Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Changeless by Gail Carriger

The cover blurb says, “A Novel of Vampires, Werewolves, and Dirigibles” and Changeless does exactly what it says on the tin. This is the second book in the Parasol Protectorate series, so to recap: It is Victorian England but there are vampires and werewolves. They've integrated fairly well into Victorian society and werewolves serve in the queen's army. Alexia Tarabotti is a preternatural who negates powers, meaning that when supernatural creatures are touching her, they are human. I really enjoyed the first book, but the problems I had with Changeless also apply to the first book, Soulless.

This book isn't exactly a masterpiece. Carriger tries to ape Victorian prose, which is clever in some places but falls apart a lot and just sounds like bad writing in other places. My favorite things about Victorian books, like a subtle sense of humor and the ways the authors knit social issues into the text, are not really present in this book. It's mostly a fun action/romance with Victorian trappings.

Without getting into spoilers, I had some problems with the way the main love interest behaved. He kept Alexia in the dark, even though he should really trust her by now, and the two got into an argument that really bothered me. (Vague spoilers: He thinks she's been unfaithful and starts shouting and calling her names) Thankfully, in the book, Alexia was bothered by this as well, so I don't necessarily see it as being condoned by the author, but it's still pretty obnoxious behavior on the part of someone we're supposed to like.

Still, it was incredibly entertaining and made me laugh at a few points, and after the way it ended, I wanted to pick up the next book immediately.

I've been thinking about star ratings. I feel like ratings can become perfunctory, but they are a good way to express something that can't really be measured in any other way. I'm going to try them out for a while.

So, 3 stars for this for not really being anything more than entertaining.  

1 comment:

  1. I really enjoyed this series. As you say, nothing outstandingly extraordinary, but they were perfect for what they were, if that makes any sense :)

    I usually rate books & films out of 10, as a gut feeling rather than anything I think to hard about. Just so I know what my favourite films of the year were at the end :)