A review by Nalini Haynes
Soulless 2 of the manga series is the second of the Parasol Protectorate series by Gail Carriger. REM converted the story to manga. The original novel title is Changeless. Just in case you missed my review of the original novel, it’s here. And the review of Soulless manga #1 is here. I updated this review on 11 June 2023 to pander to SEO whim and to include THIS DMZ PODCAST FEATURING THE DELECTABLE GAIL CARRIGER HERSELF.
Soulless #2 begins…
Soulless 2 begins after Alexia Tarabotti and Conall Maccon marry. Alexia is established as as Muhjah for Queen Victoria. (Read Soulless 1 for an explanation of Muhjah.) Vampires and werewolves experience humanization (they turn human) in a geographic location, worrying everyone enormously. Maccon investigates. People accuse Alexia. Politics abound.
Maccon rushes to Scotland to investigate his former werewolf pack’s disarray after losing its Alpha. Alexia follows him via dirigible, with a few attempts on her life on the journey. Alexia’s sister and Ivy Hisselpenny, lover of outrageous hats, wangle invites to join Alexia as well, causing mayhem and comedy throughout. Madame Lefoux, the inventor from Soulless, joins Alexia on her journey to Scotland, bringing a new level of naughtiness to the plot and storyline.
The dirigible journey provides ample opportunity to showcase ‘floating’ fashions along the way. Binding skirts around one’s legs ensures modesty. Even top hats are tied to one’s head. Goggles are a necessity. Although Carriger describes her fashions in the books, REM’s artwork adds to the story. REM emphasizes the alienness of dirigible travel to modern sensibilities. Ivy’s predilection for atrocious hats also comes into the fore with the artwork.
While Soulless can be read as a stand alone story, Soulless 2 is a sequel to Soulless 1. And it ends in a cliff-hanger. I love the original version but the manga version is an essential addition, enhancing the Parasol Protectorate experience with its visualizations of characters, fashions and particular exchanges. Highly recommended.