This post covers books 2-4 of the Parasol Protectorate series, which includes Changeless, Blameless, and Heartless.
The next 3 books in Gail Carriger’s five book Victorian steampunk series decide to leave the land of smuttiness (for the most part) and venture into more mysterious avenues. Which is somewhat disappointing for me, as I found the smut highly amusing and entertaining. Oh well.
However, the books do retain their sense of humor, which I completely enjoy. Alexia and Conall are now happily married, and doing things happily married couples do, like work for the Queen, interact with suspiciously (yet practically) dressed women, and dangle dangerously off dirigibles (oh wait, no, werewolves don’t do so well in the sky). Alexia also merrily whacks seedy people upon the head with her trusty parasol, which receives quite the upgrade in these later books.
Hm, it seems rather difficult to discuss these books without revealing some massive spoilers that occur. I suppose I could say there are some colossal upheavals that take place that test the bonds of love between Alexia and Conall. Something also very major happens to a slightly minor character that I like that disrupts the supernatural world, as that is just not done. Ivy continues to wear the most hideous hats, so there is that remaining constant.
A couple things to note: 1) make sure to have Blameless ready to go as you get near the end of Changeless. One of those dreaded cliffhanger endings. Fortunately my friend gave me both of these for Christmas so I was all set. Heartless similarly ends on a slightly cliffhangerish note, but not nearly as bad as Changeless. 2) While Lord Akeldama continues to be as flamboyantly outrageous as usual, Carriger’s other gay characters are not nearly so stereotypical, so he no longer bothers me as much as I mentioned in my review of Soulless. (In fact, as someone pointed out, Lord Akeldama could easily be portrayed by Austin Scarlett of Project Runway fame. Utterly flamboyant and utterly fabulous.)
This series will end with the fifth book Timeless, which is due out at the beginning of March 2012. And then while this series is done, I believe she will continue to revisit the world via other characters, which is a relief, because I do so enjoy the setting for this delightfully funny series and would be most saddened if she were to abandon the world altogether. I await March most excitedly!
A note: Soulless is coming out in manga-fied form at the same time as Timeless’s release. Yen Press will be publishing it. My worlds collide! I normally don’t read OELs*, but I am making an exception with this book, as I can’t wait to see Ivy’s hideous hats. And see what some of this steampunk technology looks like. I’ll definitely be discussing the manga in a few months!
*OEL=original English language “manga”