Saturday, July 16, 2011

Review: Soulless (The Parasol Protectorate #1) by Gail Carriger

Synopsis (Goodreads):
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?

SOULLESS is a comedy of manners set in Victorian London: full of werewolves, vampires, dirigibles, and tea-drinking.
My Thoughts:  Holy Steampunky Goodness, Batman!  Nobody move, I'm totally having a fangirl moment over this book.  Why? you ask.  Because it's steampunk with Werewolves and Vampires and OMG! it's so freaking fun!  I laughed out loud while reading it.  Out loud!  Not just in my head!  I think I've also used up my weekly allottment of exclamation points with this paragraph alone.  That's going to make it difficult (if not downright impossible) to write up the review for book 2.

I loved Alexia.  She's so proper on the surface.  Instead of freaking out that she just killed a vampire, she frets over his poor choice of attire.  I don't know.  That tickles my fancy.  As much as I adored that proper side, though, it was her decidedly improper side that had me rooting for her.  She pratically mauls poor Lord Maccon whenever he gets within kissing distance of her.  I love it when those staunchly upright Victorian ladies lose their inhibitions.  Love it!  For someone who's soulless she had a surprising depth of character.  She had accepted that she was going to remain an unmarried spinster and she took the little emotional digs her family threw at her but she was still wounded by them.  She hid it well, making those glimpses of sadness that snuck through even more powerful.

Conall came alive for me when he realized that he totally screwed up his courtship of Alexia.  That moment of clarity when he comes to understand that as strong-minded as she is she's not a werewolf was the moment where I not only wanted him to end up with the girl but I wanted him to win her heart and mind.  If she had a soul he could have won that too, but well... probably not going to happen with someone who's soulless.

I enjoyed this entire book.  It was fast paced and dynamic.  I love steampunk as a general rule and Gail Carriger has created such a compelling world that I was deeply smitten.  I loved how the supernatural and science have come together in a mishmash of delights.  This is one series that has been on my to-read list since I first heard of it and I'm glad, glad, glad that I took the plunge and dove on in.

More books by Gail Carriger

Reading challenges: The Paranormal Romance Challenge, The Vampire Challenge, The Morbid Romantica Challenge, The Shifter Challenge, The Steampunk Challenge, The Horror & Urban Fantasy Challenge


  1. Great review, I also loved this book, Alexia is one of the best heroines I think I love her way of looking at the world, it always makes you laugh! I hope yo enjoy the rest of the series!


  2. Under the Covers: I think you hit the nail on the head - I love her way of looking at the world. It's so refreshingly pragmatic.