April's Reviews > Changeless

Changeless by Gail Carriger
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** spoiler alert ** Immediate Response to Changeless(literally only minutes after):
Damn! The ending still has me reeling! I mean to think! After I put the book down, I immediately ran to the computer, went to Goodreads to read about the next book, Blameless, and then to the website of my local library to put Blameless on hold. I am so glad that I'm reading this series when it's already been out, at least a few of the books. And then, I'm feeling all agitated and jittery and my stomach or something is hurting for some ungodly reason. My thoughts are interwoven with words like "ken" and old English talk. I'm possibly fuming! I really don't feel like starting another book yet. Not many books can cause me to hesitate from starting another. Because, you know, it's like you can't seem to lose the "aftertaste" of the book. I'll probably feel better tomorrow to give a full review.

Review:

Timeline

• In a region everything supernatural loses their supernatural powers. All ghosts in region are exorcised. Problem disappears overnight. Lord Maccon thinks it might be the God-Breaker Plague, told in the Howler’s stories that are passed down through werewolves. Lord and Lady Maccon are set on the job of figuring out what happened since Lord Maccon is a BUR Captain and Lady Maccon is the Muhjah. The cause of the supernatural loss is given the name, “the plague of humanization”.
• Lord Maccon leaves to Scotland because news pops up that his former pack has lost their alpha and they are in disarray.
• Lady Maccon and Ivy visit Chapeau de Poupe, the new hat shop, because Lord Maccon told Lady Maccon to stop by there. They meet Madame Lefoux, the owner of the shop and a sort of engineer that makes all kinds of gadgets. It turns out that Lord Maccon had Madame Lefoux make a parasol for Lady Maccon. A parasol fully equipped to take out vampires, werewolves, or humans. It also has a magnetic-field disrupter that will stop any mechanical device made of steel for a few minutes.
• We find out that the plague of humanization seems to be following Lord Maccon as he travels to Scotland.
• Lady Maccon and Madame Lefoux visit Lord Akeldama. Lady Maccon, to find out some information, and Madame Lefoux, because she wants to meet Lord Akeldama. Lord Akeldama shows off his aethographer, a very advanced communication device of its time.
• Lady Maccon decides to go to Scotland by dirigible (like a zeppelin or a huge hot air balloon/blimp) after her husband to warn him of the plague of humanization coming and to help him figure out the cause of it. She gets pressured into taking Tunstell, Ivy, Felicity along with her and Madame Lefoux decides to tag along because she has “business” in Scotland. Angelique, Lady Maccon’s personal maid, of course, comes as well.
• Along the trip someone tries to poison Lady Maccon, but accidentally poisons Tunstell instead. Someone also steals her notebook. Later, someone pushes her overboard. Lady Maccon manages to hang on and survive.
• When they land, the group meets up with Lord Maccon. Lord Maccon convinces Madame Lefoux to come with them to fix his old pack’s messed up aethographer.
• When they finally reach Castle Kingair, home to the Kingair Pack, they are welcomed grudgingly, and they discover that the whole pack’s land is suspect to the plague of humanization. Lord Maccon and Dubh (the pack’s beta) get into a fight. Because of the plague, they are forced to fight out the problem in human form. Lord Maccon wins but soon feels the long-forgotten pain from bruises and cuts, since he doesn’t heal as fast now either.
• Lady Maccon figures out from her husband that the Kingair pack once tried to assassinate Queen Victoria and that’s why he deserted them.
• The story jumps back around this point to Professor Lyall, Major Channing, and Biffy in London to tell us that they are working on disabling Westminister Hive’s aethographer.
• While out for a stroll around the castle, some of the Kingair Pack gets to talking about their time spent as soldiers in Egypt and India and how over the time they collected many artifacts, including a mummy. The idea comes up to set up a mummy unwrapping party.
• Everyone begins to head back in, but Lord and Lady Maccon lag behind the group and notice Madame Lefoux rushing towards them. She is shot in the shoulder and becomes unconscious before she tells Lord and Lady Maccon what was so dire. There’s more shots soon after and Lord and Lady Maccon figure the shots are coming from somewhere inside the castle. They run for cover and soon the shooting stops. They come back inside.
• They put Madame Lefoux in a room to rest, bandage her up, and wait for her to wake up to no avail. Lord Maccon stays with her in case the shooter decides to come back to finish the job.
• Lady Maccon goes up to her room to find it has been trashed.
• Since no one knows who the shooter is, they continue on. Dinner comes and goes and then it is time for the unwrapping of the mummy. Ivy and Felicity faint. Lady Maccon feels a pushing sensation as the mummy is unwrapped, pushing her away from it.
• Afterwards, they hear Lord Maccon yell. They all rush to him and find that he’s been shot with a sort of tranquilizer. At first, Lady Maccon suspects Madame Lefoux, that maybe she’s been faking sleep. She checks her, but finds nothing.
• She takes control of the situation as Muhjah and puts Tunstell on duty in the room to protect both Lord Maccon and Madame Lefoux. She orders the Kingair Pack to let her use their newly-fixed aethographer and to assemble all of the artifacts that had acquired. She’s beginning to believe that one of the artifacts is the device causing the plague of humanization.
• Lady Maccon goes up to the aethographer and discovers that most of the equipment has been damaged, though not enough to not be of use to Lady Maccon still, that the claviger (a human aspiring to be a werewolf) in charge of the aethographer has been drugged with a tranq as well, and that someone used the machine to send the message, “Weapon here but unknown” in French.
