Changeless by Gail Carriger

Parasol Protectorate, Book 2

Synopsis: Alexia Maccon, 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. So 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.

Review: I was a little anxious to get into this second volume. I do not know how it was possible to make a second novel as good as the first one. In fact I was wondering what the author might present when we know how the first volume ended so I was anxious to continue the story of our heroine. But I was wrong, and even if it is true that I preferred the previous novel, I also really enjoyed reading this one.

Funnily enough, every time I think of Alexia, another fictional character in a novel comes to my mind: Amelia Peabody (written by Elizabeth Peters). They both have such a temperament! These are two heroines who are out of step with their period but it is always a pleasure to be able to learn more about them, precisely because they’re so different from the others. But let’s not forget their attraction for similar umbrella as a weapon of choice.

So here we find our unusual married couple living together. And what a pleasure to see them growing as they complement each other perfectly. And I quite agree when everyone said that no one could withstand another. And whatever happens, our young lady never loses her edge against anyone, not even her husband. Everything goes well until one day a company of werewolf returns home, bringing with them a very strange effect. Indeed, all the supernatural beings become mortal for a few moments. It does not need more for Alexia to begin to investigate and to try to understand what is happening. But when Lord Maccon, goes without a warning to Scotland, it does not take long for her to follow as well as Felicity, one of the horrible sisters of our heroine, Ivy, Tunstell, Angélique, but also a new character we meet, Ms. Lefoux. I also thoroughly enjoyed this avant-gardist protagonist. The French woman has everything to be appreciated although there are many questions about her. We do not know very well what she wants and we will have to wait for the end of the book to really understand that. Of course she is also an inventor and her unusual discoveries are always interesting. Including the beautiful umbrella made especially for Alexia.

The plot was a real surprise and I did not expect all these revelations. It was very fun to learn as much about the past of Lord Maccon and to discover his ancient family. Because it is true that this was something we had been denied in the first volume, which focused more on Alexia. And I must say that I am also increasingly curious about the father of the latter. He is mentioned many times and we finally have lots of questions about him.



Blameless by Gail Carriger

Parasol Protectorate, Book 3

Synopsis: Quitting her husband’s house and moving back in with her horrible family, Lady Maccon becomes the scandal of the London season.

Queen Victoria dismisses her from the Shadow Council, and the only person who can explain anything, Lord Akeldama, unexpectedly leaves town. To top it all off, Alexia is attacked by homicidal mechanical ladybugs, indicating, as only ladybugs can, the fact that all of London’s vampires are now very much interested in seeing Alexia quite thoroughly dead.

While Lord Maccon elects to get progressively more inebriated and Professor Lyall desperately tries to hold the Woolsey werewolf pack together, Alexia flees England for Italy in search of the mysterious Templars. Only they know enough about the preternatural to explain her increasingly inconvenient condition, but they may be worse than the vampires — and they’re armed with pesto.

Review: Once we finish the second volume, we only want one thing, to get into the third to know the following events. I must say that we were left with a Lady Maccon in a really uncomfortable situation. And then of course our two heroes are both real strong heads! Yes this is true, they’re terrible, one as much as the other.

We thus find Alexia back home, and when I say that, it means to her mother’s home, after that Lord Maccon had dismissed her. Something that, I must say, makes her more than angry (and it is perfectly understandable). And when gossip and rumors begin to peddle about her and that everyone learns the story about her embryonic inconvenience as she calls it so well, Alexia quickly became the person to avoid for the whole society. And it starts with her own family who dismisses her as well. But this is not counting on the ideas of our heroine who is determined to go to Italy, accompanied by our dear Lady Lefoux and Floote to prove to her dear husband that she didn’t cheat on him. As for our beloved werewolf, he spends his days drinking and depressed about his wife, to the chagrin of Professor Lyall and his pack.

I was completely swept away by this book. It is much more addictive than the previous one and filled with action throughout the story. Alexia and her little band leads us in France and Italy, where we will discover new characters and new interesting inventions as always. Well I must say that nothing will be easy because as usual Alexia is really talented to find more trouble than she would have liked. And this time all the vampires want to kill her, which I must say does not change much in her everyday life.

I was really curious to see Alexia change in her father country and to learn more about her past. Indeed this man is mentioned on numerous occasions since the beginning of the series but we’re still in the dark about the person he really is. We finally learn a little more about him but nothing really important, but I do not lose hope, it may be the case with the next volume. Surprisingly this is another character who is at the center of our attention: Floote, the butler. And what a character! I was actually very curious about him and I’m waiting for the day that Alexia will actually decide for answers. We understand that in this novel, he is far from what he seems to be and he knows a lot more than we might have thought initially.

The meeting with the Templars was also very interesting and I think it is still far from finished (otherwise it would be too easy, does not it?). Finally you’ll understand that I enjoyed this new book, the plot is always exciting and Alexia is the most delectable. Now, I just need to get into the fourth volume to learn more.