Title: Soulless (Book 1 of the Parasol Protectorate Series)
Author: Gail Carriger
Pub. Date: 9/29/09
Main Themes: Steampunk, Alternate worlds, Werewolves, Vampires, Spinsters, Love, Murders, Disappearances
Plot (from back of ARC):
“A COMEDY OF MANNERS SET IN VICTORIAN LONDON. FULL OF WEREWOLVES, VAMPIRES, DIRGIBLES, AND TEA-DRINKING.
Alexia Tarabotti is laboring under a great many social tribulations. First, she has no soul. Second, she’s a spinster whose father is both Italian and dead. Third, she was rudely attacked by a vampire, breaking all standards of social etiquette.
Where to go from there? From bad to worse apparently, for Alexia accidentally kills the vampire – and then the appalling Lord Maccon (loud, messy, gorgeous, and werewolf) is sent by Queen Victoria to investigate.
With unexpected vampires appearing and expected vampires disappearing, everyone seems to believe Alexia is responsible. Can she figure out what is actually happening in London’s high society? Will her soulless ability to negate supernatural powers prove useful or just plain embarrassing? Finally, who is the real enemy, and do they have treacle tart?”
I’ll admit that I have no clue where to start when it comes to writing a review for Soulless! I can easily say that it was one of the most fun and imaginative books I’ve read this year, but there is just so much more to this book in addition to those details.
I loved the plot of Soulless. There was a perfect mix of romance, supernatural creatures, and mystery. Gail Carriger wove the different elements of Soulless together seamlessly. When I started reading Soulless, I was astounded – each element of the book is so unique and seemingly separate, yet this debut author found a way to them all together into a masterpiece!
The world that Gail Carriger has set her debut novel in is amazing. Alexia brushes shoulders with not characters typical of the Victorian era, but werewolves and vampires as well. I really enjoyed Gail’s unique take on the origins of werewolves and vampires. The supernatural aspect that really interested me though was Alexia’s own affiction: her lack of soul. When I first read the description, my mind immediately jumped to demon, but Soulless offers a whole new take on what it means to lack a soul…
This is also my first foray into reading steampunk, and I must admit, I’m now intrigued. Soulless explores the ideas of traditional steampunk, which is basically a world that people of the Victorian era envisioned the future to be. Gail’s steampunk is unique in that many of the advancements that occur are due to the presence of vampires and werewolves. Some popular steampunk books include: Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman, Airborn by Kenneth Oppel, The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman, and The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick.
Alexia Tarabotti is one of the most exciting and dangerous spinsters I have ever encountered between the covers of a book. She was simply so much fun to read! I was always waiting to see what trouble and inappropriate circumstances she would find herself in next. I especially enjoyed her verbal sparring matches with Lord Maccon. Two of my favorite characteristics of Alexia is her acceptance of her flaws and shortcomings and her confidence in her own abilities. Alexia is a smart, witty, and unique character that makes me proud to be unique as well! Alexia may be living in a time (and world) much different than that of those who will read her story, but she can still teach girls and women of a today a valuable lesson about being yourself, despite being told that who you are isn’t fashionable or correct.
The romance in Soulless was wonderfully written. Gail perfectly balanced the social norms of the time with steamy, fun romantic scenes. Despite the fact that they were occuring in Victorian times, the scenes seemed natural. The romance in the book all came together perfectly due to the supernatural aspect of Alexia’s world, which made the romance scenes more believable and intense!
Ratings (out of 10):
Writing Style: 10
Total: 50/50 (A!)
I can’t wait to see what trouble Alexia encounters in the next installment of The Parasol Protectorate, Changeless, which is due out next year from Orbit!
ENTER HERE TO WIN A COPY OF SOULLESS!