Changeless by Gail Carriger
I generally try to avoid spoilers in my reviews, but it can’t be helped when reviewing a series like The Parasol Protectorate… one book leads to another, so details are bound to be revealed that might spoil some readers. So this is a great, big SPOILER WARNING!
For those readers wishing to avoid spoilers, I will say that this has become my new favorite series, which is saying a lot as I tend to avoid series books in general unless they are complete… I am waiting for the next book with intense anticipation and feel thoroughly vexed at not being able to have more, more, now, now! Alexia is a wonderfully snarky character, and I love the supernatural elements in Carriger’s London–undead they may be, but they are entirely fresh and original.
Hark! There be SPOILERS AHEAD! Retreat now if you must!
Alexia Tarabotti, now Lady Maccon, Alpha female, and muhjah for the Queen’s Shadow Council, finds herself embroiled in an entirely unprecendented situation when the supernaturals of London become temporarily mortal. What is a preternatural to do when being the only preternatural in the city means that one is the likeliest suspect? Well, she certainly isn’t going to take it lying down.
Facing hostility from several fronts, Alexia prepares to uncover the cause behind the mass wave of naturalness that plagues the supernatural set–with the help of a few unwanted sidekicks, a parasol loaded with an arsenal of deadly tricks, a suspicious milliner, and her maid, the thoroughly French and entirely untrustworthy, Angelique.
There is less Lord Maccon in this one, but this is more than made up for by the presence of several new characters and extremely vexing occassions that drive Alexia to new heights of sarcasm. One of the elements that I particularly love about this series (thus far) is Alexia’s wit and ability to take note of the absurdity of those around her. Ivy and Mr. Tunstell’s illicit romance provides particular pleasure in this area. Meanwhile, I found that the appearance of Madame Lefoux and her curious hats made for an intriguing addition to the story and would really look forward to seeing her become a regular part of the series (wishing, hoping).
Not to give away too many detilas, I will just add that I really enjoyed the Egyptian plotline and am tickled that so many strong women appear in this series–even the flighty Ivy has some strength of character, if only as a result of her continued insistance on favoring ridiculous hats–and that the relationship between Lord Maccon and Alexia has not settled into a traditional sort of romance (and I look forward to seeing that wolfish gentleman getting his comeuppance in the next volume).
Hopefully, that was not too spoilerish, though I am aware that I did give away more details than usual.