Soulless was my absolute favorite book of 2009, so I was exceptionally pleased to order (for the library, and for myself at a local independent bookstore) and read the next in the series by Gail Carriger. Changeless features the same engaging characters, sharp wit, and deft turns of phrase that made me laugh out loud the first time around.
The plot: Alexia (now Lady Maccon) investigates a mysterious plague that turns supernatural beings such as werewolves and vampires human while they are in its vicinity. As a preturnatural with similar powers to the curse (but limited to the range to her touch), Alexia herself is unaffected. All signs point to Scotland, where Lady Maccon travels via dirigible (with her disagreeable sister, her lovesick friend Miss Hisselpenny and paramour Tunstell, and the mysterious cross-dressing French inventor Madame Lefoux) to aid her irascible werewolf husband and his former pack. There are several tangled threads, not all of which are unraveled by the end of this second book in a series of five.
Characterization is definitely the strong point of this book, and I only wish I could have spent more time with delightful characters like Lord Akeldama and the werewolf Lyall. I must say again how much I appreciate that homosexual characters such as Lord Akeldama (and his collection of dashing young men), and now also Madame Lefoux, are remarkable mostly for the part they play in the plot, rather than the fact that they are gay gay GAY. If only such casual inclusion were more widespread in today's literature. Also: Madame Lefoux makes me swoon a bit.
There are pros and cons to the way the overall series plot moves forward in Changeless. In some parts, it felt like a placeholder book, with the dramatic revelation of [spoiler alert!] Alexia's unexpected pregnancy providing a cliffhanger ending for the forthcoming Blameless. I thought it did a good job of keeping the romance of Soulless (in which Alexia and Lord Maccon fall into passionate, argumentative love) well alive, which is often difficult to do after the "getting together" part. However, I am not fond of the current pregnancy trend in romantic fiction, and am now relying on Ms. Carriger to rescue it for me with her trademark sense of wit and high fashion.
Dead Mother: No
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