Alexia Tarabotti, 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. 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 in the Parasol Protectorate series, and takes a closer look at the werewolves and Lord Maccon’s past. Alexia is a highly entertaining character, and at the beginning of Changeless, is settling into married life, bossing the pack around and generally enjoying the freedom of a married woman.
When mysterious supernatural canceling areas afflict London, and then greater England; Alexia swings into action to investigate, hampered by her fashion-challenged friend Ivy and Alexia’s bitchy half-sister, and aided by her lady’s maid and a French inventor, both of questionable trustworthiness.
Carriger seems to regard Ivy as comic relief, but I find her annoying and barely relevant to the plot. Ivy and Alexia’s friendship was plausible in Soulless but I had assumed it would fade with Alexia’s marriage. Still, I can hope for less Ivy in the next book!
I still find Lord Akeldama and his drones fascinating, I’d love to know what happens when Biffy’s aristocratic father finds out he is a drone.
The background on Alexia’s fathers life was interesting, I wonder if the coincidences have a point to them? I still can’t work out why her mother married someone so unconventional.
Overall, I found Changeless to be fast-paced and highly enjoyable, with wonderful characters and dialogue. Carriger’s writing has improved, with less Americanism’s, and a surer hand with the style.
The setup for the next book occurs in the last few pages and left me bemused at the sudden accusatory nature of one character, but I trust Ms Carriger to explain all in the next book, Blameless, to be released in September this year.
Other books by Gail Carriger that I have reviewed: Soulless