This review will not contain spoilers for Changeless, but will contain spoilers for the first book in the series, Soulless.
Alexia Tarabotti is enjoying her new marriage to Lord Woolsey, alpha of the London pack, until, one morning, she is awakened by her husband yelling at the top of his lungs. He takes off and leaves her to deal with things at home, which include the return of the rest of the pack from military assignment in India, and a mysterious ailment that seems to be effecting all supernatural creatures. Werewolves are unable to change, vampires are mortal, ghosts are exorcised. For the British Empire, which relies on its paranormal subjects to help maintain its place on top of the world, this is unacceptable. Alexia, as part of Queen Victoria’s supernatural council, is determined to find out the source of the ailment. Her progress, however, will be severely hampered by the surprise arrival of her shallow sister, Felicity; her best friend Ivy’s attraction to an inappropriate match; and a French inventor who may or may not be a spy.
I loved the first book in Carriger’s Parasol Protectorate series, and hoped that the second would live up to its precedent as a smart, funny, escapist read. I needn’t have worried – Changeless was just as much fun as its predecessor. Alexia is a terrific character. Her soulless state gives her a unique way of dealing with the world. She is practical-minded, and the contrast between her and Ivy, her hat-obsessed best friend, is hysterical. The addition of Madame Lefoux, the French inventor with a penchant for wearing men’s clothing, brings some tension into the story, and gives Alexia a friend who is a bit more competent in a pinch than the ever-fainting Ivy. Of course, Alexia isn’t sure if Madame Lefoux is a friend or a spy – in spite of the fact that she has created a parasol full of handy gadgets just for Alexia.
Just like the first book in the series, Changeless is full of witty dialogue, laugh-out-loud moments, and, of course, impeccably tasteful fashions. It also ends with a whopper of a cliff-hanger, which means I’m very glad I have the third book, Blameless, waiting on the shelf.