Book Review: Changeless by Gail Carriger

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Book 2 in the Parasol Protectorate series

Summary

I enjoyed this book even more than I enjoyed the first one in the series. In this one, random supernaturals (werewolves, ghosts, vampires) are suddenly disappearing OR they are losing their ability to change into their supernatural form. Our main character, Alexia (who is preternatural and has no soul), sets out on an adventure to figure out why this is happening and how she can stop it.

What I Liked

  • The first book had a lot of world building. This is a fantastic world, so I’m thankful for that, but it was great also to move on to a focus on characters and events. For a reminder, this takes place in Victorian Steampunk England.
  • I love that, in this universe, werewolves, vampires, and ghosts aren’t hidden. They’re a part of society and are regulated by the government. It’s super interesting to see how society develops with supernatural creatures. You get to see the politics inside the individual creatures’ structures (hives for vampires, packs for werewolves) but also how they interact with each other and humans as a whole.
  • Guest appearance by characters from the author’s “Finishing School” series. (And by “guest appearance”, I mean that this series was actually written first, even if I didn’t read them in that order.) We get to see what happens to some of the characters. (And oh. my. gosh. I can’t believe it took me so long to place them!)

My Favorite Lines/Pages

(Some of these I included because they give you a taste of the world.)

  • “‘And what exactly is it?’ added the vampire, pouring the tea. Lady Maccon took hers with milk and a little sugar. He took his with a dash of blood and a squeeze of lemon.”
  • “‘But honestly Alexia, I do not mean to be boorish, but do you realize that your underdrawers are exposed to the night air, not to mention the public view?’
    ‘Ivy, I am hanging on for dear life to the side of a floating dirigible, leagues up in the aether. Even you must admit there are some instances wherein protocol should be relaxed.'”
  • “‘…what am I to do? I am overcome with the injustice of it all.’
    Lady Maccon replied with a suggestion. ‘Seek the assistance of an ugly-hat-addiction specialist this very instant?'”
  • “The dirigible came to rest as lightly as a butterfly on an egg, if the butterfly were to stumble a bit and list heavily to one side and the egg to take on the peculiar characteristics of Scotland in the winter: more soggy and more gray than one would think possible.”

What I Didn’t Like

  • This isn’t really a negative, but more of a heads up: MAKE SURE YOU HAVE THE NEXT BOOK ON HAND!! Maybe it’s just me, but the book was cliffhanger enough for me to make me dive right into the next book!

In Conclusion

If you’re looking for an adult fantasy, give this series a try!

Find it on: Goodreads | Amazon (affiliate link)

(affiliate link)

1 year ago: Book Review: Sixteen Kisses by Kelly Oram

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Book Review: Soulless by Gail Carriger

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Book 1 of the Parasol Protectorate series

Summary

Alexia Tarabotti is soulless, which means (among other things) that when she is touching vampires and werewolves, they turn mortal. On top of being soulless, she is also a spinster (at 26) and now she’s suspected of being involved in the disappearance of different supernaturals. Together with friends such as Ivy Hisselpenny (who wears crazy hats), Lord Maccon (a handsome werewolf), and Lord Akeldama (flamboyantly gay vampire), hopefully she can get to the bottom of it.

What I Liked

  • I love this world! It takes place in Victorian steampunk England – with vampires and werewolves. The society is fascinating but also logical. There are governmental branches for the supernatural (vampire, werewolf, and ghost) and well as the preternatural (soulless, what the main character is). Vampires have pushed themselves into high society – where fashion and the arts reign. They function as hives – a queen and many drones. Werewolves have an Alpha, a Beta, a Gamma, etc. but are structured in a much brasher way.
  • I love the characters. Recently I’ve really appreciated authentic characters. I’ve read too many books where the author claims something of a character, but never shows us that side of the character. Gail Carriger does not do that. Her characters are unique and unpredictable – but their actions always match their personality.
  • I love the visual images provided. Her stories are so visual without being overly descriptive. This would be a great book to make into a movie.
  • It was a romance novel. I didn’t expect this to be a romance novel, and it falls pretty solidly under fantasy otherwise. But it also had the pretty standard romance plot, which I found I enjoyed.

What I Didn’t Like

  • The pacing was a little bit off. The action came in spurts. I’ll forgive it though, since the next books are better (!) and the world is so fantastic.
  • (Spoiler in white, highlight to read.) The ending got really grizzly. It reminded me a lot of Angelfall and its ending as well.

In Conclusion

If you like the idea of a Victorian steampunk fantasy with vampires and werewolves, this is the book for you!

Find it on: Goodreads | Amazon (affiliate link)

1 year ago: Book Review: World After by Susan Ee

Book Review: Tortall: A Spy’s Guide by Tamora Pierce

Book also by Julie Holderman, Timothy Liebe, and Megan Messinger

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Summary

This book takes place after the events of all of Tamora Pierce’s Tortall books so far. If you haven’t read them yet, you should! They’re all like my favorite books ever. The series are Song of the Lioness, The Immortals, Protector of the Small, and The Daughter of the Lioness. (affiliate links) It is a collection of papers found in George Cooper’s trunk, which means there are a lot of cool things in this book such as:

  • Details on how the spy system of Tortall is set up
  • Letters from Ali and Thom’s childhood
  • Bios of characters throughout the series
  • Accounts of the food served at feasts
  • Killing machine reports
  • How Lord Sir Wyldon of Cavall became training master
  • Daine’s immortal notes
  • Dimplomat’s Guide to Tortall (including holidays celebrated in the country)
  • Nealan of Queenscove’s poetry
  • A timeline of Tortall up to 463 H.E.

