Changeless (#2) by Gail Carriger

Published: 1st April 2010Goodreads badge
Publisher:
Orbit
Pages: 374
Format: Paperback
Genre: Steampunk/Paranormal
★   ★   ★   ★   ★ – 5 Stars

Alexia Maccon, the Lady Woolsey, awakens in the wee hours of the mid-afternoon to find her husband, who should be decently asleep like any normal werewolf, yelling at the top of his lungs. Then he disappears; leaving her to deal with a regiment of supernatural soldiers encamped on her doorstep, a plethora of exorcised ghosts, and an angry Queen Victoria.

But Alexia is armed with her trusty parasol, the latest fashions, and an arsenal of biting civility. So even when her investigations take her to Scotland, the backwater of ugly waistcoats, she is prepared: upending werewolf pack dynamics as only the soulless can. She might even find time to track down her wayward husband, if she feels like it.

  The delightful Alexia is back, now married and now in charge of an entire wolf pack. I was glad to see Carriger hasn’t lost any of her charm and wit in her writing as this story is just as fabulous as the first.

The relationship between Alexia and Connall moves past the frustrated acquaintances and into frustrated newlyweds which feels natural and fitting. I love how both Alexia and Connall can love each other but be infuriated by one another, more so Connall than Alexia, though now that she is living with the pack there are a few more things to frustrate her. This story also brings to light some more of Carriger’s werewolf mythology and we see more intricately how the pack operates. We are introduced to new names and faces but the familiar faces remain and the pack becomes an extension of the main characters.

I loved the mystery Carriger has presented because it’s a fascinating exploration of how this society operates and how much the supernatural citizens contribute and rely on the existing structures. The mystery is only one of many things revealed and unravelled in this book. We gain a better understanding of Alexia’s preternatural abilities and a better look at Lord Maccon’s own supernatural and family history. I liked the pace Carriger has taken for this story because it is a decent time frame and also one that is chaotic, dangerous and filled with the wit and humour, not to mention the incredible inventions and contraptions, I’ve come to love and expect from her. One thing she does well is have multiple plots running that raise their head at various times as the need occurs. It also plays into the natural feeling of the story and the realism, if one can call it that, of this world. It is believable and the pacing and events reflect that.

There is an excellent hook at the end which raises all the questions and sparks a lot of intrigue, Carriger knows how to get you leaping into the next book. Even though I fell deeply in love with this series from the start, the more I learn and is uncovered as I read the more I adore it. I am fascinated by Carriger’s creativity, but more so I love how complicated yet simple and well-functioning this society is. This alternate reality, steam punk world sounds marvellous and it is a joy to read about a new interpretation of the werewolves/vampire myth as well as a new history of our own time.

You can purchase Changless via the following

QBD | Booktopia | Book Depository

Dymocks | WorderyAngus and Robinson

 Fishpond | Amazon | Amazon Aust | Audible

Soulless (#1) by Gail Carriger

Published: 1st October 2009(print)/26 September 2017 (audio) Goodreads badge
Publisher:
Orbit/Hachette Audio
Pages: 357/10 hrs and 48 mins
Narrator: Emily Gray
Format: Audiobook
Genre: Steampunk/Paranormal
★   ★   ★    ★  ★ – 5 Stars

Alexia Tarabotti is laboring under a great many social tribulations. 

First, she has no soul. Second, she’s a spinster whose father is both Italian and dead. Third, she was rudely attacked by a vampire, breaking all standards of social etiquette.

Where to go from there? From bad to worse apparently, for Alexia accidentally kills the vampire–and then the appalling Lord Maccon (loud, messy, gorgeous, and werewolf) is sent by Queen Victoria to investigate.

With unexpected vampires appearing and expected vampires disappearing, everyone seems to believe Alexia responsible. Can she figure out what is actually happening to London’s high society? Will her soulless ability to negate supernatural powers prove useful or just plain embarrassing? Finally, who is the real enemy, and do they have treacle tart?

