My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Alexia Tarabotti (Italian father, not at all her fault!) is all that is proper in a Victorian gentlewoman. Yes, she's a spinster, but she has fully accepted her lot in life. Her days are made more exciting, however, by her run-ins with Lord Conall Maccon, London's Alpha werewolf and Queen Victoria's go-to guy for all things supernatural (and preternatural). Unfortunately for Maccon, the more he tries to keep Alexia out of his investigation, the deeper she becomes involved. In the end they must work together to solve the mystery and save the day.
This is one of the best renderings of a Victorian Lady that I have read in a very long time. Gail has created a wonderful heroine that she keeps true to her upbringing and heritage, IMO. The mystery is mysterious and exciting; the romance is charming, sweet, and exciting; and the characters are likable as well as believable (and exciting). Even though this is only book one of the Parasol Protectorate I am already a huge fan. I can't wait to read what happens in Changeless!
Changeless (The Parasol Protectorate #2) by Gail Carriger
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
The newly-wed Alexia has started her job as Queen Victoria's muhjah on the Shadow Council. The Council, consisting of the potentate (a vampire), the dewan (a werewolf), and the muhjah, advise the Queen on supernatural and preternatural matters within the empire. As she leaves Woolsey Castle for a Council meeting, she stumbles over a regiment or two's worth of werewolves setting up a bivouac on her front lawn. As it turns out, werewolves serve in the Queen's Army, and this particular crowd has just returned from India by way of Eqypt. Past practice has them meeting at Woolsey Castle before being dismissed to return home. Alexia meets her husband's 3rd (Major Channing), who doesn't recognize her for who she is, and nearly has to take up her parasol to defend herself before saner heads (specifically Professor Lyall) intervene. Alexia no sooner sends the werewolves off to set up their camp in the back garden when her best friend Ivy Hisselpenny arrives in a great to-do, bursting to tell Alexia her splendid news. All of which happens in Chapter One and before Alexia can even get off her property!
So begins the 2nd book in the Parasol Protectorate series by Gail Carriger, and I couldn't have asked for a better sequel. Alexia is blooming in her role on the Shadow Council. Add to that a husband who understands her well enough to commission a very special parasol for her and she feels herself a lucky woman indeed. But what's life without a few challenges, eh? Alexia certainly has her work cut out for her what with Conall slipping off to Scotland without a word to her, a mysterious phenomenon that renders the supernaturals in London super-less, and an female inventor/scientist who dresses like a man and sets Alexia's instincts buzzing. What choice does she have but to follow Conall to Scotland (by dirigible!) so that she can warn him that the phenomenon seems to be mobile and has preceded him to Scotland? And what choice do you have but to read this and find out what happens. You won't be disappointed, I promise you!