What I Liked

  • Tortall is probably my favorite fictional land ever. So I loved every second I spent reading this book. It was great to see a lot of the behind-the-scenes stuff that happened during the different series.
  • This book is beautiful. It’s put together like a collection of papers, so some of them have cup rings or ink splots or (images of) wax seals and lots of other cool stuff. I love books like this that are in a slightly different format, or appear to be more of a hand-written collection than a book.
  • The timeline was fantastic – now I finally know the ages of each character at any given point in time, which was always sort of an estimate for me. If you haven’t read the series yet, I wouldn’t read this book though, because the timeline includes everything.
  • I loved the sections with sketches – the bios of different side characters, and Daine’s notes on immortals.

What I Didn’t Like

  • The thing that Alanna reveals at the very beginning of the book isn’t discussed at all for the rest of the book. 😦 The timeline doesn’t go that far either, so I guess we’ll just have to hope that Tamora Pierce writes about it in another series? 😀 😀
  • Because this is more or less a reference to Tortall, it could be a little dry at times. I loved it because I love all of Tortall, but if you’re not as big of a fan, maybe it wouldn’t hold your attention.

In Conclusion

Someone buy this book for me? 😀 If you’re a fan of Tamora Pierce’s Tortall, you’ll love this book. And if you’re not a fan of Tortall, you clearly haven’t read her books – so go read them!

Find it on: Goodreads | Amazon (affiliate link)

(affiliate link)

Book Review: The False Prince by Jennifer Nielsen

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Summary

Sage is one of a few orphans chosen by Conner Bevin to pretend to be the long-lost prince. Conner, a nobleman, claims that this is the best for everybody – for the kingdom, for him, and the orphan he chooses. We as the reader get to follow Sage as he competes to be the best false prince for Bevins plan, and as he uncovers the details of the plan.

What I Liked

  • There were a lot of subtle complexities to this book. It wasn’t a mystery, but we were constantly learning new things about all of the characters, the kingdom, and the plan to be a false prince. It kept me intrigued the whole way.
  • I’m struggling to find a way to describe this book without giving much away. Lets just say that it definitely cracks my top five books for this year.

What I Didn’t Like

  • This was clearly written for an upper middle grade or lower young adult audience (similar to the Percy Jackson series I would say). This was fine by me, but I want to let you know in case that isn’t your cup of tea.
  • There was a specific chapter that confused me so much that I had to read it twice. But once I got it…. wow!

In Conclusion

If you’re looking for a great fantasy, this is your book!

Find it on: Goodreads | Amazon (affiliate link)

(affiliate link)

Book Review: Rogue by Julie Kagawa

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

This review contains spoilers for the first book in this series, Talon. You can see my review for Talon here.

Summary

This is book follows Ember Hill, who has now gone rogue with the mysterious (and motorcycle-riding) Cobalt. In addition to avoiding Talon, who ruthlessly punishes dragons who go rogue, she also wants to rescue Garret. The only problem is that he’s on trial at a high-security camp for St. George – the centuries-long enemy of all dragons.

What I Liked

  • Sometimes, Ember is pretty bad-a**. There are some great scenes and action sequences in this book that I could play out in my head like a movie. She keeps fighting regardless of the obstacles thrown her way.
  • It was really interesting to see the world from the rogue perspective, as opposed to the “I’m a hatchling owned by Talon” perspective we got in the first book.

What I Didn’t Like

  • Love triangle. Just tell me who to root for, and I’m game! Give me two options and I’m hesitant to through myself into the emotions/actions of the main character.
  • This one didn’t have as much tension as the first one. Don’t get me wrong, the action was great, but for a while they are just wandering and almost just looking for trouble. And I’m not a fan of those types of books. (Stone in the Sky is another example of a book that does this.)

In Conclusion

Another great addition to the Talon series. If you like the first one, you’ll probably like this one too. 🙂

Find it on: Goodreads | Amazon (affiliate link)

(affiliate link)

Book Review: Talon by Julie Kagawa

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Summary

This is book follows Ember Hill, a dragon disguised as a teenage human living on Crescent Beach. She has moved there with her twin brother, Dante. She is tasked with learning how to assimilate with humans before she is assigned her permanent position with the dragon organization, Talon.

This book also follows Garret, a human trained to hunt dragons. Shoot now, ask questions later. He is sent in undercover to uncover dragons and eliminate them before they cause trouble for the humans.

What I Liked

  • Did you read the summary above? Dragon. Dragon Slayer. Need I say more?
  • This world was just so imaginative. Grounded in the world I know, but with these whole new worlds within it. Talon, the dragon organization, has its own unique intricacies and politics, which were really cool to discover as Ember discovered them. St. George, the dragon slaying organization, is similar to any military organization, except steeped in centuries of history.
  • This book kept me on the edge of my seat. I read it on breaks, at lunch, and any free minute I had until I finished it. I can’t think of many more specific things, but the tension between the two main characters (Ember and Garret) is enough to keep you going!

What I Didn’t Like

  • I didn’t understand her desire to rebel. She often wanted to get free and fly, but I couldn’t quite see why. I guess this could just be because I’ve never been a dragon though so…
  • Sometimes she makes stupid decisions. But it’s not a really big issue.

In Conclusion

If you like dragons, or fantasy, or Julie Kagawa (Iron Fey series anyone?) then this book is for you! The book takes place over a summer, so there’s not really any high school drama – I know some people avoid those books.

Find it on: Goodreads | Amazon (affiliate link)