Tuesday, 22 February 2011
Review: Soulless - Gail Carriger
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 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?
Parasol Protectorate Series:
The Curious Case of the Werewolf That Wasn't, the Mummy That Was, and the Cat in the Jar (Novella)
Finishing School Series:
(This is a YA series set in the Parasol Protectorate world but set 25 years before the first book)
Etiquette & Espionage
Curtsies & Conspiracies
Waistcoats & Weaponry
Manners & Mutiny
(A series of standalone adult novellas set in the Parasol Protectorate world featuring characters you may recognise from the other series, they fit into the timeline between the Finishing School and Parasol Protectorate books)
Poison or Protect
Future titles and release dates to be confirmed
Custard Protocol Series:
(This is another adult series set in the Parasol Protectorate world but set several decades after the last book)
Visit Gail Carriger's website for more information
Alexia was born with no soul which means she has the unusual ability to neutralise the supernatural powers of anyone she is touching. At the grand old age of 26, in Victorian London, she has resigned herself to the life of a spinster - having an Italian father and inheriting his Mediterranean looks certainly didn't help her find a husband. After being rudely attacked by a vampire who didn't even bother to introduce himself first she finds herself at the centre of a mystery of disappearing supernatural creatures. But what is really happening to the lone werewolves and rogue vampires? Can Alexia get to the bottom of things before more lives are lost?
I'm fairly new to the steampunk genre but I've had my eye on Gail Carriger's Parasol Protectorate series for a while now and on impulse picked up the first 3 books a couple of weeks ago. I'm so relieved I bought all 3 books because after reading Soulless I can't wait to dig into Changeless and Blameless! This series is an absolute delight combining urban fantasy with Regency romance and of course a nice splash of steampunk and the humour had me laughing out loud more than any other book I've read in ages.
Alexia is a fantastic heroine, she is full of contrasts but it works surprisingly well and creates one of those ones characters that you'd actually love to meet up with in real life. She manages to be both prim and proper like any well brought up Victorian young lady but at the same time she can be surprisingly outrageous. Alexia isn't afraid to stand up for herself and is never far from her trusty parasol but she is also fairly insecure which is hardly surprising considering the attitude of her horrible mother. I love her strange ability to negate the supernatural powers, I've read a lot of paranormal stories and have never come across someone with quite the same talent before and it will be interesting to see how she uses it in the future.
I also adored Lord Maccon the alpha werewolf and chief investigator into the missing supernaturals for BUR (the Bureau of Unnatural Registry). He is an aggressive, arrogant alpha male who doesn't like to be told what to do but he also has an incredibly sweet side that I couldn't resist. I loved the chemistry between Maccon and Alexia but it was the banter between the two that I enjoyed the most, Alexia really comes into her own when it comes to putting Maccon in his place. One of the things I really love about this series is that it doesn't have a typical love triangle which is something I've started to get a little bored of in the books I've been reading recently.
Soulless has a great range of supporting characters from the very camp vampire Lord Akeldama to Alexia's unpleasant family and her very human best friend Ivy not forgetting beta werewolf Professor Lyall and I'm looking forward to seeing more of all of them in future instalments to the series. The writing style may take a little getting used to if you've not read many stories about Victorian England but within a few pages you will be so immersed in the world Gail Carriger has created that you won't even notice. This is a fantastic start to a series and definitely one to add to your wish list if it's not already on there.
If you have reviewed this book on your blog please leave a link to your review in the comments & I'll add the link here.
Paperback / Kindle: