I also find it hard to write about the plot without giving something away, so many things are intertwined that I'd worry I'd spoil something. I do have to say that I figured things out a bit sooner than Alexia, but this was well into the story so it's not like it was overly annoying knowing what was going on before she did.
We get to meet some new characters while some old ones stick around past their welcome. I have to say that I'm not that big of fan of Ivy Hisselpenny anymore, she's just not rooted in reality enough for me to be able to handle her in such large doses. And Alexia's sister, Felicity, deserves to be backhanded for her mouth. She has no redeeming qualities and I don't understand how or why Alexia puts up with her. One of the new characters, Madame Lefoux, is a lot of fun. You constantly wonder who's side she's on and what exactly her motive is, without her being antagonistic toward Alexia.
One thing that might confuse readers is actually one of the draws of this series - the steampunkiness. The contraptions and machines described are imagined in great detail, but it's almost as if the book would benefit from some schematics and blueprints in the back. I want to see what this stuff looks like! She does a well enough job of describing things though, it's not as if you're completely left in the dark. I think an art book for this series would be a fantastic idea. With all the different fashions and gadgets and things it'd be so cool to have art to go with it.
The story was fantastic, I love the world and the characters, and I honestly can't wait for the next book. I actually think I'm going to start foaming at the mouth waiting for Blameless!
And for the love of all that's holy, DO NOT READ the synopsis or any blurbs for Blameless if you haven't read Changeless yet! Don't spoil yourself!!!
-Ahonda en las notables carencias y ciertas virtudes.-
Género. Narrativa fantástica.
Lo que nos cuenta. El libro Sin cambios (publicación original: Changeless, 2010) nos muestra como un extraño e inexplicable fenómeno está afectando a las criaturas sobrenaturales de Gran Bretaña. Alexia Maccon, recién casada con un influyente hombre lobo, colaborará en la investigación del suceso tanto por su relación familiar como por su labor al servicio del gobierno de la reina Victoria y del Imperio Británico. Segundo libro de la serie El protectorado de la sombrilla.
¿Quiere saber más de este libro, sin spoilers? Visite:
I’ve just finished a book where I didn’t want to read too fast, but couldn’t stop myself even if I wanted to. There are not many books I can think of that have engaged all my senses, where I’m wrapped up in the story and overall love and hard work put into the words, where I was utterly lost in the world the author has created.
Such a book that has evoking such strong feelings is Gail Carriger’s Changeless, the second book in her Parasol Protectorate featuring Alexia Maccon, The Lady Woolsey. Alexia is a very unique individual who has been born without a soul and with one touch can cause the prenaturals, the accepted werewolves and vampires, to become mortal. Alexia is somewhat of an outcast due to her half Italian heritage as well as the way she presents herself. Alexia is a proper Victorian lady to her very core, but one who doesn’t give a fig about fashion, is very outspoken and finds absolute joy in food.
The former twenty-six year old spinster is the newly married wife of three months to Lord Conall Maccon, the Woolsey Alpha werewolf. When Alexia and Conall first met, they could barely stand to be in the same room with one another. But after coming to a mutual respect, where Alexia saved Conall’s life, defeated a crazed scientist and shared a deep abiding passion where Conall could barely keep his hands and his kisses to himself, they married. The Maccons’ marriage is an interesting one to say the least. Every time Alexia touches Conall, he loses his werewolf abilities and becomes human for as long as Alexia touches him. She can cause him to age if they’re not careful. But Conall loves putting his hands on his new bride, so much so that almost every night and a few times during the day she must, “sacrifice herself on the altar of wifely duty” as she thinks of it. But Alexia doesn’t lie back and think of England. She enjoys those intimacies, perhaps even more so than Conall does.
British society is unaware what Alexia is, as well as her new role as Queen Victoria’s muhjah and a member of The Shadow Council that administers supernatural interaction with the crown. Conall works for the Bureau of Unnatural Registry (BUR) and handles the enforcement end. Alexia is accustomed to her new station in life, but she’s beyond frustrated especially with Conall’s wolf pack camped out on her front lawn, her husband running around at all hours of the night, and dealing with her flighty best friend, the newly engaged Ivy Hisselpenny who doesn’t have any fashion sense, especially with those horrendous hats she wears. If it’s not bad enough she must witness Conall’s valet and chief claviger, Tunstell, making puppy dog eyes at Ivy, and visa-versa, as well as her spoiled unmarried sister, Felicity who will be staying for an extended visit.
