Literary Review: Changeless by Gail Carriger

Title: Changeless
Author: Gail Carriger
Series: Book Two
Format: Audiobook

So here we are, the second audio book of the Parasol Protectorate series by Gail Carriger: Changeless. I don’t know where to begin… well I guess I’ll start with the technical aspect of the audiobook. I rather enjoy listening to Emily Gray’s interpretation of the variety of characters in Changeless.

Part of the reason I never mentioned Emily Gray during my review of Soulless was simply because I wasn’t entirely sold on a female voice emulating so many male voices. I loved Emily as she interpreted Alexia, her sisters, her friend Ivy and even Lord Akeldama… however. So I chose to wait and give it another audiobook to see if my feelings have changed, and in honestly because Changeless has so many female characters taking center stage, this made the listening experience much more pleasurable.

While in the first novel we were introduced into Gail Carriger’s interpretation of the supernatural world and how they are integrated with society at the time. This second novel delves more into the unknown of the supernatural… primarily the preternatural.

Alexia is as witty and stubborn as always, and while her husband has run off to Scotland to take care of a “family problem”, she is trying to figure out what is causing the mass exorcism of the ghosts in the London area and the humanization of the vampires and werewolves. After a little digging around, Alexia believes that the solution involves following her husband up north, into Scotland.

Ivy, I felt disgressed when it came to characterization. When in Soulless she was barely tolerable, in Changeless, to me she became more annoying than tolerable. I found myself asking to the imaginary Ivy: “Really? Really? You can’t be that silly…” In many ways the dilemma that Ivy was being rather overdramatic with was very predictable, but still very very silly.

One of the additions in this particular story was Felicity’s (Alexia’s sister) inclusion on the trip to Scotland… all I remember asking was “why?” I mean I didn’t see any real need for her to be a part of the story unless it was for comedic reasons, and to me that didn’t really do much.

What I did love was the addition of the cross-dressing French inventor: Genevieve Lefoux, a strong female character that proves to be a kind of foil to Alexia’s nature. Highly intelligent, very affectionate and definitely warmer than Alexia is. What I found very amusing in listening to this story was how obvious Genevieve was in her flirtations towards Alexia and in turn Alexia’s imagination running with the insinuations even while keeping a calm exterior.

Taking it a step further what happens towards the end of this book seems to be a bit of a dejavu for Genevieve… but to dive any further would be to provide spoilers… and I’ll try not to do that here.

Another strong female character that I rather enjoyed listening to is Sidheag, prickly and irritable multi-great grand-daughter of Lord Maccon. A human version of pack alpha who has been writing to her multi-great grand-father Lord Maccon with a plea to be turned into werewolf. As feisty and annoying as she can be, she is also likeable and one cannot help but want to help her on her cause to become a werewolf.

The story, in my eyes, was a bit weaker overall than in Soulless. I say this because there were times when Alexia seems to be focus a little too heavily towards one direction that she was missing out what it would seem to be fairly obvious for either myself or the reader. Though this plays out to be more of a mystery than the previous book, the author provides more than enough clues throughout the story that the reader should be able to figure out what was happening on their own.

However, the major twist… that one may not see coming happens towards the end is ironically enough not tied to primary premise of the storyline. I found myself screaming at the injustice of such a cliffhanger for the end of Changeles, though I suppose this would just drive me to want to read/listen to the next book in the series: Blameless.

For more of my thoughts in other books in this five-book series:
Book 1: Soulless
Book 2: Changeless
Book 3: Blameless
Book 4: Heartless
Book 5: Timeless

Many thanks to Gail Carriger for linking to my thoughts on the audiobook for Changeless. 🙂

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