Changeless (The Parasol Protectorate) Mass Market Paperback – International Edition, April 1, 2010
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"Carriger debuts brilliantly with a blend of Victorian romance, screwball comedy of manners and alternate history. . . . This intoxicatingly witty parody will appeal to a wide cross-section of romance, fantasy and steampunk fans."—Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) on Soulless
"Carriger has created a wonderfully detailed world that is just one step to the side of our own."—sfrevu.com on Changeless
"The second episode in the 'Parasol Protectorate' should win it even more fans. I'm already hooked."—Locus on Changeless
"The dialogue is as smart and snappy as ever, full of intelligent humor and artful verbal sparring."—All Things Urban Fantasy on Changeless
"Changeless is the equal to Soulless: witty, sexy, graceful, and unpredictable. With a few more novels this delightful, Ms. Carriger will be challenging Laurell K. Hamilton and Charlaine Harris for the top of the New York Times bestseller lists."—Fantasy Magazine on Changeless
About the Author
The Parasol Protectorate books are: Soulless, Changeless, Blameless, Heartless, and Timeless. Soulless won the ALA's Alex Award. A manga adaptation released in Spring 2012 and a young adult series set in the same universe -- the Finishing School series -- launched in Spring 2013. Gail is soon to begin writing a new adult series, The Parasol Protectorate Abroad (2015).
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Charm and wit abound, as usual. Ms. Carriger’s storytelling style is great. I adore Alexia, and the way her relationship with Conall grows ….and grows complicated (more on that later). I love all the characters, including the introduction of Madame Lefoux and the Kingair clan. The story kept me riveted. So much so that I kept telling myself “just one more chapter.” There’s intrigue afoot and while parts of the mystery are pretty obvious, there are some good twists to be had. I was coasting right along, enjoying my read. And then...
The Bad and Everything in Between
Holy frijoles that damn ending!! Even when I knew the direction of that final conflict, the reaction threw me for a loop. Now y’all know I hate cliffhangers with the heat of a thousand suns. And yet ...sigh. I love these characters enough that I want and need to know what happens next. Speaking of loving, I am missing Lord Akeldama the most. So, that ending was bad and good because it was a genuine surprise and I had to start the next book immediately. Yes, I’m running on fumes because sleep is sacrificed on the altar of reading, but I don’t regret it.
The Bottom Line 4.5 stars
I loved it even with that damn ending. Still enjoying myself and I would recommend this. Onto Blameless, because I must know what happens next.
-Book Description: 5
-Simile Use: 4 (minimal usage)
-Description: 3 (at times overwhelming)
-Show And Tell Balance: 3
Changless is the second book in the Parasol Protectorate series and has within its pages humor, mystery, intrigue and a whole lot of supernaturals. I'm not stranger to Ms. Carriger's style, being as I have read the entire Finishing School series and am following up with this series. Granted, it would seem I took to things a bit backward, as this series was written before the latter. That being said is probably the reason I enjoyed this book slightly less than Soulless. At this point, I'm very accustom to the world that is within this series and the Finishing School series and found that some of the description became a bit overwrought and tedious. Carriger is good at description, but I do believe it could have been minimized and kept the novel to a more reasonable length. Further, in Changless, we begin to run into characters from the Finishing School series but the stories don't exactly line up. Several of the characters are far older than they ought to be in comparison, and facts don't align such as Sidheag and Naill becoming alpha. There were several of these points that stuck out to me, and having fully fallen in love with Naill during Finising School, I was slightly devasted to find in this novel he's not present because of his demise. All things considered, Changless is an interesting addition to the Parasol Protectorate series, if not a bit more dry and lengthy than needed. The ending promises that Blameless will pick up speed and continue in a new far more interesting direction.
Since I read Carriger’s companion series, “Finishing School” previously, I was so excited to see cameos of some of those characters in this series as well. Genevieve is one of my favorite characters from “Finishing School”, and she is equally lovable in “Parasol Protectorate”. The diversity she brings to the cast is wonderful, without being overly emphasized as oftentimes happens with diverse characters, making her feel like a token.
One of my other absolute favorite characters from “Finishing School” makes her mark on this book as well. Sidheag kicks ass and takes names, and to see her as an adult holding her own as Alpha of a werewolf pack was just awesome. There are so many strong women in Carriger’s books, and each has their own unique flair.
In addition to some wonderful cameos, this second book in the series continues to build more upon the world in which Alexia lives, giving greater insight into supernatural/preternatural powers and history. The plot moved at a much quicker pace in this book than in the previous, which I appreciated. Some of the conclusions and villains revealed at the end were rather predictable, but the huge surprise at the end came out of nowhere, and I loved that many questions are left totally unanswered, leaving the reader to wonder.
Really enjoying this series, and I can only hope the third book continues the trend. I would recommend this series to fans of paranormal, werewolves, vampires, historical fiction, and steampunk.
As always, one either likes or hates the various characters. I’d like to muzzle Felicity and find a brin for Ivy. But they do add to comic relief and provide the reader with life in stuffy Victorian England. More is learned of Conall’s past and prior pack. Professor Lyall reveals why he is beta.
Portions of the story seemed too technical with the explanation of certain mechanical devices. Ms. Carriger takes us deeper into what is Steampunk England. This book appears more as a who-dun-it English mystery cozy, but then I love cozies.
