Reviewed by Daisy Edmonds
Changeless, by Gail Carriger, published by Orbit; an imprint of the Book Group, April ’10, fantasy/horror.
First things first, do not read this until after reading Soulless. Changeless by Gail Carriger takes place in late 18th century London. Morse code and dirigibles, are the height of technology, and bustles and French up-does are all the rage. In this particular book, you also have your vampires, werewolves, ghosts, and preternaturals.
Alexia is a smart witted 26 year old spinster; her dark skin and full figure, does not comply with what is expected of a respectable woman’s appearance, but she makes up for it with style. She possesses the ability to return a supernatural being to a semi human form. Alexia Maccon finds herself running after a mystery force that is robbing supernaturals of their gifts temporarily. It seems to have followed her husband to Scotland for whatever reason. So now she must find out what is going on and how to stop it.
So far, my favorite character is Madame Lefaux, she is a bit of an inventor, and what is even more peculiar for a woman in her time, she dresses as a man, top hat, waistcoat, cravat, and all. She is notably French, intelligent, Alexia suspects her of being a spy. While on the dirigible, an unknown figure attempted to poison Alexia, then when that failed, attempted to go about it in a more direct manner. Alexia suspect the figure of being Madame Lefaux. Madame Lefaux is clever, mysterious, and full of character.
As was described before, Alexia is hunting down an unknown force. This is force seems to be mimicking Alexia’s power. The force was reported in Scotland, after her husband. She, along with her posse (Felicity, her half-sister, Ivy Hisslepenny, her best friend, her husband’s valet, Tunstell, and her French maid, Angelique) aboard a dirigible, to warn and assist her werewolf husband. Someone attempted to dispose of Alexia while on the dirigible. Throughout this scandalous novel, Alexia tries to solve both mysteries and keep her husband in check.
The general theme of this novel/series is fantasy. The novel show worlds clashing, the past, the supernatural, and a twist of steam punk. This fantasy land is best exemplified the phrase “To be called curse-breaker was certainly more complimentary than soul-sucker. Trust the vampires to come up with a term that implied and even more crass kind of sport than cricket, as if such a thing could be conceived.”(bottom of page 21-top of page 22). I think it captures Alexia’s narrative tone seen throughout the book quite nicely, and a good example of how she views the world around her, as well as how she carries herself in a society as a preternatural being; it certainly goes to show the ‘fantasy’ aspect of this novel.
I give this novel four and a half stars, very few books do I find myself completely immersed in. This series is definitely on my top five list. I highly recommend this book to anyone who is interested in the scientific aspect of the supernatural, in what classy looks like, or if you just need something that makes you want to scream “Yess!” after reading this book, move on to the next of the series, Blameless. After this series I recommend her Etiquette and Espionage series. I hope you enjoy this series as much as I have.