Saturday, January 17, 2015

"Changeless (Parasol Protectorate #2)" by Gail Carriger

This review features a book that is the second in the Parasol Protectorate series, and has (inevitable) spoilers for those who have not read Soulless. My review of the first book can be found here.

Today I had planned on reviewing a non-series book, but it appears this month will be mostly series books as most of my backlog of read books are from a series. The Parasol Protectorate sucked me into its web of steampunkery, and I've only glanced at a couple other books since.

The Plot (As Seen on Goodreads):
'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.'

In this book, we are treated to glimpses of Alexia's relationships with people other than her now-husband, Conall Maccon, due to his early disappearance in the book. Ivy (or as I refer to her- the female Mad Hatter) continues to shine as her eccentric best-friend-in-chief, despite their discrepancies in societal standing. There is also a new addition to the motley crew- Madame Lefoux, a woman who dresses every inch the gentleman, in spite of being obviously female. Lefoux also has a way with gadgetry, leading to a new addition in Alexia's outfits.

Did I mention I have an unfair bias to this series due to its parasols? In addition to collecting music boxes, handheld fans, and vintage clothing, I also have a taste for parasols of oriental flair:

So yes, I do have an undue bias to this series and its seriously amazing parasols. If only mine had secret buttons that emitted weaponry...

I must take a moment to discuss the ending, because I was a bit shocked and disappointed by it, despite having the next book on hand (I can barely imagine reading this series if the third book hadn't been published...). It brought out an unpleasant side to one of our motley band, and all I could think was Would x person really act that way?. Despite reading the next two books after it, I'm convinced that one of our characters was out of character simply to provide a dramatic ending. For that reason, despite this book's exceeding excellence, I marked it down to a 3.5 star rating.

Changeless is definitely a change in tone for the Parasol Protectorate series. Although Alexia had troubles previously, I had hoped this book would have a happier ending now that she was independent from her Cinderella-esque family members. If you've read Soulless, expect a different feel to this book of the Parasol Protectorate.

Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars for a great sequel with a shocker of an ending.

Content: Ages 18+ for extreme dirigible stunts, werewolf nudity, and an out of character character.

Page Count: 388 pages

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