I have so much love for this book, this world, this series, and Alexia herself. The story introduces us to preternatural woman Alexia Tarabotti. She has no soul which is information she can’t really share with anyone and when she touches someone who is of a supernatural persuasion she cancels out their abilities. This comes in handy when you live in a society with vampires and werewolves. I love her. She is sarcastic, she is polite and proper to the point of hilarity, and being soulless she certainly brings a lot of fun and frustration to those around her.

Soulless is our first introduction to Alexia and it is a fantastic introduction. It is also a brilliant way to introduce us to this Victorian world where vampires and werewolves exist in everyday society and are just as respectable as the next person. Please, please, please I beg you do not let the fact that there are vampires and werewolves in this deter you. It is not your Twilight, Anne Rice, or Vampire Academy vampires, or really any other vampire you’d be thinking of I promise you. This book and series has been described as a cross between Jane Austen and P.G. Wodehouse and I wholeheartedly agree. It is a steampunk, Victorian era, alternate reality where everything is the same, Victoria is Queen but instead there are werewolves and vampires which have been assimilated into society. There are rules, societal etiquette to consider, and they are highly civilised and these supernatural creatures are accepted into society no problem and society has evolved around them to accommodate.

The tone of the blurb is a great indication of the tone of the book. One thing I adored was Carriger’s use of language. It’s not so fanciful that it is hard to understand but her use of language is elegant, with wonderful humour without making it seem silly. There are dirigibles and glassicals and all many wonderful Victorian era inventions, phrases, customs, but there is a fantastic steampunk/paranormal/mystery part as well. This is the ideal way to introduce the world and society protocols because things have gone slightly haywire and in trying to work out the mystery behind it, you get told the history and standards of the modern world these characters live in.

The pure joy of this is not even these supernatural creatures, it is Carriger’s storytelling ability and her way with words and dialogue. There is mystery and danger and Alexia’s prowess at weaving through the chaos in her upper class manner is wonderful. The issue of societal rules and manners are half the fun as even as these dangerous and dastardly things happen social niceties must be observed. The absolute best way to experience this I my opinion is as an audio. I adored how Gray annunciates and it is quite fantastic to hear all the fancy words and the accents and inflections she uses are divine. If audios aren’t your thing though, the book is fantastic on its own because the story is captivating and the language and the dialogue Carriger uses only enhances this great narrative which is as delightful and hilarious as high society is allowed to be.

You can purchase Soulless via the following

QBD | Booktopia | Book Depository

Dymocks | WorderyAngus and Robinson

 Fishpond | Amazon | Amazon Aust | Audible

Happy New Year and 2019 Goals

The first day of 2019 has almost come to an end here in Australia. I had been trying to think of an end of year post like I usually do for the past few days but I got myself a tad distracted by the celebrations and never got around to it. All is good though, it was a great year, I really feel like I have found my feet so to speak and I am really proud of what I managed to achieve. I posted more content and more consistently than in previous years, I read over 160 books which is the highest I’ve done on a Goodreads challenge before, I completed my Book Bingo card for the first time, exceeded my AWW 2018 Challenge, and looking at my stats the number of visitors to my blog is steadily growing which is amazing. Another fun little achievement was that I hit 500 reviews on Goodreads after setting myself to reach the goal in August when I noticed it was 407, just 93 away.

With the new year comes all the reading and blogging goals I try and lay out that I want to achieve this year. Today I’ve been thinking about what I would like to achieve, what would be fun, rewarding, and looking at what I have tried (and often failed) to do in the past. For 2019 I am aiming for goals that are simple and (hopefully) manageable because while they are not a grand challenge, they will tick off boxes and give great satisfaction.

I have three main ones, and then a few minor ones that I am aiming for.

Finishing Series

I am in the middle of all of these because I am a Bad Reader. I do want to finish these series but for one reason or another I have been held up, distracted, or just never had a real desire to keep going. This year I am going to aim to finish most of these. There’s probably so many more but these ones I want to finish so it’s a good starting point.

