So you can accuse me of being a bit mellow dramatic (and you’d probably be right) but I am in the midst of a book emergency. I’ve read a lot of books, where I really want to know what happens next and am excited to get the next book. (Robin Hobb, GRRM are good examples of these.) But I have not yet to my knowledge had a situation where I simply must have the book as fast as is physically possible. I absolutly must have Gail Carriger’s 3rd book Blameless NOW! Thankfully my bookshop has ordered it and fingers crossed I will have it on Wed, then I just have to find the time to read it, and yes reading this trumps my current to read list, including my Game of Thrones books! C will attest to may lamentations over the fact that I don’t already have said book, I also think he’s rolling his eyes at me every time I say it but dammnit you can’t end a book like that!! Well ok you can, because she did but.. ooooooohhhhhh I suppose I should get on and write my actual review.
(Potential spoilers below for both Soulless and some for Changeless
So I have already reviewed Soulless here, Changeless is the second book in the Parasol Protecterate books. They are set in an alternative Victorian England, which has Vampires, Werewolves and Ghosts. Gail Carriger has taken the usual tropes of the supernatural and made things her own. For example vampires live in Hives, and it is the height or rudeness for them to ever talk with a lisp due to their teeth, and people can only become such supernatural creatures, if they have an excess of soul. The people of Britain are aware that these supernatural creatures exist, I believe it was Henry VIII who made the first steps for them to live in the open, or possibly Elizabeth I, can’t quite remember.
Alexia Tarabotti (or by this point Lady Maccon) is a strong female character who is not afraid to hit either Vampire or Werewolf over the head with her trusty parasol either because they’ve been rude or because they’re threatening her. She says whats on her mind, including brutal honesty, regardless of how people react or whether it might be somewhat inappropriate. (There are a few points where she regrets what she said, but you know by that point you might as well carry on.) She is a fantastic main character, there are times where she can be a little bit annoying (a slightly ‘know-it-all’ attitude), but she is a very nice and intelligent person.
The books are written in a very witty style, that are laugh out loud funny in places. I read a few snippets out to C at times and even he was amused, I doubt I’ll ever get him to read them, not quite his taste in books, but I think at the same time he would be amused by the sillyness that takes place and Alexia’s no nonsense attitude.
Changeless follows Alexia as she investigates a mystery of some weird effect that turns all supernatural creatures human within a certain area (I think it was a 3 mile radius or something). She ends up having to take her best friend Ivy (who wears the most outrageous hats, and takes mellow drama to a whole new level), her half-sister (who is a complete bitch) and a few others with her. All the while she has to try and hide what she is and what she’s investigating to these two (who believe Alexia is perfectly human and just visiting Scotland with her Werewolf husband.)
I have to confess I didn’t find the plot of Changeless quite as gripping as that of Soulless, there are a few attempts on Alexia’s life and I’d kind of figured out who was behind that well before the end of the book (although there are a few that still remain a mystery). It is interesting in that you find out more about Conell (Lord Maccon) and a few other supernatural phenomena. And you get the fun of watching Alexia and Conell bicker at each other, others wonder just why they are married, but as they both point out, if they didn’t love each other why would they put up with it. It’s refreshing and fun. (Especially when you can get a 200 year old Werewolf to blush!)
And then I got to the end, and oh my god, it is not a happy ending. It’s set everything up for the events in book 3, and I’m both excited and terrified by what might happen in that book. I know what I want to happen, and I believe that that is what should happen… but what if it doesn’t? What if?? Oh! I need to know, I need what happened to be sorted, for everything to be all right in Alexia’s world. I may in fact be a little bit heartbroken by the turn of events. Which is obviously the point. It shows what good characters they are and just how good Gail Carriger’s writing is.
So at the end of the day these books are a definite must read!