Changeless is the second volume in the quite appropriately named Parasol Protectorate series. Dirigibles, and octopi, and angry Scottish werewolves. Oh, my.
Despite the first volume, Soulless, having a stronger romantic element than I am usually drawn to in my reading , I thoroughly enjoyed it. Almost despite myself… But who wouldn’t want to whack a vampire over the head with a parasol? Soulless was one of my Top 10 Reads of 2009. You can read my review over here.
Alexia Tarabotti, now Lady Maccon, 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 into the backwaters of ugly waistcoats, Scotland, she is prepared: upending werewolf pack dynamics as only a soulless can.
She might even find time to track down her wayward husband, if she feels like it.
The two things I was most excited to read about in this volume? A dirigible ride! And a new parasol! Batman wishes he had toys like Alexia Tarabotti!
What’s not to love about this book? There’s a murder mystery. Were-less Scottish werewolves. An attempted poisoning. A tumble off the side of a dirigible. More mysterious vampire politics. A shockingly brazen new friend for Alexia – a female milliner who scandalously goes about in trousers!
There I was, reading toward the end of the novel, cheering along with Alexia as she saved the day. Then, out of nowhere*, I got mentally punched in the face by an (obvious in hindsight) move by the author. I literally sat there with my mouth open for quite awhile in outright shock and indignation on Alexia’s behalf.
Unfortunately, I can’t tell you what that amazing right-hook is, because that would be one big fat spoiler. Suffice it to say that I went from thinking “Hm. This is a pretty entertaining read” to “OMG, when does the next one come out? Must Have It NOW.”
*Okay, obviously in hindsight the author left plenty of clues as to what was going to happen. I did pick up on those clues. What I failed to pick up on was the significance, or should I say the repercussions, of those clues. It’s the difference between knowing whodunit by the end of a novel, and knowing that whodunit was the main character’s mom/grandfather/twin sister. And that the main character is going to be just devastated when they find out. That’s a bad analogy, but it’s the best I can come up with at this moment.
In my shock at these surprising repercussions, I might have. Perhaps. Called the author a naughty little minx. Publicly. On Twitter.
I know. I feel terribly. At my house, being called a naughty little minx is the equivalent of being called a “darling little exasperating but delightful creature whom I love very much”. At least, that’s how my husband uses the term. But I’m not sure if our usage is the same as the common usage, and 140 characters is not a lot of room in which to explain. So I’m kind of worried that I might have offended a lovely author whose work I admire.
So Ms. Carriger, if you read this, know that I meant the term fondly and that I love your work. I’ll try to refrain from any more outbursts in the future.
I’m giving this book 5 out of 5 stars because I won’t be able to stop thinking about it until Blameless comes out and I find out what happens next!
[xrr rating=5/5 imageset=default]