Sunday, June 06, 2010

Review: Changeless by Gail Carriger

In her first book, Soulless, Gail Carriger introduced her readers to a Victorian London that only Bram Stoker and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle could have concocted on a weekend together in the Scottish Highlands. While Changeless is only her second book, her voice rings out over the Fantasy landscape with a unique and talented individuality that will set her apart from other writers for decades to come.

One of the difficulties of writing a sequel is re-introducing characters and events from the first book in a way that keeps the reader from growing bored or throwing up their hands and growling, "I already know that. Move on with THIS story." However, Carriger handled that challenge with the skill and grace of her own Lord Akeldama, touching only briefly on past events to remind her readers about them and then immediately relating them to the story at hand.

While some novice authors may stick to a familiar formula that glares at the reader throughout the story, Carriger abandoned the pattern Soulless followed to create something new for her world. Her characters, as a result, were required to mature as people, stretch their own talents, and face new challenges that forced them to become stronger men and women.

And just as with her previous novel, Changeless only features scenes that are relevant to the story. Even the "side-plot" scenes that appear to be unrelated at first glance eventually integrate themselves into the main story-line.

Personally, my wife and I have been reading this book together (okay, we swapped from time to time) and we couldn't help but quote the book to each other whenever something gut-busting and hilarious appeared on the page. As a result, it took me a long time to get through this book. I laughed so often throughout this adventure that I'm surprised I haven't lost my voice.

My only disappointment is that I have to wait several months before I can read Blameless (the next installment in the Parasol Protectorate). Seriously, go pick up this book. You will laugh yourself silly while enjoying a tense, edge-of-your-seat story that will keep you surprised up to the very end.

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