Friday 16 April 2010

CBR2 Book 44: "Changeless" by Gail Carriger

Publisher: Orbit
Page count: 388 pages
Rating: 3 stars
Date begun: April 12th, 2010
Date finished: April 15th, 2010

Alexia Tarabotti is now Lady Maccon, and a preternatural advisor to Queen Victoria herself. She finds being married rather pleasant, but is agitated when she one afternoon finds most of her husband's werewolf pack camped out on her front lawn, without him alerting her to the fact that they were even returning from abroad. There is some sort of weapon that affects all supernaturals, turning both werewolves and vampires human again, and the Queen wants her to investigate it. Then her husband goes off to Scotland to sort out business in his old pack, leaving her to deal with her silly, newly-affianced friend (who despite being engaged to another, pines for Lord Maccon's valet), her demanding half-sister Felicity (dumped unceremoniously on her front steps by her mother), and mysterious French hatmaker/inventor who scandalously wears men's clothing.
I was delighted by Soulless, the first novel in the series, and had been eagerly anticipated the sequel. I love the covers, and the mix between romance, paranormal, and Steampunk in the narrative worked very well. I am sad to say that while Changeless was not bad, it was weaker than the first, in part I think, because Alexia and Connall spent so much time apart. Carriger's writing truly sparkles when they share a scene, and they have a very enjoyable banter that was missing for a lot of this book. There is a lot more technology in this one, Alexia goes travelling by dirigible with her rather sizeable entourage, and there are still people who want her dead.
More is revealed about her husband and why he left his original pack in Scotland to become Alpha in England instead. There is the mystery of what is causing the supernaturals to turn human, like Alexia's powers but on a much larger scale. Alexia finds out more about her dead father, there is spying afoot. She makes a new friend in the hatmaker/inventor, Madame Genevieve Lafoux, who is clearly more than she first seems.

The books ends on a cliffhanger, after a surprising, thought to be impossible occurrence makes Connall cast off his wife in disgust. Alexia has to leave Scotland in a hurry and I'm assuming that Blameless, the third novel in the series (out in September) will be all about explaining how the believed to be impossible was actually possible, clearing Alexia's honour and reuniting her with her husband.

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