Book: Soulless (Parasol Protectorate #1) by Gail Carriger

Genre: Paranormal, Steampunk, Romance

Title: Soulless

Author: Gail Carriger

Release Date: 1 October 20009

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Summary: 

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?

What I Liked:

I love so much about this book.  I love Alexia Tarabotti for being such an interesting, unconventional heroine, especially in for the time-period.  She’s not pale, not thin, and definitely not afraid to speak her mind.  Her attitude brings so much life and humor to the book.

The author is amazing in her inclusion of LGBT characters to her Victorian society.  I love having LGBT characters that are fully realized, nuanced, and important to the story be included, since so many authors either don’t include any LGBT characters, make just a passing mention either them or their LGBT-ness, or have a LGBT character who is there just for representation purposes.  Lord Akeldama plays a very big role in this story.  He is well-known, powerful, likable, and sympathetic.  He may seem to be a bit of a stereotype, but considering he’s a contemporary of Oscar Wilde, I can give that a pass.

The author has created a very interesting world here.  She manages to create her own mythologies for paranormal creatures that are interesting and logical.  The paranormal is integrated very well into the Victorian time period.  It’s amazing how much world building is managed in this book without the reader even noticing.  Everything flows so smoothly, you don’t even realize how many details that the author has had to create and include to create this world.

What I Didn’t:

I personally really enjoyed the silly, tongue-in-cheek style that this book is written in, but I can definitely tell that it’s not for everyone.  The very over the top and flowery writing could easily get on a person’s nerves if they were not in the correct mood for this book.  Also, it is best to go into this book with an open mind as to the standard paranormal mythologies concerning vampires, werewolves, ghosts, etc.

Finally, this book does get rather romance-y at times, which is something that I always seem to forget about until I reread it.  While much of the book focuses on the paranormal and mystery elements, the romance/sexy time are very much part of the story, but if that’s not really your thing, I would recommend just skimming over it instead of avoiding the book altogether.

(Fun fact: Years ago, I recommended this book for a Sci-fi/Fantasy book group that I was part of.  Everyone enjoyed it, including the men, so don’t let the romance bits deter you!)

Overall:

This book is silly, strange, and wholly unique.  It’s a light, easy read that also contains some intriguing new paranormal mythologies and an engaging mystery.  I love all of the characters.  They all have distinctive voices and silly little quirks that make them seem more real, despite the fantastical creatures and situations.  I absolutely love seeing the manners of Victorian society be so tied into the structure of the paranormal society.  This book seems to have a bit of everything: bits of humor, bit of horror, bits of romance.  Soulless is definitely one of my favorite books, and I have a feeling that I’ll be rereading it many times in the future.

My Rating: 5/5

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