Something is afoot in the London, where the supernatural community is being infected by normality and turning into mortals. At first Alexia is blamed, but something more sinister is at play; perhaps a type of weapon created by someone who has much to gain by all of this. When the Alpha werewolf of the Kingair Pack of Scotland is murdered, Conall leaves without warning and travels there to place some type of order. Before Conall left, he had a special type of parasol created for Alexia by Madame Lefoux, a French inventor-cum-milliner who dresses like a man, and is full of winks and dimples. Alexia finds something a bit off with the Madame, especially with the way she looks at and touches her. But after taking her new parasol, Alexia thinks that’s the last time she will see the Madame of the lovely dimples.
Alexia is more than peeved that her husband would leave without a word and decides to join him in Scotland. Alexia is less than thrilled with her entourage that includes her French maid, the snappish Felicity, Ivy, and Tunstell as their male escort. Coincidentally, Madame Lefoux ends up ton the same dirigible Alexia is on. After Alexia is attacked and pushed, almost falling to her death from the dirigible by an unknown assailant, she arrives safely in Scotland and met by her wayward husband. Now she has to deal with Sidheag Maccon, the three time’s great human granddaughter of Conall, a love triangle between Felicity, Tunstell and Ivy, and Egyptian mummies that may be the cause of the humanization of the prenaturals. As you can see, there’s never a dull moment for Alexia!
If you were a fan of Soulless, you will find Changeless just as engaging. This book had me hooked from the first page and didn’t let up. Everything about Changeless is so original and wonderfully slapstick. The true joy in reading is how Alexia handles the various situations thrown her way. The wonderful thing I love about Alexia is how analytical she is and she truly doesn’t care what people think about her. Whether it’s her sister insulting her looks or her figure, or her husband who acts so very annoyed with his darling wife, but really isn’t, Alexia shrugs it all off.
One important thing I noticed underneath all the action and drama is that being an eccentric and an oddball is something to be proud of. This is shown most of all with Alexia, but also with two other female characters. Ivy is absolutely adorable, although she comes across as a loveable twit. The same goes with Madam Lefoux, who is very much a mystery and holds her head high when it comes to her fashion sense and sexuality. (I would love to see Lefoux have her own spin-off)
Alexia brings such life to every page. You can’t help but want to pat her head whenever she has to take control of the dealings with her family members and friends. She is so uncomfortable with the more personal side of things and this is especially shown with her relationship with Conall. These two snipe and insult each other, but you can see the love and devotion they have with each look, smile and touch. And although their passion is somewhat restrained, it was still just enough to get a good sense of how these two have come to care for one another.
There is a big, “oh no she didn’t!” shock that had me gasping out loud. This is the jaw dropping, doozy of an ending no one will see coming. I sure didn’t. Readers will be buzzing in such away where a few will be disgruntled and perhaps annoyed, while others will be dying for the third book to see how things are resolved.
Changeless was everything and more, where I didn’t want it to end. I laughed more times than I could count and wanted to go back and re-read all over again. Just as Alexia worships at the altar of wifely duty, I worship at the altar of Gail Carriger and her amazing storytelling skills.
Fun, in a lacy, girly sort of way. Certainly not anything I'd want to spend too long wearing, but enjoyable enough for a couple of hours. The characters are growing on me, or perhaps gaining depth, and a few of the new ones were fun to meet, especially Mdme. Lefoux. Even Ivy's consistently hideous hats and dramatic malapropisms were worth a chuckle. However, she did get to be a bit over-the-top; I wonder if Carriger is going for the tone of the Victorian spoof(calling Bertie)? Except dear Bertie never focused so much on "bedroom escapades" with the ladies. Thank goodness for "Papa's books" which provide so much extra education for our protagonist. The plot is serviceable, less contrived and silly than the last book, with a mild mystery for our protagonist to solve. Overall, it centers too much on poor communication, especially with her husband. If only they talked to each other--but then, where would the plot be? As we can tell from the (unnecessary) cliffhanger ending, I'm sure it's a device that is going to continue.
What brings me back, since I'm no fan of the Victorian romance (excepting the escapades of poor Bertie)? Alexia's curious ability, overall character growth, curiosity and a well-done steampunk setting.
Remarkably fun! I love good Urban Fantasy and I’m coming to love the Victorian London steampunk type of that genre as well. I had to wonder at the end of the first book where there was for the author to take things--once the happy couple are married, you risk losing the tension in a series. So Carriger does the sensible thing, she devises problems for the happy couple.
