Saturday, September 25, 2010

Where the supernatural get a bit less super...

Note:  Changeless is the sequel to Soulless.  If you haven’t read it already, check out my review of Soulless here. Otherwise, read on!

Alexia Maccon, nee Tarabotti, has had quite the change of fate.  She was put on the shelf at 13 by a mother who didn’t want the expense of having a coming-out for a daughter who was clearly too bold, too intelligent and, worst of all, too Italian.  Her father died when she was young, leaving her to be raised by a flaky mother who had two daughters with her new husband, who she clearly prefers.  And she was born without a soul.  

Lord Maccon seems to have found this to be exactly what he wants in a wife, and by the end of Soulless, they’ve had the wedding of the season, seeing as Lord Maccon is the Alpha of London’s werewolf pack.  Now, there’s an epidemic of the supernatural not being quite as supernatural as they used to be, in the second book of the Parasol Protectorate, Changeless.

Throughout the countryside, vampires and werewolves are becoming human again.  It generally doesn’t last long, but for a person who has lived for centuries, the idea of aging and dying in a few short decades is enough to put one on edge.  It’s as if Alexia’s powers were strong enough to engulf a whole city.  So, of course, they blame her.

The problem is even more pronounced at Lord Maccon’s old pack, back in Scotland.  It’s been quite a while, and they simply aren’t turning back from human to werewolf.  Now, that isn’t quite as big a problem for the werewolves as for the vampires.  Werewolves see being a supernatural as more of a curse, while vampires don’t.  But it’s still something that needs to be addressed, so Lord Maccon heads up there to check it out.

Not one to be left behind, Alexia forms something of a posse, including one of her sisters, Ivy Hisselpenny, and her maid.  They hop on a dirigible and head out to Scotland, to see if they can discover what’s going on.

More of an adventure story than the first book in the series, many of the old tropes carry through.  Bits of Victorian mannerisms and style are explained to be inspired by the supernatural, the obsession with Egypt is incorporated, and even more fascinating steampunkery is included.  The extra action is certainly appreciated, and keeps it from being stuffier than it could have been otherwise.  And, of course, Miss Ivy Hisselpenny is the best kind of friend someone as serious as Alexia could have.

Highs:  Interplay between characters, Steampunk tech

Lows:  A bit shallow, but it’s all in good fun

Verdict:  Another fun trip through Victorian Europe

Further Reading:  Blameless, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies

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