Book Two of the Parasol Protectorate, Changeless, is a romp in a supernatural steampunk world. Like the first book, it features Alexia Tarrabotti who is now Lady Alexia Maccon. She’s a preternatural, which means that if she touches a supernatural they will be human during that physical contact.
Alexia and her Alpha werewolf husband are caught up in supernatural politics, as well as some business related to his former Scottish pack. The big plot line is that for unknown reasons large numbers of supernaturals are losing their supernatural nature. For example, a hive of vampires will find themselves human. Or werewolves will find that they are “changeless”—unable to transform into their wolf form. Needless to say, this is deeply distressing to the entire community.
Alexia is considerably more sure-footed in this book. She’s got some genuine clout in the sundowner world, and isn’t afraid to use it. Her sidekick Ivy Hisselpenny is along again for comic relief. And we have new characters on board, including Madame Lefoux who invents a bang-up new parasol for Alexia. Sadly, one of my least favorite characters is back as well. That would be one of Alexia’s half sisters. In this case Felicity Loontwill has joined in to browbeat and denigrate her sister in typical tiresome fashion.
I want so desperately to love his series. It’s absolutely perfect for me—in theory. But after two books, I’m finding that author Gail Carriger just doesn’t deliver for me. The story is intriguing, but doesn’t make me want to put down every other book and immerse myself. While reading, I was entirely too easily distracted. And I felt exactly the same way about both books, so I suspect it’s Alexia not me.
I prefer my 400 page books to have more vigorous action and plot development in the mid-section of the book. Instead, Parasol Protectorate books have waited until the final 50-75 pages to really get cooking. That’s just too much exposition for me.
On the whole, the plot was also a tad too predictable for me. I guessed 80% of the conclusion at least 75 pages ahead of the characters. I’m a fan of parasols, glassicals, and creatures that go bump in the night. But I prefer something paced a bit faster than your average dirigible travels.
I’m now debating whether to finish my three-book omnibus or just bail. I’ll admit, Carriger ends Changeless with provocative cliffhangers. But I’m not entirely sure I need to know what happens. I’ll give it a few weeks and see how much I continue to think about Alexia’s world.