• She sends the message, “Floote check library: Egypt, humanization weapon? BUR send agents to Kingair” to Lord Akeldama. Lord Akeldama responds with,”Preternaturals always cremated” and an image of a circle on top of a cross. Again, preternaturals (or “soul-suckers”, as the vampires call them) are people who with physical touch can turn any supernatural back into a regular human or exorcise ghosts. For example, Lady Maccon is a preternatural.
• Lady Maccon searches through the artifacts and finds the symbol Lord Akeldama sent on the mummy. It is an ankh, the symbol of eternal life, which is broken. Lady Maccon figures out that the mummy was a preternatural—someone who could end eternal life. She speculates that death expands a preternatural’s abilities, so as to no longer need physical touch, just as a ghost can move away from its body.
• Madame Lefoux awakens and Lady Maccon goes to see her. Madame Lefoux tells her that she had found Angelique damaging the aethographer’s equipment and she had also known that Angelique was the one who pushed Lady Maccon off the dirigible. Angelique is working for the Westminister Hive and she’s after the humanization weapon. Madame Lefoux finally decided to tell Lady Maccon. She hadn’t wanted to before because she had once loved Angelique.
• Lady Maccon leaves her and finds the whole Kingair Pack, except Lady Kingair, unconscious. She ran to the mummy thinking that’s where Angelique would be, but she isn’t. Next she goes to the aethographer. She immediately uses the magnetic-field disrupter on her parasol to stop any message Angelique intends to send. Angelique shoves Lady Maccon to the side and runs away. Lady Maccon follows to find Angelique attempting to drag the mummy out.
• Ivy happens to come out of her rooms at this point and is clueless as to what is going on. Lady Maccon tries to hit Angelique with one of the darts equipped in her parasol but misses. Ivy stops her and asks her what is going on. Lady Maccon finally reaches Angelique and plain knocks her out with her parasol. Alexia grabs the mummy and sets her parasol down next to it to destroy it once and for all.
• Ivy screams. Angelique is holding a knife to Ivy’s throat. Tunstell, Lady Kingair (part of the Kingair Pack), and Madame Lefoux come out/limps out in response to Ivy’s scream. Angelique walks backward slowly to a room with some open shutters. Tunstell crouches down behind something when they enter the room without Angelique seeing. Lady Maccon distracts Angelique while Tunstell creeps around to get into the right position. She asks why Angelique is doing this. Angelique simply says, “Countess Nadasdy”, the Westminister Hive Queen.
• Tunstell tackles Angelique and Ivy faints. They fight and Tunstell accidentally bumps her out the window. Angelique falls to her death. Tunstell then faints.
• The rest of the Kingair Pack and Lord Maccon finally wake up. The elimination of the mummy allowed them to regain their supernatural healing and greatly decreased the effectiveness of the drug they were under.
• Lady Maccon goes to check on the body and picks up her parasol on the way. The ghost of Angelique appears. They make a deal. The ghost of Angelique will answer 10 questions truthfully and Lady Maccon will exorcise her.
o Answer 1: Countess Nadasdy offered to make her a vampire.
o Answer 2: She was trying to kill Madame Lefoux.
o Answer 3: The poisoning was not her.
o Answer 4: She cannot tell if Madame Lefoux wants Lady Maccon dead.
o Answer5: Madame Lefoux has something of Angelique’s. Madame Lefoux insisted on giving it back or telling the world. This is why Angelique wanted her dead.
o Answer 6: What Madame Lefoux wanted would’ve ruined her because the Countess would not change her if there were children.
o Answer 7: Madame Lefoux’s son is really Angelique’s.
o Answer 8: Madame Lefoux was blackmailing Angelique on the dirigible.
o Answer 9: Madame Lefoux and Angelique were lovers.
o Answer 10 to the question “You are a hard little thing, aren’t you, Angelique?”: “You are not so hard as you would like. What will that husband of yours say, when he finds out?”
• Lady Maccon then performs the exorcism.
• She rejoins the others and questions Madame Lefoux.
• We learn that Lord Maccon hired Madame Lefoux to keep an eye on Lady Maccon. Lefoux agreed because they’re friends, she wanted to contact Angelique, and because she wanted the humanization weapon to put into her gadgets. She was the one to trash her room, looking for her notebook. She didn’t know it had already been stolen by someone else. Lady Maccon thought she was working with the Hypocras Club because of her octopus tattoo, but it turns out the Hypocras Club was just a branch of the Order of the Brass Octopus, a secret society of scientists and inventors.
• Lord and Lady Maccon go up to the aethographer to find out if Angelique was able to send anything before Lady Maccon stopped her. They see the message, “Dead mummy is soul-sucker.” Lady Maccon sends the message, “? Alexia” to Lord Akeldama. Lord Akeldama responds, “My petal, Westminister’s toy had tea issues. Thank Biffy and Lyall. Toodle Pip. A.” The message never got through. Lord Maccon destroys evidence of the message. Now only two Kingair Pack members know. Lord Akeldama and Lyall might also know the truth about the humanization weapon.
• They rejoin the others.
• Lord Maccon changes his granddaughter, Lady Kingair, into a werewolf. Lady Maccon faints during the process.
• She wakes up over an hour later. Madame Lefoux says she’s pregnant. No supernatural creature has ever produced offspring. Lord Maccon assumes Lady Maccon had an affair. Lefoux is the only one that believes it might be possible. After all, not much is known about preternaturals, since they are not very common.
• Lefoux, Lady Maccon, and Felicity leave or rather are kicked out and head home to London. Lady Maccon finds out Ivy had eloped with Tunstell.
T H E E N D