What problems, you ask? Well, how about a mysterious loss of supernatural powers for vampires and werewolves? The unexplained movement of this crippling area of magical suppression. Lord Maccon sneaking off to his familial home in Scotland while his regiment lands on Alexia’s front lawn in London. Plus, Ivey Hisselpenny, Alexia’s BFF, has become engaged, but is in love with a most unsuitable man. Alexia, being Soulless, can cope with the werewolves more easily than with unrequited love.
Carriger leaves us with a mysterious ending--I will definitely be reading Blameless to see how she intends (or if she intends) to fix things up!
I think I enjoyed reading this second instalment of the Parasol Protectorate series even more than I did the first one:) I love the world & characters that Carriger has created and her writing is sharp and full of wit. The book is fast-paced and very fun to read. What made it even better for me was that there was less romance-type passages than in 'Soulless' and much more action.
I do think it's better to read the series in order to better comprehend the plot, characters & the world they evolve in. By the way, make sure you have the third book in the series handy before you finish reading this one, as the end of the book will leave you desperate to read 'Blameless'!
Update: I just saw these scores in passing I was young and stupid when I wrote these review and did not give enough value to books that made me happy. I love these books. I’ve read them multiple times. They are not “great literature” but they are awesome. So they are all upgrading to 4 stars I’m sure I did this to other books when I thought I was too smart for my own good.
these books are bad, no really they are terrible.
so you ask why did I read the second? why am I currently reading the third? why did I just download the audio for the 4th?
first, I didn't read them I listened to them...
second, they are kind of like watching a train wreck...
third, I am morbidly fascinated by the fact that I can't for the life of me figure out if they are suppose to be scifi novels or romance novels. there is not nearly enough sex for a romance novel, and what there is is not at all graphic, but there is not nearly enough depth for a scifi novel. they read a bit like a very very bad teen paranormal romance book.
also I swear there is some serious c/p issues entire passages seem to be repeated almost(if not exactly) verbatim from one book to the next... just cut out the filler and have a shorter book. also why are they married for 2 books if they hate each other... also why are they racist... also why am I still reading them... also why are there lesbian undertones... wth... I guess we'll find out.
Enjoyed this one. Hilarious and very witty. Love Conall and Alexia together, arguing but not really arguing, just playful back and forth, interspersed with passion. These two are definitely newlyweds! A nibble here and bite there...
And then 90% happened. :( It will be interesting to see how it all plays out in the next book.
As far as the audio, it was perfection! Emily Gray is fantastic!
“Alexia, I do not mean to be at all rude. But I really do believe your sister may be an actual nincompoop.”
Alexia Tarabotti is back as Lady Maccon! Just as all the supernatural regiments return to town, so does some kind of supernatural phenomena. All the ghosts have been exorcised, and both werewolves and vampires are completely and utterly human, at least with the London radius. Alexia is out in charge of the investigation by Queen Victoria herself, and it takes her to Scotland!
Ahh! Can I start by saying, this is completely and utterly different from the first book, and leads on to the third - which has really frustrated me because I wasn’t planning on reading the next one straight away! It made me gasp and cry…!
Carriger introduces some new characters in this book, and builds on smaller characters from the previous book. I inhaled this book, and it was really attention capturing- but golly gosh, that final chapter really threw me! Like woah! Again, Carriger has managed to write a book about all my favourite literary topics at once and pulled it off incredibly! It was really easy to follow, even with the swap of perspectives!
I’m really looking forward to book three - but it must wait a while!
Cover:Still Cute Rating: R Thumbs Up: 4.5 Overall: What an ending? I mean I knew part of it, but I’d have never guessed. Characters: Well done Plot: A mystery and a journey with two companions that made it more interesting. Page Turner: Yes Series Cont.?ABSOLUTELY Recommend: Yes Book Boyfriend: Tunstell
SUMMARY (50 words or less)
I was concerned after reading some reviews, but I enjoyed this one. The plot moved so that even though Lord Maccon wasn’t there as much as some wish, I didn’t find that I missed him all that much. So much was going on it was hard to miss him.
To see my full review and likeness of my book boyfriend, check out my blog post.
Continuing on with this series has been a good time. A unique urban fantasy steampunk with a suspenseful twist is a fun mash-up not to be missed. The heroine is a tartar and keeps everyone on their toes
Changeless is book two in the Parasol Protectorate series. These are an ongoing cast of characters with some ongoing plot threads even if new conflicts come with each book so they are best read in order.
