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on 2 January 2017
I read the first book in this series a couple of years ago, and despite really enjoying it, somehow never felt compelled to read the sequel. Though I think this is slightly weaker than its predecessor, I'm glad I finally got round to it as it's still a lot of fun.
If you've read the first book (and you really should, as the books follow on directly) you probably know what to expect - supernatural creatures openly walking the streets of London, Victorian manners, and a nice blend of intrigue, romance, and silly jokes, all held together by a well-developed female lead. To a greater or lesser extent, it's all present and correct here.
On the positive side, with the first book having provided lots of world-building, the author is able to dive right in in this installment and also further develop her characters, set-up and mythos. There were some great new additions to the cast, most notably Madame Lefoux, a sharp-suited lesbian French scientist, who leapt off the page. And while he didn't actually end up doing much, the caddish Woolsley pack Gamma, newly returned from fighting in India, was an enjoyable read and will surely get a larger role in subsequent volumes.

On the downside, while the second half is really entertaining, I found this installment a bit slow to get started and the plot - which hinges around a mysterious weapon or illness that's taking away creatures' supernatural powers - to be relatively thin. And though there were some very amusing lines and set-pieces, I didn't feel it was as laugh-out-loud funny as I remember the original being. And on the romance side, Alexia and Lord Maccon's relationship is sweet and sexy, but inevitably, a committed marriage isn't quite as exciting to read about as a will-they-won't-they/falling i love scenario. And in stark contrast to some of the exciting new characters, I found the old standby of Alexia's nominal best friend Ivy (who she seems to have nothing in common with and little regard for) to be increasingly irritating.

That sounds like a lot of complaints for a four star review, and over the course of the first few chapters, I suspected it might end up being more of a three starrer. But it definitely gets better as it goes on, and overall, the concept/setting and the general sense of humour, danger and romance make it better than the sum of its parts and allow me to forgive it a lot. I'm going straight on to book three, and will be interested to see whether that's going to be better as the author gets into her stride or worse as she uses up her best ideas and jokes.
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on 14 January 2017
After a big gap between reading book one and two, I picked this up straight after finishing the latter. By this point in the series, you know what you're going to get, and the author delivers both all the good points and the small flaws fairly consistently. This isn't a series I've got completely obsessed by, but it is one that can guarantee me some laughs, some romance, and some excitement. The main character is still likeable and engaging, and supported by a strong cast. The worldbuilding and paranormal elements are still strong. The historical setting is still lovingly recreated but full of some gaping errors. Parts are very funny, with some literal laugh out loud moments, while other jokes are a little overplayed. Other parts are very touching.
This installment did a good job of building up some of my favourites - Genevieve, the professor - and downplaying some of the deadweight like the infuriating sisters and rather two-dimensional best friend. It was also a masterstroke to move the action to Italy and to create discord in the central relationship - both choices kept the book feeling fresh.
A fun read overall. I'm looking forward to reading book four at some point, but don't feel compelled to rush straight into it.
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on 15 September 2017
Having purchased what I didn't realise was the fifth book in this very witty series some time ago, it had sat in my TBR pile waiting to to read. I purchased the first book in the series Soulless and was hooked!

Alexis and Conall's latest adventure sees Alexis leaving England with Genevieve and Floote after Conall's rejection of the now pregnant Alexis. Their travels in Europe are dogged by vampires determined to kill Alexis. Meanwhile Conall realises his mistake and issues a very pubic apology...throw into this mix the disappearance of Lord Akeldama, a cross Queen Victoria and a very put upon Beta Randolf Lyall and a very drunk werewolf who has to go groveling after his wife.... and you get a very entertaining and funny tale!😀
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VINE VOICEon 4 April 2010
This book continues on from Soulless, I think that the books do need to be read in order to fully comprehend the situation and understand how all of the characters fit into Alexia's life. Alexia still has her parasol, but now an upgraded James Bond version. For those who have not read the first book, the series is set in the Nineteenth century where werewolves, ghosts and vampires are the norm. Alexia is the only preternatural in London, a person without a soul, who with her touch can take away supernatural powers. Alexia is highly intelligent, half-Italian and too brown, too curvy and too exotic to be considered attractive in society. Still Lord Maccon (a werewolf alpha) finds her very attractive.
Alexia is now married to Lord Maccon, and the relationship is still as unique and physical as in the first book, not soppy and romantic, but funny and entertaining. In Changeless we see many of the characters travel to Scotland to visit Lord Maccon's old pack. They are there to investigate a strange moving phenomena, where all supernaturals in an area lose their powers and stay mortal.
I found this book to be even better than the first, the writing is witty and sharp. The plot is interesting and the end of the book has a great new storyline set-up for the third book, Blameless - which I am now desperate to read!
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on 30 May 2010
Alexia returns in this second novel to Victorian London a happily married woman, still minus a soul and now the Alpha-in law to a large pack of werewolves. So when she awakes one morning to find her husband Lord Maccon shouting at their resident ghost about matters supernatural she decides to investigate for herself. She soon discovers that the werewolf and vampire populace are becoming human within a certain radius. A changeless werewolf is a vulnerable werewolf so concern all around - Alexia herself becomes under suspicion as her soulless state induces these very conditions. So in order to prove that she is not the cause of some new weapon she has to follow the source of this condition; leading her straight to the former pack of her husband in Scotland. Combine this with a French hat-maker, a scandal raising best friend, some attempts at murder and a fraught dirigible journey and Alexia's life gets very complicated.

