I would like to start out by saying that if you have not yet read this series and would like to without knowing the plot, please skip the rest of the review and know that I quite enjoyed the book: it was a nice easy read with plenty of plot and some great characterization. If you like crime/mystery solving, steampunk or think you might this is a good read and enjoy. Now off you go.
For the rest of us, who have read the first book Soulless, in the Parasol Protectorate series and fell as in love with certain characters, namely Lord Akeldama, Floote, and Prof. Lyall, as I did, you are going to be a little sad as they do not see much “on camera” time this book. Where Soulless spent much of its time building the world of Alexia’s London and didn’t get to the meat and potatoes of the mystery part of the plot until about half way through we are hit with the mystery up front in Changeless. In the first lines of the book alerts us that something is not right in London and Conall is off to figure it out, leaving his wife, Lady Alexia Maccon, behind.
But not for long, as is the standard Alexia move. She is rapidly using her connections and new position as muhjah in QueenVictoria’s shadow government to piece together why werewolves and vampires are returned to their human state (in essence they are change-less) and why mass ghost exorcisisms occurred. One of the problems I had with this book is that there are too many issues going on all at the same time and none seemed fully realized. But that may just be a sign of a small sophomoric slump.
For example: a reintroduction to Ivy (and Ivy’s hats), find out she has a fiancé whom Alexia has never met and an increasing flirtations with the claviger Tunstell – who’s an actor (gasp!), Alexia’s sister Felicity is having trouble with dear old mama and is foisted off on her sister, the rest of the Woolsey pack has arrived back from the Indian subcontinent and brought with them their human counterparts for a post deployment camp out on the castle lawns, Major Channing the Gamma of the pack makes an ass out of himself immediately upon meeting Alexia but may become useful at some point and we meet the male clothes wearing Madam Lefoux who is working as a hat shopkeeper and an underground scientist and the creator of Alexia’s newest parasol as ordered by Conall, who’s gone off to Scotland to attend to his former pack’s lack of an alpha.
This is all in the first three chapters. No lie.
The mystery is solved; there is a trip through the aether on a dirigible, our heroine escapes from certain death. But it just wasn’t as fun as the first. This may be because I enjoyed to world building more than I enjoy the mystery solving, particularly as this book didn’t have a satisfying big bad like the Hypocras Club from Soulless.
Would I tell you to read this book? Yes. Because in all honesty it was a fun enjoyable read, and I am just a little cranky about the ending and the fact that it is raining outside as I write this. But, I am looking forward to the next book.