I still enjoy the haughty British humor with which Ms. Carriger writes. The relationship between Connal and Alexia is as ever enjoyable. There is, however, a cliffhanger, which took me by surprise! I’ll have to read book 3! 4 stars.
Top international reviews
If you've read the first book (and you really should, as the books follow on directly) you probably know what to expect - supernatural creatures openly walking the streets of London, Victorian manners, and a nice blend of intrigue, romance, and silly jokes, all held together by a well-developed female lead. To a greater or lesser extent, it's all present and correct here.
On the positive side, with the first book having provided lots of world-building, the author is able to dive right in in this installment and also further develop her characters, set-up and mythos. There were some great new additions to the cast, most notably Madame Lefoux, a sharp-suited lesbian French scientist, who leapt off the page. And while he didn't actually end up doing much, the caddish Woolsley pack Gamma, newly returned from fighting in India, was an enjoyable read and will surely get a larger role in subsequent volumes.
On the downside, while the second half is really entertaining, I found this installment a bit slow to get started and the plot - which hinges around a mysterious weapon or illness that's taking away creatures' supernatural powers - to be relatively thin. And though there were some very amusing lines and set-pieces, I didn't feel it was as laugh-out-loud funny as I remember the original being. And on the romance side, Alexia and Lord Maccon's relationship is sweet and sexy, but inevitably, a committed marriage isn't quite as exciting to read about as a will-they-won't-they/falling i love scenario. And in stark contrast to some of the exciting new characters, I found the old standby of Alexia's nominal best friend Ivy (who she seems to have nothing in common with and little regard for) to be increasingly irritating.
That sounds like a lot of complaints for a four star review, and over the course of the first few chapters, I suspected it might end up being more of a three starrer. But it definitely gets better as it goes on, and overall, the concept/setting and the general sense of humour, danger and romance make it better than the sum of its parts and allow me to forgive it a lot. I'm going straight on to book three, and will be interested to see whether that's going to be better as the author gets into her stride or worse as she uses up her best ideas and jokes.
Alexia is now married to Lord Maccon, and the relationship is still as unique and physical as in the first book, not soppy and romantic, but funny and entertaining. In Changeless we see many of the characters travel to Scotland to visit Lord Maccon's old pack. They are there to investigate a strange moving phenomena, where all supernaturals in an area lose their powers and stay mortal.
I found this book to be even better than the first, the writing is witty and sharp. The plot is interesting and the end of the book has a great new storyline set-up for the third book, Blameless - which I am now desperate to read!
Alexia is a brilliant character, she is exactly what you've always wanted historical heroines to be - sassy, feisty and a minefield of ettiquette. Lord Maccon is still all roar and bluster with his amorous intentions towards his wife still a principal distraction for him. Their relationship is still based upon wit and some dashing verbal altercations. For me this is one of the main appeals of the novel (and the series) while the language and manners are all very proper and correct, Alexia and Maccon are both incredibly forthright and often rude with sarcasm knowing no bounds. Carriger's style of writing is detailed, after all this is the Parasol Protectorate and outfits must match accordingly with accesories. In keeping Alexia's new parasol has received a Bond-ish upgrade and now includes poison darts, acid and other tricks.
The novel skips along at a good pace, each chapter leading you into the next until you realise you've read half the book! Its been a while since I read anything that left me grinning from ear to ear but Carriger manages it beautifully. If you like your history a little alternative, if you like your supernatural with a pinch of realism, if you think heroine's should do the rescuing as well as being rescued or if you just fancy something that will make you laugh out load every now and then - then this is for you. Read it's prequel Soulless snap this one up then order the next tile Blameless. Long may this series reign.
As Mujah, Alexia now has covert authorisation from Queen Victoria to get involved in supernatural matters which might threaten the empire. As a result we get to accompany her on a dirigible ride to Scotland and experience the workings of cutting edge steampunk communication technology, plus an upgrade to Alexia's now truly redoubtable parasol. My favourite characters from the last book are all present and we see more of Miss Ivy Hisselpenny and her horrendous hats although slightly less of Lord Akeldama. Ivy in fact provides most of the light relief as the story takes a darker turn.
There is a significant gear shift at the end of the book which makes it almost impossible to wait patiently for the next one. Please Gail, write faster.
So I found the book hard work, as the main characters spiraled down into formulaic farce.
It was still witty, most of the time, well observed and definitely entertaining. A 4 star though, rather than a 5, due to the issues mentioned... Will try the 3rd book, and give up if things don't improve.
Soulless ended with Alexia becoming Lady Maccon after marrying Conall Maccon, as well as muhjah to Queen Victoria. Muhjah being the traditional preternatural advisor to the monarch, alongside a hiveless vampire and a packless werewolf. Changeless begins with her husband disappearing off to Scotland after his old pack. A strange lack of supernatural ability in London. And Alexia following Conall to Scotland on the trail of whatever caused the temporary supernatural-less-ness. And she travels on a dirigible. How very steampunk!
The only issue I had with this was the cliff-hanger nature of the ending. Apart from that it was a wonderful fun read.
The Parasol Protectorate books are very easy reading, although I did need a dictionary on a few occasions! Really good holiday reads if you don't want something to taxing.
I have no doubt I am going to enjoy the entire series.
Of course the familiarity of the characters is a plus and a minus with the comfort of the ensemble offset a bit by it all being a bit too familiar.
A reasonable plot but it did feel a tad stretched.