Title: Changeless (Parasol Protectorate 2)
Author: Gail Carriger
Publication Date: 2010
Alexia Maccon, now the Lady Woolsey, finds adjusting to married life a bit more challenging than a normal newlywed. In addition to the usual cohabiting issues (and the fact that her husband is a werewolf), Alexia has also taken on the role of muhjah, the preternatural member of Queen Victoria’s Shadow Council. Along with a werewolf and vampire representative, Alexia advises the Queen on concerns and happenings in the supernatural community. Supernaturals’ innate mistrust of “curse-breakers,” as Alexia’s kind is referred to, is heightened when a mysterious outbreak of normalcy affects part of London’s supernatural communities. Werewolves and vampires who have lived thousands of years are understandably alarmed and frightened by their inability to turn from a human state into their supernatural identity. Fear of disease, injury, and old age that are common among humans create a near panic among the supernatural community.
Alexia is NOT to blame for this epidemic but is determined to find its cause. If this weren’t enough, Alexia’s husband has run off to Scotland to deal with this own problems. As a former member of the Kingair pack, he feels it is his responsibility to deal with the Alpha-less group. His secret departure and Alexia’s investigations into the supernaturals lead her to Scotland. With her trusty parasol, she is accompanied by her maid Angelique and inventor Madame Lefoux. Unfortunately, nothing is ever simple for Alexia. Her best friend, Ivy Hisselpenny, has just announced her engagement but seems to have fallen for someone else, and Alexia’s mother has dropped off her sister Felicity to stay with Alexia for a while; so they also join in the adventure.
With an adventurous trip on a dirigible, a temperamental aethographic transmitter, and way too many extended family members, Alexia must find her wayward husband and bring order back to the supernatural community.
As I enjoyed the first book Soulless, I was looking forward to Changeless and it did not disappoint. I enjoyed the humor of dealing with extended family members and generational dynamics. The story develops the relationship between Lord and Lady Maccon but some of the secondary characters play a more predominant role. Carriger does a nice job at bringing in new characters while still maintaining the depth of the original cast. This book does contain more of the steampunk elements, especially with regards to communication. While I don’t feel that it detracted from the story but it was definitely more noticeable than in the first book. I feel connected enough to the characters to keep up with the next in the series.
Who might like this book:
If you enjoyed Soulless, I recommend continuing with the series. A word of warning that the book ends with a bit of a cliff-hanger; book 3 – Blameless – is waiting on my nightstand!