Changeless

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!

Otherwise, proceed…

Soulless

Soulless by Gail Carriger

Alexia Tarabotti, half-Italian, on-the-shelf, and soulless, finds she is under no obligation to observe all the niceties of Victorian society, so why should she hesitate to order tea in another’s home when a proper tea is not forthcoming? Never did she imagine that something as simple as a request for tea and treacle tart could lead to her becoming involved in unraveling a mysterious plot that threatens the order of Britain’s supernatural citizens. Or that she would suddenly find herself  in the company of alluring, Scottish, and infinitely infuriating Lord Maccon, Alpha werewolf and BUR agent. Vampires! Werewolves! and Deadly Creatures! abound, but Alexia is ready for them with her trusty, silver-tipped parasol.

After the surge in trendy vampire fiction, I experienced what I have termed vampire fatigue–a curious condition sparked by exposure to too many black, red, and white jacketed, Twilight-esque books, leading to much scoffing and arguing on the merits (or lack thereof) of damsel in distress heroines and their pretty-boy vampire counterparts. Oh yes, it brings out the worst of my snobby book reviewer personalities.

Soulless is not one of those books. I love Victorian-inspired fiction. The Victorians have always been my favorites, and those who know me put up with plenty of Victorianisms on my part. When I first saw a post on Soulless, I knew I wanted to read it–spinsters, vampires, and werewolves in a Steampunky, alternate Victorian London? Yep, my kind of story.

In many ways, Soulless reminded me of what I loved best about Patricia Wrede and Caroline Stevermer’s Sorcery and Cecilia books–witty banter and a no-nonsense heroine who defies convention. It was a fun romp, and I instantly wanted to grab a copy of Changeless, the second in the series. I’ve avoided series for a while, but I’m looking forward to following this one :).

oh, stephenie meyer…

Admittedly, I enjoyed Twilight. I picked it up when it was on the Borders Original Voices shelf a few years ago. It was wish-fulfillment fluff, but sometimes I’m in the mood for fluff. I was bothered by Bella’s inability to ever save herself but, for a heavy dose of teen angst romance, it was somewhat expected.

I kind-of-sort-of liked New Moon. I found some of the werewolf bits tedious but, I generally found it to be a quick, fun read.

Eclipse started to lose me.

And a few months ago I ranted about my less than optimistic expectations for the fourth book.

However, I still wanted to give Breaking Dawn a chance. I ordered it, I started reading it when I received it, and I quit not two hours ago. I can’t read it. If I have to read about Edward’s *insert rock-like adjective here* chest one more time, there will be serious damage. First, the wedding angst. Then, the sex angst (this is where I nearly quit the first time. There is so much wrong with this whole scenario). Then, the big shocker (as if we didn’t see that one coming a mile away). I just could not take anymore. I got through the second chapter of the second part and decided that I would go no further.

I had low expectations from the beginning, but this is ridiculous. The cover taunted me with the idea of Bella becoming a stronger, independent, mature character… one who can love, yes, but who also knows herself and does not need to be saved every time she crosses the bloody street. I thought, “Ooh! Pawn to Queen! This looks like it might redeem the series.” I was sorely disappointed.

To all you loyal Twilight “saga” fans… enjoy your happy ending. It just wasn’t for me.

For an in-depth and fantastically funny, chapter-by-chapter summary, read Cleolinda’s Review.

a bookish rant

Borders says the next Twilight book is coming out in the Fall… I don’t know how I feel about that. I liked Twilight because it was so original… though the sequels have been interesting, they haven’t lived up to Twilight. Now, it’s a franchise. Everyone is reading them and the movie is coming out – I still say I’m not going to see it, there is no way that it will not be cheese fest. The only vampire movie I’ve enjoyed is Interview (with the exception of Coppola’s Dracula). Teen vamp movies aspire to a whole other level of cheese.

I always feel an author should know where a story should end, but this boat just keeps on sailing. To avoid spoilers, I won’t give any details, but usually after the plot gets to this point, the story ends. What happens after is never as interesting as what happened before. But, I’ll still give it a shot. I see this going the way of The Princess Diaries – started as a great story for girls, but 10 books in, the story has nowhere else to go and just keeps going in circles.