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“Soulless” Has Lots of Soul!

– Posted in: Fantasy Book Reviews

A Little Steamy

I love Steampunk, and Gail Carriger’s book Soulless is a fun Steampunk read. I enjoyed the first couple of books in her Finishing School Series, and decided to jump to her Steampunk for grownups. Soulless is the first book in The Parasol Protectorate series.

Brief Summary

Book Review of Gail Carriger's "Soulless"

As usual, so as not to give away too many details, I’ve snagged Amazon’s blurb:

“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 responsible. Can she figure out what is actually happening to 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?”

Fun, Fun, Fun

What makes this book is the protagonist Alexia Tarabotti. Her voice, snarky and witty, is delightful, and she’s strong and independent — she’s a Steampunk Elizabeth Bennett. The strength of this book is the dialogue: it’s fresh and funny. Even in the middle of danger, Alexia can turn a delightful phrase. Plus there’s some mystery, lots of diverse characters, and a London populated with creatures of the dark, who are trying to live among humans.

This book is full of action, adventure, mystery, romance, and some Victorian sex. From the beginning, I was engaged with the character and the fast paced story. For those who have read my other reviews, you know I usually don’t like romance story lines. I loved this one.

Gotta Have a Critique

The plot isn’t exactly new. In some ways, it’s standard and somewhat predictable plot, but getting there is an entertaining ride. The sex scenes between Alexia and Lord Maccon, an attractive werewolf, were somewhat random and seemed a little out of place in the Victorian setting: in the middle of the street, in the parlor, in the middle of a dangerous scene. The danger of being caught was there, and indeed they do get interrupted a couple of times. I felt as if Carriger was playing with the reader. I do hate movies and books that stop in the middle of life and death-type of danger to have a passionate love scene. Because the book is humorous, I did wondered if Carriger was poking fun at romance books and movies?

Last Thoughts

I completely enjoyed this book. If you’re looking for a light-hearted, witty, and romantic diversion, read this one. If you want to play, go to Orbit’s Soulless page, and they have a Victorian dress-up doll.

The Usual Reminders

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