Book review: Changeless by Gail Carriger

by tosca on Monday, June 7, 2010

Title: Changeless (book 2 in the Parasol Protectorate series)
Author: Gail Carriger
Publisher: Orbit
Year: 2010
Genre: Steampunk romance
Verdict: 4 out of 5 stars (I took off one star for grumpiness - that ending ROCKS but SUCKS majorly)
Synopsis: The story opens with Alexia enjoying married life when, thanks to her husband having to rush off, she finds herself playing sleuth again and following him, only this time the circumstances are not what she's prepared for. And that's when things begin to get really interesting.

I blame Gail Carriger for breaking my book mojo. I read, on average about 20-30 books a month. A lot of these I review for our library website or add to our library romance newsletter. But I haven't been able to review a gosh darned thing since I read Changeless (which, by the way, I harassed our acquisitions people into buying, ostensibly for our customers but really for ME). It really did make me re-consider how books end, and why I bother to follow some series at all. You know what I mean? Do I continue to read a series because I initially enjoyed the first one or do I read it because, each time, it gives me something different? More often than not a lot of authors I drop along the way to book nirvana because I consider them formulaic after a while. I didn't want to be picking up books that made me feel flat and ho-hum. I can get that in real life. Without a doubt, that is most definitely not Ms. Carriger's problem.

I could be very pithy and reiterate my initial summation of Soulless (first novel in the Parasol Protectorate series): 'Read it. Fell in love with it. Want to marry it. Desperately waiting for the next instalment in the Parasol Protectorate series.' That comment would still hold true for Changeless only the feeling is slightly more barbed and, considering the cliffhanger ending, even more desperate. By the final few pages I was, in turns, gasping in shock, teary eyed, enraged, full of sympathy for Alexia while all for kicking Lord Maccon in the unmentionables and then consigning him to the devil. It is a phenomenally clever and yet devastating way to end a book. I remember sniffling and putting it down and thinking, 'Oohh-ho, dirty pool, Ms. Carriger - dirty pool!' The woman is a freakin' genius for that move alone! And yet I detest her also because the release date for the third novel is aaaaaages away.

I am a fan of steampunk - and I absolutely adore steampunk romance. I love it to bits if it's well-written, cleverly constructed and leaves me with the sense of the fantastical minus the cliché ending - make me WORK for it. Does Changeless do that? Abso-frickin'-lutely. But what I enjoy most about Carriger's novel is not the paranormal, horror aspect, the LOL moments or the quirkiness of the characters (although, certainly, those alone go some large way toward the book as a whole). What I really love is the witty conversation. At times, I can almost hear Elizabeth Bennet in the back of my mind. Before television, before computers, before cars, people made an art out of conversation. I yearn for those times and that almost lost art (and maybe the very cool corsets, too, because those are some kinda hot - all of that 'touch me not' that really means 'oohh, yes, touch me there').

Dear Ms. Carriger, I await Blameless with much eagerness and anticipation. But be warned, and this is all your own fault, I'm expecting even greater things ;)

Note: I entered a contest on Gail Carriger's website, hence this review. Do I expect to win? Hell to the nah. But I sure as crap hope to convert a few colleagues/newsletter subscribers who drop by my blog sometimes.

One comment

Hurrah - that's exactly how I felt when I finished Changeless. Major grumps at the (actually, fantastic) ending and the fact that September is oh so very far away! (I've pre-ordered Blameless, naturally...)

And big thanks for you for putting me on to Soulless in the first place. :)


by Anonymous on June 7, 2010 at 7:10 PM. #

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