Saturday, 29 May 2010

Changless by Gail Carriger

***
Alexia has now married Lord Maccon and has become alpha female of the Woolsey Pack.  She has quickly adapted to pack life and her new role as muhjah to Queen Victoria.  However, her husband disappears and there's some sort of "weapon" that turns all the supernaturals back to human form and exorcises the ghosts.  Alexia is on the case with her entourage including friend Ivy, sister Felicity and the suspicious Madame Lefoux.  Her search to solve the mystery means a traipse up to the badly dressed backwater of Kingair Castle in Scotland and Maccon's previous pack. As the body count stacks up and her husband remains human they have to get to the bottom of it all.
I have to say I found this sequel disappointing, overall.  Although there are flashes of the wit from the previous book, particularly the name of Channing Channing of the Chesterfield Channings, Biffy and Lyall (although both only appear very briefly - which is a huge waste of brilliant characterisation), I got a tad bored by it all.  I think the main problem is that by marrying them off at the end of the first book, things moved on too quickly and the sparky relationship between the two was the most interesting part, which is lost as Maccon disappears for most of the first 200 pages and then is humanised!  That's the whole point of Connall, he's a WEREWOLF!!  The first book was great fun and sexy and that is sadly missing for me in this one.
Ivy remains silly, but instead of funny is slightly pathetic and Madame Lefoux is a stereotyped ambiguous spy/ally.  Okay, for fans of steampunk, there's a lot more content and fantasy mechanical creations with the Victorian version of a fax machine, an advanced parasol and the dirigibles, but I was fairly "meh" about all that and they really were vital to the plot.  As for the plot, I didn't really care what/ who the weapon was...and as for the cliffhanger ending...was it done to make us buy the next book even though this has missed the mark or simply to make us turn against Maccon?!  Is he really that stupid?  I will read the next in the series purely to see how it's all resolved and hope it gets back to the promise of Soulless with huge parts for Lyall and the amazing Biffy!