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Tuesday, September 11, 2012

"Changeless: Book 2 Parasol Protectorate" by Gail Carriger (Reviewed by Cindy Hannikman)

Visit Gail Carriger's Official Website here
Read FBC's review of Soulless here

OVERVIEW: 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.

FORMAT: Changeless is the second book in the Parasol Protectorate series. It is a combination of mystery, paranormal romance and steampunk. Changeless stands at 388 pages and was published by Orbit in April of 2010.

ANALYSIS: After years of finally getting around to reading the first book in the series, Soulless, I anxiously jumped into the second book of the series, Changeless. The bar was set pretty high by Soulless. I loved the characters, the dialogue between them and the fast-paced nature of the plot, but unfortunately Changeless didn't have what I was looking for. That's not to say it was a bad book, it just wasn't as good as the first one.

Changeless is a typical vessel book that moves readers between book 1 and book 3. There is a stand-alone mystery that is introduced and solved by the end of the book, but everything that is done in the book beyond that is a setup for book 2 and I think because of that I felt it lacked something that the first book had.

Another element that I really felt was lacking in Changeless was the conversations between characters. I really felt they weren't as witty or fun as they could/should have been. There just seemed to be something missing between Alexia and Lord Maccoon. I just didn't feel a connection between them like I did in the first book.

For those that hate cliffhangers, Changeless ends in a massive and somewhat frustrating cliffhanger. It's hard to divulge details without spoiling the novel, but I finished this book with so much frustration that I find it hard to describe. A major event happens and literally all the characters in the book start acting as if their IQ is in the single digits. I felt this stupidity on the part of the majority of the characters was out-of-character and didn't fit with the book.

Now I realize I spent a majority of the review talking about why I didn't like the book, but that's not to say it was bad. I really feel as if this book just wasn't what readers encountered in the first book – there was a definite change of pace, plot and characters. I don't think the book was so bad that I'd stop reading the series, but it really shows that the series may be changing it up a little.


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