Author: Gail Carriger
Series: Parasol Protectorate, #2
In my review of Soulless, I called it a cupcake... which it was. As I said, it was a rather enjoyable cupcake, but still not something of substance. Changeless, on the other hand, is more of a muffin. It is a cupcake masquerading as food. Breakfast food, and food we'd not normally call very healthy. But food nonetheless.
Changeless departs from Soulless in a few ways, the most important being a heavy divergence from the standards of paranormal romance. Having married off Alexia in the last book, it would be rather hard to continue on with the genre standards. That's not to say that there isn't some spiciness, but for the most part, this book focuses far more heavily on character and plot than it does bodice ripping.
And speaking of characters... Gail Carriger is also writing a YA series in the same universe. I've already read the Finishing School books that are out, and I was overjoyed to see adult versions of these same characters in Changeless, especially Vieve. (In fact, I might have gotten a little so excited I got overstimulated and kind of broke in a not-so-good way.)
It's always delightful to see some of your favorite characters all grown up, which is exactly what's happening here. (Or, if you read them in publication order, I guess you'd get to see them grow up, rather than be all grown up, as Parasol Protectorate was written first.)
Gail Carriger also seems to become more comfortable in her voice, and while she still relies heavily on the absurd, stumbles onto more wit this time. In fact, it feels like the writing is better overall, more mature and focused.
Unfortunately, though, the plot still isn't spectacular. It's kind of boring and totally predictable. Well, at least I predicted it. I also predicted the ~twist at the end of the book. In fact, I was shocked it was held to the end because it was staring at me in the face the entire time. While the plot is obvious, it doesn't feel like Carriger's characters are holding the idiot ball. Some of them are just so distracted and busy, and others just don't appear genre-savvy enough to predict their own plot lines. (Or even realize they have plot lines.)
So while we've gone up a bit in nutrition, we're definitely not talking morning glory muffin here. Cakey sweet how-can-you-call-this-breakfast muffin. But no frosting.