August 28, 2011

Review: Changeless - Gail Carriger

Alexia Tarabotti, 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. 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.

I'll start this review saying that I love Alexia. And that I am profoundly shocked by the ending of Changeless. That I must deeply advise anyone to buy Blameless along with Changeless and not, under any circunstance, to read one and not have the other as you will definitly feel the need for it once you are done. I made that mistake and now I have to wait at least 40 days to read Blameless...

Alexia and Connal's dialogues are just incredibly funny - actually the whole book is full of witty and hilarious quotes - and Ivy is another character you just love, despite her complete nonsense.

Alexia is a lady definitly not suitable for her time and place. She is very italian of complexion, while British of temper, so she was not believed to get married - at the age of 26, she was a spinster and couldn't worry less about it. And then Lord Maccon, an Alpha Werewolf, Head of BUR and a large piece of a man, married her, against all odds, really.

When Alexia wakes up with her husband yelling, at first, she jumps claiming "wasn't me" even though, as she promptly thinks, it usually is her fault. When her husband goes missing, the next day, she tracks him down, finds enough information to gather he went to Scotland - damp, cold and gray Scotland. Because of a series of incidents, Miss Hisselpenny (Ivy), Mr Tunstell (a Claviger) and Alexia's sister, Miss Loontwill, all end up going with her and her maid, Angelique, because, of course, one mustn't be without a decent hairdo or a proper wardrobe only because one's in the middle of Scotland. Madame Lefoux, a man-dressing-like inventor, surprinsingly joins them after making Alexia the most wonderful parasol ever and our troupe is set to go - by dirigible, of course! Unfortunatly, Alexia deems "dirigible food" to be something awfully tasteless:

Everything - meat, vegetables, even pudding - appeared to have been steamed into flaccid colorless submission, with no sauce, or even salt, to boldter the flavor. It was like eating a wet handkerchief.

If our Lady Maccon was wonderfully shocking the society while single (and spinster), she may be a little less shocking now that she is married, as married women are allowed a bit more than spinsters and she does seem to take her husband's position in consideration - she is now the wife of an earl, not some ordinary spinster, not to mention Muhjah of the queen. But that doesn't make her less hilarious as she can also, mostly, speak her mind or, at least, think it, which makes us have a great time following her train of thought.

He paced about Alexia slowly in a circle as though examining her for flaws. It felt very doglike to Alexia. She was prepared to jump back if he cocked a leg.

Ivy Hisselpenny and her hats are something extra. She would be what we call in movies "The Comic Relief" I believe. And yet, we all love her, her small subplot and weird aditions to the story make it funny and nonsensical.

"I love him so very much. As Romeo did Jugurtha, as Pyramid did Thirsty, as-" (Ivy Hisselpenny speaking her usual nonsense)

Of course it wouldn't be our usual dose of Alexia (and of Gail Carriger) if someone wasn't trying to kill her. And she wasn't trying to uncover some plot to end the supernatural life, even if she, being soulless and all, wasn't the exact end of supernaturals. It's a major wave of preternatural or, as they call it, humanization. Every supernatural within a radius suddenly becomes... Human. And that is pretty creepy for immortal people who've been immortal for a long time now.

Alexia wondered what it said about her character that Ivy had genuinely believed she would intentionally go climbing about the side of a floating dirigible.

Obviously, Alexia does find out what's causing it. And it brings a whole new creepy perspective for herself and her soulless condition. Which reminds me - do NOT read the burble for the following books (Blameless, Heartless or Timeless) as it will most definitly holds a major spoiler of storyline, I read them and, well, I don't mind, also it was still a surprise of sorts, but I'm sure most people would be deeply frustrated by the spoilery.

Then there is the cover. I absolutelly must comment on the cover. This series always had me for the witty thoughts and the covers, but I seem to alternate favorites. Soulless and Blameless are my favorites, but Changeless and Heartless have it's charm, with Heartless being my least favorite for the simple reason that Alexia looks too fashionable and too cute for her own self. Also, where is the parasol on Changeless? I can't properly see, but it seems like she isn't holding one and that isn't much Alexia-like.

Blameless' cover is much more beautiful. Probably the best in the series, I must say, that dress and that parasol oh my (see?). I guess I should wrap this up, it's going way too far, so I'll finish by saying that I'm eager to read Blameless, I'm crazy to get more Alexia and that I definitly plan on buying Blameless, Heartless and probably pre-order Timeless all together. Timeless seems to be one of the most interesting ones, with more questions answered, I believe, since Egipt seems to have lots to say about preternaturals.

You can buy Changeless at Amazon here or the Book Depository here.

Also, if anyone is willing to buy and give me as a birthday gift, my birthday is on september 11th and the Book Depository ships for free to Brazil. :)