Charlie Parker
I have read a couple of these and I loved them but then I kept reading other things and I’m so far behind because Connolly Keeps. Adding. More. Books. If I get going with a few hopefully I will be so invested again I will keep up the momentum.

Cinder
I own this entire series and yet I still have not finished it. I enjoyed Cinder and I want to keep going but something has stopped me one way or another. This year though I will endeavour to keep going because everyone raves about it and I love a good fairytale retelling.

A Court of Thorns and Roses
I will admit I got a bit bored reading the first book and so I may have put it down and never picked it back up, but I might not have been paying enough attention. I will try again and see if I can finish the series this year.

Obernewtyn
I trailed away from book two cause it was a teeny bit dull but I will push through because I said I’d give the series a chance and I will. But I don’t think I could make myself read all 7 if they are really not enjoyable.

Parasol Protectorate
I adored book one and I have tracked down a copy of book two so I am ready to go. I tried a few times through the previous year to get book two and start reading but it just never happened. I love these characters and need to see the next adventure so I will find a way.

Nursery Rhyme Crimes
Fforde is a genius and all of his books are divine masterpieces and the first book in this series was no exception. I so often praise the first books yet don’t pick up the second.  There are only three in the series (for now) I don’t know how I resisted the charms of nursery rhyme crime for so long. I certainly must finish the set.

The Four Kingdoms
I have read 2 of these and Cellier is brilliant in her fairytale retellings and I am definitely tracking down the others to finish this series.

Miss Peregrine
I got the latest book in the series for Chrissy so with that motivation I am going to finish the rest of the books so I can read my new copy. Whatever motivation works, right?

Rereading 

I am always up for a reread of books but then the little voice pops into my head telling me to read the books I haven’t read first. But that desire is always there, itching to revisit some of my favourite worlds, characters, and stories. These are just some of the books I want to reread but I am also open to any stand alones that come across my path.

Thursday Next Series
I need to revisit the Thursday Next series because it is possible one of my favourite series up there with HDM, Artemis Fowl and Harry Potter. I don’t think I could emotionally go through HDM again so soon and I did a Harry Potter reread last year so it was a tossup between Thursday Next and Artemis. My desire to read about Thursday is stronger than Artemis. Maybe I can prompt the universe to get Fforde to finish book eight because I have a mighty need for the next book which I’ve been waiting for since 2013 which will no doubt be mightier by the time I finish them again. I can see another 14 year wait like Pullman’s The Book of Dust. I might be ok with that if I know it is going to come for certain.

Mary Poppins Series
I recently saw the new film Mary Poppins Returns which was incredible. This prompted me to watch the original again which is also incredible. This is turn now makes me want to revisit the books because they were a delight and were so brash and unforgiving at times but also filled with magic and fun. I can never have too much Mary Poppins in my life right now.

Recapping Book Events

I have finally (after five years of working it out) found a rhythm in terms of reviewing, scheduling, content and all things blog. And yet, I still keep forgetting to do posts about book events I go to and so a lot gets left out, but that is one of the things I want to work on because I used to be very good at it so I want to return to sharing my experiences. Things like the Newcastle and Sydney Writer’s Events that I take page after page of notes for yet never put out there for others to enjoy. Or the book launches and author talks that I always plan to recap and yet never get around to it and then weeks have past and it feels too late. I am aiming to improve my neglect and share some of these experiences I have been fortunate enough to attend.

 

These three things are my very basic and easy to achieve goals. On top of that I have my usual Book Bingo and AWW Challenge which I’m counting separately. I also want to try and read more books when they first come out, review current titles while they are still relevant. This will be a footnote kind of goal that I’ll keep in mind on the side.

I look forward to revisiting this post in December to see just how much I have achieved and how I may have strayed from my path, or, I might have created a newer, better one, I just don’t know. Do you have any blogging or reading goals you would like to achieve in 2019? Let me know in the comments.