From the BLURB:
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.
I am completely in love with Gail Carriger and her ‘Parasol Protectorate - Alexia Tarabotti’ series.
I ate up her first book, ‘Soulless’ – and I have to admit there was a small part of me that wondered if Ms. Carriger could capture lightening in a bottle twice. Well, ‘Changeless’ undoubtedly proves that – yes – she jolly well can!
In this book we learn some very dubious and interesting things about the late Mr. Tarabotti, Alexia’s father. Carriger also reveals some very large tidbits about Lord Conall Maccon and his old Highland werewolf pack.
Alexia continues to impress and my fictional girl-crush grows. She is such an unconventional leading lady for this 18th century London setting – she is a veritable Amazonian warrior in trim-lace, and she’s back to her wonderfully witty self in ‘Changeless’.
Ms. Carriger also introduces a cast of new and wonderful secondary characters. There’s the wonderfully androgynous inventor, Madame Lefoux who is hired by Lord Maccon to create a weapon-parasol for Alexia. Lefoux is a really fantastic character; Alexia and readers are never entirely sure if we can trust her, but we like her nonetheless. She wears men’s clothes – cravats and top hats – and it’s positively delicious to read her not so subtle flirtations with Alexia, which Alexia is completely clueless about.
Then there’s Alexia’s stepsister, Felicity Loontwill, who crashes Aliexia’s investigations and is foisted upon her as a traveling companion. Felicity is deliciously devilish, and lives up to the ‘evil stepsister’ cliché.
One of Lord Maccon’s werewolf military leaders is also introduced – Major Channing Channing of the Chesterfield Channings. If the name sounds pompous, the man himself is even worse. He has only a small role in ‘Changeless’, but it generates the most laughs and I sincerely hope he becomes a series regular.
Of course Lord Connall Maccon, London Alpha, is back and sweetly gruff. He and Alexia are completely smitten and adorable, their scenes are an absolutel delight.
“Oomph,” said his wife. “Not now.”
He nuzzled in at her neck, kissing and licking her softly just below her ear. “Just a moment,” he said. “I need a small reminder that you are here, you are whole and you are mine.”
Vampire toff Lord Akeldama also returns, along with his italic-speak and sweet endearments; “daffodil!”. He is definitely a favorite of mine, along with his ‘delicious’ drone, Biffy. These two enter a scene and hilarity ensues!
The writing itself is an absolute treat; scrumptious and voluptuous. Carriger’s prose reminds me of Oscar Wilde, with a dash of Joseph Heller, Jane Austen, H G Wells and Jules Verne thrown in for good measure. Her writing is an absolute feast. And the best thing is that Carriger’s love of the ‘Steampunk’ sub-genre is unmistakable. It’s clear in her describing a dirigble, ‘glassicals’ and a new invention of a dirigible-attached teapot. She loves this alternate reality and her writing of this modern 18th century is a delight because her love of the genre is infectious.
I am crazy about this series. So far this is the only Steampunk I’ve read, and I do keep meaning to wade deeper into the Steampunk waters… but I’m afraid the bar has been raised to such great heights by Ms. Carriger, that anything else I read in the sub-genre will fail dismally by comparison.
‘Changeless’ is wonderful, of course. But the ending will send fans reeling. Don’t read the blurb for book #3 ‘Blameless’ until you’ve read ‘Changeless’… because there are BIG, HUGE spoilers.
Coming 1 September 2010