Monday, August 9, 2010

SOULLESS by Gail Carriger: My Review

There's a new rising star in the steampunk genre, and her name is Gail Carriger. You've likely heard me talking about her book, Soulless, for the past month or so, calling it "Jane Austen meets Buffy". Her voice and characters truly are delightful! Fans of Austen, Victorian London, alternate histories, the supernatural, and steampunk will all find something to love in the Parasol Protectorate series, as it is called.

Summary (from the book jacket)

Alexia Tarabotti is labouring 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?

In an interview at the back of my e-copy, Gail Carriger said:
 "If immortals were mucking about, wouldn't they have been mucking about for a very long time? A speculation arose: what if all those strange and unexplainable bends in history were the result of supernatural interference? At which point I asked myself, what's the weirdest most eccentric historical phenomenon of them all? Answer: the Great British Empire. Clearly, one tiny little island could only conquer half the known world with supernatural aid. Those absurd Victorian manners and ridiculous fashions were obviously dictated by vampires. And, without a doubt, the British army regimental system functioned on werewolf pack dynamics."

Don't you just love her already? Well, pick up Soulless, and it will be clinched. Her debut novel is extraordinarily well-written, tightly plotted, and humorous. And I'm not the only one who thinks so! Check out this review from a man! A man!

I found the main character charming and flabbergasting, much as Lord Maccon finds her, coincidentally. She's not overly feminine, which is part of her charm. She's more interested in treacle tart than she ought to be, for one. She carries a silver-tipped parasol for another. And finally, she insists upon reading all the latest scientific thought, making her much too educated for her mother's liking. The flabbergasting part is how insecure she is about her attractiveness. In a way, I suppose it's charming, too. But I was ready to shake her near the end when she was still unsure of the main man's amorous feelings for her.

In the end.... No, I'm not going to give away the end. And I must warn you that reading the summary blurb on Book the Second of the Parasol Protectorate series will give away a very important plot point from Book the First. So don't do it. You will want to enjoy every delicious second of hairy, sweaty, supernatural suspense.

*Warning to parents: not a YA novel. Sexy scenes imminent.

If you need further encouragement to buy the book, check out this fanmade book trailer.


  1. Soulless was definitely a very fun novel to read, especially for the voice alone. :D

  2. I've been dying to read this since FOREVER. Definitely going to pick up my copy soon. What's not to love about a lady with a penchant for treacle tart? :)


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