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Confessions of a Bibliophile

An aspiring writer and bookstore employee with an incredibly bad book-buying habit... I'll read just about anything (so long as it will appeal to my interests in some way), but my main loves are YA and sci-fi/fantasy. I also like quirky history and science books and will book nerd. A lot. Currently in the process of weeding out my personal library. Find me on Twitter @princess_starr or check out my YA book, Snowfall, on Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/240027
Changeless - Gail Carriger Hoo boy, I think I have another series to go and be obsessed with. Although the first thing I wanted to do after finishing this was to run out and grab Blameless and Heartless, I will have to wait on that. Boo.One of my complaints with Soulless was that the world Carriger introduces us to doesn’t really feel like it’s anything different from ours, aside from the vampires and werewolves running around Victorian England. Both the supernatural and steampunk aspects of the series really picks up in this volume. For starters, the supernatural—we finally get a great description of the werewolf culture. It was talked about in the previous book (mainly in regards to mating rituals), but this is the first we get to be fully immersed in it. I did like how all of the pack members are still wary of Alexia, as she’s an outsider, and I loved the notes on pack politics. There’s a definite difference between the Woolsey and Kingair packs, and their rituals and societal norms are actually varied between the two. I would have really liked to have seen more of the Kingair pack’s political stance, aside from “The normals are going to ruin us all.”It is interesting to see Lord Maccon in the midst of the Kingair pack, although I would have liked more contrast with his Woolsey pack; aside from Professor Lyall and the clavigers, I never got the sense of companionship with the other London werewolves. I did like that he still thought of the Kingair pack as his main pack, and while it was infuriating in terms of the plot, the fact that he automatically rushes to Scotland to try to settle the problem of the Alpha, despite being marked as a traitor, speaks a lot for Conall’s character. Speaking of the Maccon family and Alpha, I loved Sidheag. Not only did I like the fact that Conall had a life before becoming a werewolf, but that he’s moved on from that time and is now concerned with his life with Alexia, but his still able to check in on his family. As for Sidheag, it was fun to see another woman finally be able to match wits and stubbornness with Alexia. She’s a strong character in her own right, having managed the Kingair pack as a human for years, yet still gives a good reason as to why she wants to be changed. I would love to see more of her in the next few books.Also, Professor Lyall gets a big boost of characterization in this. I liked his little side plot of him teaming up with Lord Akeldama and his fop harem to figure out the London side of the humanization plot. It’s implied that Lyall and Akeldama are both very old and very powerful, so seeing them working together (and brilliantly) was a treat. Akeldama’s characterization got a little better in this volume, but I think that’s more because we didn’t see him quite as much. Adding to the steampunk element was the other new character, Madame Lefoux. First, a French inventor/spy/milliner with Sapphic intentions and a cross-dressing wardrobe? Awesome. I loved whenever she would get all excited about mechanics; her loving production description of Alexia’s new parasol was a lot of fun to read. (Although I didn’t get the constant repetition of her always smelling like vanilla. It was a nice detail, but about the fourth or fifth time it’s mentioned, it started to get old.) Much like Sidheag and Lyall, I’m interested to see how her character develops over the next few books. And while I know having Alexia and company travel to Scotland via dirigible feels clichéd, the dirigible scenes and descriptions were well-handled, and I actively felt like that it would be very similar to sea travel. The main plot involving the humanization of supernaturals actually got shoved to the side once the action moved to Scotland. I could understand Alexia’s wanting to find out what was going on with her husband, but I was more interested in what was causing the supernatural humans to turn mortal again. Also, the resolution hinges a lot on the idea of how much soul a person has; specifically the preternaturals’ lack of a soul. It’s explained that a preserved preternatural has the ability to humanize within a certain radius, but the lack of information on how preternaturals are formed within the series makes the explanation feel like it comes out of nowhere. I hope there’s at least more explanation further on in the series (plus more information on Alexia’s father), but hopefully within the next few books, because dragging out important information for dramatic purposes is incredibly frustrating. Also, am I alone in thinking that Alexia’s preternatural abilities are the key to her conceiving a child with Lord Maccon? The fact that he does return to mortal status would explain why they’re suddenly able to have offspring, but no one thinks about this possibility for a moment. (Again, the in-universe lack of information on preternaturals and whatnot. Someone has to know more about them, I just don’t want to slog through three more books without finding out anything.)Despite the weak main mystery and the rushed conclusion, I still really enjoyed Changeless, as evidenced by my restraint in purchasing the next two books in the series. My main complaint so far is pretty much the lack of explanation on Alexia’s abilities and preternaturals in general, but the world and society-building kept my interesting, and I really liked the character arcs in this book a lot more.