Review: Changeless by Gail Carriger

I greatly enjoyed the first book in this series, Soulless, primarily because of its unique voice and story. The world of fantasy these days seems to take itself much too seriously and this series was refreshing in its different view of the supernatural , its setting in the Victorian era, and its humorous voice. It makes fun of the social conventions of the time, becoming a sort of parody of Jane Austen while at the same time blending vampires and werewolves with the science and politics of the times. One detraction of the writing of Soulless was the author’s repetition of key points and phrases in a way that became extremely tiresome… I understood that heroine Miss Tarabotti was Italian, dark-skinned, full-figured, had a large nose, and was therefore less attractive than her peers, and as a reader I appreciated having a heroine who was not perfectly beautiful. But I also didn’t need to read the same phrases and points over and over again.

So my thoughts were mixed upon completing Soulless – and as I started Changeless I almost put it down because I felt that the writing was too over the top to the point of being annoying. I’m glad I persisted past the first chapter, because the story and characters quickly become engaging, and again, much more original than many of the books I see today in this genre. Miss Tarabotti must investigate what force is causing the supernatural beings – werewolves, vampires, and ghosts – to lose their powers and become mortal. Her investigation takes her to Scotland on a zeppelin and results in her learning a great deal more about her husband’s history. Happily, from the second chapter to the finish this story was a pleasure – with perhaps only a slight complaint for the cheesy Cinderella-like (or Bennett-like?) family that Miss Tarabotti comes from.

I really enjoy the relationship between Tarabotti and husband, and the sexuality of Miss Tarabotti’s character. Victorian era or no, Tarabotti expresses no guilt about her sexual appetite, but also the author doesn’t provide too much romance-novel detail in the way sex is portrayed It’s rather a nice change to hear more about the male attributes of characters than the female ones.

I noticed many complaints from Amazon readers about the cliffhanger ending – but I didn’t mind and look forward to reading the next book in the series.

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