In this installment, Alexia and Conall have been enjoying a bit of peace getting used to marriage and getting over the events from last book. He is working his supernatural agency policing and Alexia is now a secret government minister for Queen Victoria on the Shadow Council. But then events happen and they are pulled two separate direction while on the same mission.
I enjoyed this sequel more than the first if possible because I already was familiar with the urban fantasy- steampunk world the characters inhabit. Alexia is still her confident, capable, abrasive self that only her husband and a few friends see value in. Her biting wit is a weapon in its own right, but she now also has a fancy new parasol weapon her husband ordered for her. She is thought a danger to other supernaturals, but not weak. I loved seeing her in action and on a mission with a few new characters, but Lord Akeldama the flamboyant vampire is still there and livens every scene he's in. Her whiny, vindictive family is also still there to throw a spanner in the works.
I enjoyed following along on her cases and all the action and suspense both figuring out what is affecting all the British supernaturals and where her husband disappeared to. Her best friend, Ivy could get on my nerves a bit because she gets flaky, but she is harmless and funny, too.
Things ended on an ominous note with Alexia personally and I can't wait to see what comes of that. I have hope that what was broken will be fixed with time, but the next installment will definitely test Alexia's fortitude in ways a good mission adventure can't. I have a feeling this series will just become more addicting as I go. The steampunk is more present in this one, but so does the urban fantasy world so I can heartily recommend it to those who enjoy books in both camps.
The Good Charm and wit abound, as usual. Ms. Carriger’s storytelling style is great. I adore Alexia, and her relationship with Conall grows ….and grows complicated (more on that later). I love all the characters, including the introduction of Madame Lefoux and the Kingair clan. The story kept me riveted. So much so that I kept telling myself “just one more chapter.” There’s intrigue afoot and while parts of the mystery are pretty obvious, there are some good twists to be had. I was coasting right along, enjoying my read. And then...
The Bad and Everything in Between
Holy frijoles that damn ending!! Even when I knew the direction of that final conflict, the reaction threw me for a loop. Now y’all know I hate cliffhangers with the heat of a thousand suns. And yet ...sigh. I love these characters enough that I want and need to know what happens next. Speaking of loving, I am missing Lord Akeldama the most. So, that ending was bad and good because it was a genuine surprise and I had to start the next book immediately.
Yes, I’m running on fumes because sleep is sacrificed on the altar of reading, but I don’t regret it.
I loved it even with that damn ending. Still enjoying myself and I would recommend this. Onto the next book because I must know what happens.
I had an interesting conversation with my husband last week and I told him about this genre of writing called Steampunk. He scratched his head and I explained that there were all sorts of mechanical gadgets, usually powered by steam, usually set in Victorian England, and that there are now a lot of novels that are set in the world of Steampunk. The other day he told me that he saw a reference to Steampunk in a Tech Republic newsletter and he was so proud that he knew what it was.
Changeless fits under the Steampunk genre. But it could also fit under humor, Victorian novels, novels with bad hats, and novels with cool inventions. This is a world with glassicals, dirigibles, pimped up parasols, aethographic transmitters, and other really cool gadgets. One of my few criticisms of this series is that there are no pictures or schematics of these amazing inventions.
It is also a world with proper Victorian English manners. The women wear corsets and long dresses, frilly hats, and gloves. They are prim and proper. They carry parasols. Alexia Tarabotti, now the Lady Woolsey carries a pimped up parasol that doubles as a weapon. I love Alexia’s character. She never seemed to care about the latest fashions or the silly hats – but a new invention – that got her excited.
In this installment of the Parasol Protectorate series, something is causing the preternatural creatures to change into mortals. Alexia follows the trail (and her husband) to Scotland to solve the mystery. Alexia is accompanied by Mr. Tunstell, her snarky half-sister Felicity, and her best friend Ivy. I am not sure why Alexia’s sister is in this book, if not just to goad Ivy and drive Alexia crazy. Ivy continues to be her usual clueless self.
Some new characters are introduced, notably Madame Lefoux, an inventor who likes to dress like a man. Madame Lefoux’s character is both mysterious and refreshing. Lord Akeldama and Professor Lyall also make appearances as well. And I did like Lord Maccon until the end of the story.