Alexia is a brilliant character, she is exactly what you've always wanted historical heroines to be - sassy, feisty and a minefield of ettiquette. Lord Maccon is still all roar and bluster with his amorous intentions towards his wife still a principal distraction for him. Their relationship is still based upon wit and some dashing verbal altercations. For me this is one of the main appeals of the novel (and the series) while the language and manners are all very proper and correct, Alexia and Maccon are both incredibly forthright and often rude with sarcasm knowing no bounds. Carriger's style of writing is detailed, after all this is the Parasol Protectorate and outfits must match accordingly with accesories. In keeping Alexia's new parasol has received a Bond-ish upgrade and now includes poison darts, acid and other tricks.

The novel skips along at a good pace, each chapter leading you into the next until you realise you've read half the book! Its been a while since I read anything that left me grinning from ear to ear but Carriger manages it beautifully. If you like your history a little alternative, if you like your supernatural with a pinch of realism, if you think heroine's should do the rescuing as well as being rescued or if you just fancy something that will make you laugh out load every now and then - then this is for you. Read it's prequel Soulless snap this one up then order the next tile Blameless. Long may this series reign.
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on 6 September 2010
Alexia is back with an 'infant inconvenience', an inebriated absent husband, some murderous vampires and a group of mechanical ladybird assassins. This novel continues straight after its prequel Changeless and launches itself straight into the action. Alexia has become exiled from her husband due to his doubts over the paternity of her unborn child, while he proceeds to beome the drunkest werewolf in England she immediately becomes the most scandalous woman in London. Turned out of the family home, unable to return to Lord Maccon, Alexia finds herself in the company of her remaining friends, the ever faithful valet Floote and hat shop inventor Madame Lefoux. With their help our heroine travels to Italy in search of information as to how her pregnant state is possible, sadly that knowledge must be extracted from the Templar Knights - and they aren't too keen on soulless women.

This is the third novel in Carriger's Parasol Protectorate series and her characters have all hit their stride. Alexia is as feisty, stubborn, endangered and resourceful as ever. An excellent all round heroine. Her supporting characters are always a main source of comedy, wit and extreme etiquette; in particular Floote and Professor Lyall are my favourites. Both valet and werewolf Beta have the perfect combination of put upon servant and smart know it all.

Carriger's novels are perfect for those readers looking for something a little different in their fantasy genre. Their mixture of adventure, steampunk, alternative history, romance and action makes them unputdownable (if such a term exists). Im already looking forward to the next novel Heartless.
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on 19 August 2017
Love this series. Great characters. Inventive gadgets and quirky humour to make you smile. With vampires and werewolves - what's not to love.
Alexia is a great protagonist and this book has her fortunes heading south. She has help from her friends, but not the supernatural set in this one. She is pregnant but her husband has cast her out. The vampires are trying to kill her and the baby and the Templars want to dissect them.
It follows on directly from book 2. Changeless
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on 4 October 2011
The 3rd outing in Gail Carriger's witty whimsical Victorian universe, recommend for steampunk heads who also happen to like (or dislike the cliché) vampires and werewolves that are roaming around the bookshelves these days.

Filled with more steampunk gadgets than you can shake a kettle at, the Parasol books main drawing point is the dialogue. Witty Jane Austen quips are fired back and forth relentlessly, never skipping a beat or missing a retort. Blameless, is a roaring adventure across France and Italy that uncovers the truth and mystery behind Prenaturals--while following on from the shocking twists at the end of the second book.

While Soulless, the first book, felt more like a comedic Austen parody--Alexia's world is starting to shape and grow a life of its own. Carriger's Victorian London is fun, without being too overly complex--and the characters are engaging, enjoyable and dramatic--without resorting to wallowing and self-loathing.

My only complaint is that the 3rd outing is primary set in Italy (which is important to the plot), and although it is a nice difference from Victorian London--our trip to Italy feels a little fleeting, and not as fleshed out as Alexia's London. That small complaint aside, this is essential reading. The Parasol books were included in my friend's sci-fi and fantasy book club and everyone, males included, all loved it.

Highly recommended
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on 18 February 2014
Hard to say exactly what left me feeling a little flat... I found the sisterly bickering irritating (Alexia is intelligent enough to either ignore the provocation, or deal with it, not bicker endlessly), the friend's stupidity mind boggling (WHY would Alexia put up with such a woman from choice?) and the husband is a disappointment. Last book he was interesting, intelligent and effective. This book he was close minded, ineffective, absent and frankly, stupid.

So I found the book hard work, as the main characters spiraled down into formulaic farce.

It was still witty, most of the time, well observed and definitely entertaining. A 4 star though, rather than a 5, due to the issues mentioned... Will try the 3rd book, and give up if things don't improve.
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VINE VOICEon 3 June 2010
The acerbic Alexia Tarabotti just gets better as a character. Now married to Lord Connall Maccon, their relationship as chaotic, adversarial and frankly physical as before, the trials of living with a pack of werewolves don't even cause her to break stride. The delightful humour is well up to the standard of the first book.

As Mujah, Alexia now has covert authorisation from Queen Victoria to get involved in supernatural matters which might threaten the empire. As a result we get to accompany her on a dirigible ride to Scotland and experience the workings of cutting edge steampunk communication technology, plus an upgrade to Alexia's now truly redoubtable parasol. My favourite characters from the last book are all present and we see more of Miss Ivy Hisselpenny and her horrendous hats although slightly less of Lord Akeldama. Ivy in fact provides most of the light relief as the story takes a darker turn.

There is a significant gear shift at the end of the book which makes it almost impossible to wait patiently for the next one. Please Gail, write faster.
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