Reviews of children's and young adult books old and new

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Parasols, Poison, and Preternaturals

Changeless: An Alexia Tarabotti Novel by Gail Carriger

To begin, let me say that this book is not intended for a young adult audience, not to say that they would not enjoy it, but it was not written with young adult readers in mind. I am reviewing it because I mistakenly thought the first book in this series Soulless, was a YA and now I am hooked on the series.

Changeless begins right where Soulless left off with Alexia being married to Lord Maccon. All of the regiments have been recalled to England in order to be redeployed so many of the Woosley pack on actually camped on Alexia's front lawn. There is a strange phenomnon going on in London and throughout the countryside, supernaturals are losing their powers and returning to their mortal state. This throws all of London into chaos for a few days but then inexplicably their powers are restored. Lord Maccon goes to Scotland to investigate and Alexia follows. On her journey to Scotland a few attempts are made on Alexia's life, but she survives being no worse for her experience. After a rude welcome to her husband's ancestral home in Scotland Alexia tries to discover the source of what is causing this werewolf pack to lost their supernatural abilities. She succeeds, but in the end it is not appreciated.

I did like this book, I love the characters that Carriger created, however the ending to this book made me so mad I almost threw it across the room. I was reading last night alone in my apartment, and I got to the end of the book and literally started to yell at it. Like the author could here me and come and fix how unhappy I was, it was so ridiculous. My only defense is that I was completely absorbed into the world that Alexia lives in and to have the book end the way it did made me mad, to say the very least. It is a brilliant ending though because now I have to read the next book Blameless but it is not out until October, so again I am miffed that I have to wait four months to find out what happens.

Now, the main reason I would be hesitant to recommend this to a young adult reader is that there is a lot of sex in this book, or more accurately a lot of foreplay and then it is implied or stated in one sentence that sex occurred. The sex is between a married couple but I am not sure how I feel about recommending a book to a teen where every twenty pages or so the clothes of the main character are being removed. The scenes are not gratuitous and nothing like you would read in a romance novel, much more tame than that, but again, teens think about sex enough as it is without having to read about a Victorian heroine 'getting it on' all the time.

If a little bit of steamy reading is O.K. for you, I highly recommend this book. I loved it. I could not read it fast enough, and it when it was over I was sad that I had read it so fast. I want to read it again just because I like the characters and how they interact with each other and this Victorian supernatural world so much. Carriger does a great job of writing a witty and smart woman in the Victorian era. Alexia has so much to offer the reader in terms of layers of personality and depth that although you think you can predict where the story is going next there is always a twist that you did not see coming that fits perfectly into the storyline. And that happens quite a few times. As in the first book there is an equal amount of science mixed in with the paranormal that provides for such a fun juxtaposition of ideals and social conventions. I would recommend reading the first book before you start this one as this book builds on a lot of the information we learn in Soulless. Overall, a fun and witty read with a strong heroine that is not afraid to take charge and be in command.


  1. I just received the first two books, so I must admit I skimmed the review so as to avoid spoilers. But when I saw that you were hooked on the series, I got excited to read these books all over again. ;)

  2. Trisha, I hope you like them. I have been recommending them to everyone, they are so fun and well written, enjoy!