Remember the first time you heard the 1976 LP, Boston? It blew you away. Swirling twin guitars, a sound that mixed Led Zep with Yes and The Beatles, hard rockin’ songs with a melody, high harmonies, soulful singing by Brad Delp, and one mean ass rock and roll organ.
Remember the anticipation as you waited (and waited and waited and waited) for Boston’s second LP? And then, it finally arrived! Don’t Look Back. So you tossed it on your turntable (for those of you under 30, Google it) and you listened to the LP. And about halfway through Side Two you started to get a sour feeling in your belly. The album was good … but was not great. It was … the same, but not better. After two years, this is what you got? So, you listened to it again. For the next few days you walked around thinking: “Oh man, this sucks.”
Welcome to CHANGELESS, the literary equivalent of Boston’s Don’t Look Back.
CHANGELESS is the sequel to SOULLESS.(Read the Soulless review) It was Bram Stoker mixed with the sensibility of Jane Austen set in Charles Dickens’ London. It was a world in which vampires, werewolves and ghosts were accepted in English society. Author Gail Carriger deftly pulled off a screwball comedy of manners.
So what’s wrong with CHANGELESS? Nothing really, except the disarming freshness has worn off. The wackiness of an English woman without a soul who can disarm vampires and werewolves with a thrust of her silver-coated parasol and sitting in council with Queen Victoria discussing the “vampire problem” is no longer new. Carriger has done little to move the story (and her world) into something else. We are stuck in a world that we already know, in a story that seems stale and mundane. Maybe that’s my own fault, since I found Soulless so delightful I am guilty of creating false expectations. I have an sneaking suspicion that two years from now, I will rate this book higher than I do right now.
Like Don’t Look Back, it’s more of the same thing … more than just a mere shadow, but it serves to remind you how brilliant the initial offering is.