Changeless (The Parasol Protectorate Series 2)

Changeless (The Parasol Protectorate Series 2)
By: Gail Carriger
(http://gailcarriger.com)
Orbit Books 2010

A steampunk historical romance review

GermanChangeless

Changeless sees the intrepid Alexia Tarabotti settled into a position of power, both as muhjah to the queen and Alpha of the Woolsey pack. So when immortals of all kinds suddenly begin to lose their powers on a wide scale, Conall Maccon runs off to tend to his old Scottish pack, and suspicious activity begins to follow Alexia around, she is naturally up to the task.

This sequel considerably broadens Carriger’s world in several directions, by introducing the rest of Conall’s werewolf pack, delving into the mysterious circumstances surrounding the Alpha’s move to London, taking readers to Scotland, and uncovering more details about this world’s intriguing rules and wherefores. The new characters are introduced and expanded without taking away from the original characters’ growth, the numerous mysteries facing Alexia keep the plot steaming along full-speed ahead, and this heroine performs her antics with such aplomb that I didn’t mind that some questions don’t get wrapped up until later books. Amazingly, the clothing details of bizarre hats and edgy attire attain even greater heights of distinction in this work.

In short, this is the vindicated and indomitable Alexia Maccon as everyone loves to see her, and the plot has enough going on to keep her busy and readers highly entertained. However, unlike Soulless, this book ends on an abrupt note that requires swift continuation into Blameless, so have it at the ready.

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“Soulless” (The Parasol Protectorate Series 1)

Soulless (The Parasol Protectorate Series 1)
By: Gail Carriger
(http://gailcarriger.com)
Orbit Books 2009

Alexia Tarabotti wields two great weapons: a custom parasol and the fact that she’s soulless. Up against mysterious incidents that frighten vampire queens and get under werewolves’ skin, will Alexia’s ability to cancel out any supernatural powers be enough? More importantly, will her spinster reputation survive her investigatory antics? And just how provoking can Queen Victoria’s werewolf agent, the Earl of Woolsey, become for this stubborn, intelligent lady when they must work together?

Gail Carriger’s novel works like an English scone smothered, or jammed, with humor. The light overall feel and humorous quirks tie the whole thing together and make Soulless good, quick travel reading. However, beneath all that fun lies a very solid and interesting world. The thoroughly thought-out details seem a bit dense at first, but the precocious characters and Carriger’s humorous jam balance it out well. The romance works well within the plot. The characters are engaging, and left with plenty of room to grow in the sequels. While not taking the most unpredictable route, the mystery unfolds with aplomb and drives a good pace. An excellent book to read over tea or when in need of a fun, supernatural escape, Soulless holds a world I would like to visit again.

Proof the unnatural does not need zombies.

The Best of Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet
edited by: Kelly Link and Gavin J. Grant http://www.lcrw.net/lcrw/thebestof.htm
Ballantine Books 2007

Drawing on a decade of submissions to the zine, Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet , the variety of stories in their newly published “Best Of” anthology hold only one clear message: here there be monsters! Whether it involves mushroom-crazed duchesses, unavoidable ghosts, talking animals, or only a sorry inability to mix a great cocktail, the imaginable atrocities of life, and some that only these authors could have imagined, find vibrant and stirring representations in this book.

Designed to tempt every palate, this collection of far-ranging stories seems to include something for everyone-and no one story can accurately indicate the tone or appeal of the others. A skim through Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet is rather like flipping through the stations on a radio: you’ll find everything from pop music to health advice, and one of those stations is bound to interest you. The main difference is that where one might feel silly for finding a commercial more engrossing than anything else on the radio, this book’s offerings embrace so much, in such a short span of pages, their readers will be too busy paying attention to compare them to anything else.

A satisfyingly weird homage to the magazine pledged to publish the best and the oddest of today’s literary world, Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet is a provoking experience. The only piece of advice that could help prepare readers for some of the strangeness in store for them here, is to avoid reading it right before bedtime.