Gail Carriger has a unique writing style. There are interesting observations, understatements, and humorous situations. I found myself giggling and thoroughly enjoying this book. The ending bothered me and I felt like smacking a certain character.
I am so happy that Blameless came out this week. I won’t have to wait to read it.
I'm so upset right now, I just want to cry for Alexia. Because for goodness' sake, the poor woman has no soul! She can't cry for herself!!!
Alright, I'm not going to be all spoilery. I'm just going to say what others have already--there is a cliffhanger with this one, so make sure you've got Blameless on hand before reading it. Also, don't read the Blameless blurb BEFORE reading Changeless. I was given this sage advice by my wonderful Goodreads friends, and it was good advice indeed.
Now--as for Changeless--as the title suggests there's an epidemic of changelessness is going on in the supernatural world. In other words, the supernatural set finds themselves with their souls sucked--and with Alexia nowhere in sight to be the cause!
So, our intrepid soulless investigator sets out to figure out what is happening.
I love love love this series. I love the steampunk Victorian age setting. I love the whole concept of supernaturalism being caused by an excess of soul, and the counter-balance of that being a breed that has a lack of soul. I love Alexia's no nonsense character, and I love the auxillary cast of characters. Although, I must say that I'm finding Ivy a tad annoying. She just always seems to be in the middle of everything, but no good whatsoever.
In Changeless we got a few more interesting characters in the Kingair pack (Lord Maccon's family members and previous pack in Scotland) and Madame Lefoux, the lesbian inventor. Madame Lefoux is just as enjoyable as Lord Akeldama, but without all the italics.
Most of all, I LOVE the jaunty punctilious writing style.
Okay--now I must read Blameless, and dude, someone better be getting their act together or I will be PISSED!
For all the pronunciation differences between this and the Finishing School books, I still enjoyed the audio immensely. Emily Gray did a fantastic job and I'm dying for book three, not in the least thanks to that ending. "What could happen in the final 5-10 minutes?" Ohhhh buddy. I won't be asking that question again when it comes to Gail Carriger's books. Wuff.
I loved the inclusion of Sidheag Maccon and Genevieve Lefoux, two of my Finishing School favorites. The timelines get a bit mixed up in my head to the point where I wonder if I shouldn't have read this series first and then gone back and read the prequel series, considering publication order... but I don't care, I like it this way :)
This steampunk historical fantasy series is so much fun. Madame Lefoux has quickly become a new favorite character. I have to admit that the end just about crushed me. Makes me glad I'm reading book three next!
I must admit I thought book 1 was good but that's about it. On the other hand, book 2 was AMAZING, loved every page of it! It took me a while to get into the book because the topic is so very different from everything else, but once I did I could not put it down.
I'll explain a bit for those who have not read it yet. We have this amazing soulless Italian heroine who is very practical and efficient, then we have her super sexy alpha werewolf of a husband. Both of them make such a great couple, I love every moment they spend together. I'll say I just can't get enough of them. Alexia has a special power, every time she touches a supernatural being they turn human while she keeps touching them. And her power is not common at all. So most people just want her dead. She also has a very hilarious vampire fond of young fellows as her best friend who I love to read about. But the best is the way the author writes, very English. Great sense of humor.
Now here's something you all need to know: CLIFF HANGER ALERT! I usually hate them, but as book 3 is already out this did not turn into a problem IMHO, but only made the series more appealing as I cold do nothing else until I read the beginning of book 3.
I must admit I am a huge fan of this series now and I can't put it down. Can't wait to read next book. Although if next book is not as good or better, I'll probably be extremely disappointed.
Reread in February 2021: Of course I loved this one! The plot was a bit weaker than in book one and the romance isn't the focus anymore, but I loved spending more time with the characters and getting to know about Lord Maccon's backstory and family history. Very interesting indeed. The ending is heartbreakingly sad (and doesn't get an emotionally satisfying resolution in book 3, not by a long shot) but makes for an interesting and well suited plot point under the circumstances. What can I say, Gail Carriger is just a really good writer.
Read for the first time in January 2015:
Dislikes: The exceedingly predictable plot. Ugh. Almost managed to make me annoyed at the characters. Likes: EVERYTHING ELSE. GOODNESS GRACIOUS. WHY DID I WAIT THIS LONG TO PICK UP THIS SERIES. I left book 3 at uni and now have to wait a whole EIGHT HOURS MINIMUM until I can start reading. Anyone who has experienced this book's cliffhanger will know the pain.