So, we’re left with a huge cliffhanger and complete heartbreak.

Changeless was a 5 star book for me because of the characters and the world. The relationship between Lord and Lady Maccon is second only to my all-time favorite couple Kate and Curran from the Kate Daniels Series. Going over the story again, I see that they mystery part of the book is pretty horrible. The book mainly rides on the personality of the characters and the humor. Of course all that is excluded from my timeline to make it shorter, so it isn’t a great representation of the value of the book.

In Changeless, Lady Maccon gets a lot more action. She’s fighting her own fights and saving her own ass. Lord and Lady Maccon’s relationship as a couple is going a little one-sided. Lord Maccon isn’t yet used to the idea of having to tell his wife things. For example, he left to Scotland one morning without even saying goodbye to his wife. She was left to haggle out the information from his pack, who he told.

Main Characters

Lady Maccon’s attitude is definitely one of an alpha, demanding, always needs to be in the know, always calm, can easily lead and take control of situations, which really shows when she commands her pack in this book. She’s blunt and at times can seem devoid of emotion. For example, when Lord Maccon leaves her, she doesn’t even cry, she’s just in complete shock, and she quickly transitions into a hardened determination to show him proof that he’s wrong.

Lord Maccon is very much in love with his wife. He’s very loyal to his pack and her and protective of them. He’s a strong leader and werewolf. He’s a lot like Curran from the Kate Daniels Series. He’s just completely blindsided by his wife’s pregnancy. He feels like he’s been deeply betrayed. He hadn’t held anything back from her, feeling wise. So he doesn’t stop to actually think about it. Instead, he becomes enraged, calls her some pretty horrible names, and closes himself off from her.

You would think Ivy and Lady Maccon together as friends would never work, but somehow it does, even though they are complete opposites. Ivy is nice and submissive. She also wears horrible-looking hats. The worse the more she likes it. Ivy seems somewhat dumb and not such a quick-thinker, but underneath the ugly hat is a wise person at times as we later discover. Ivy’s content to let Lady Maccon make most of the decisions and Lady Maccon humors her at times because she doesn’t have the heart to hurt her feelings.

Tunstell, during the whole book, is in love with Ivy and tries to get her to end her engagement with some marine or soldier. As a claviger, Tunstell doesn’t seem like the type to be a good werewolf, with his nice personality and easy smile (and especially since he fainted after killing Angelique). He can never seem to notice when someone is agitated or angry. He acts as if nothing’s changed, which makes it easier for him to handle being around werewolves, who can become angry fast, but also makes him incredibly annoying to them when they do become frustrated. But he does know how to handle them. He reacts well to a situation when force is needed.

Madame Lefoux is very much a tomboy. Even in this time and age, she wears men’s clothes, top hat and everything. She has a man’s haircut as well. This is somewhat accepted among society with gasps and embarrassment to be around her. She, of course, is also gay and even flirts with Lady Maccon a bit. She loves making all kinds of gadgets and experimenting with things. She even has an early version of an elevator that leads to her workshop underneath her hat shop. She has that traditional scientist-manic-excitement at discovering new things. Like when she finds out Lady Maccon is pregnant, she seems to look at her more of as a subject to study than an actual person.
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