Review: Soulless by Gail Carriger

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Title: Soulless
Author: Gail Carriger
You'll like this if: You like magic, werewolves, vampires, period films, Victorian London, awesomeness and parasols.

Soulless came to me via a recommendation of one of The Reader's Quill's devoted followers, Jackie. Now if you've followed this website long enough, you know that I've been writing a novel for a while now. So imagine my surprise at reading the jacket of a novel not only set in Victorian London, but also drenched in magical pursuits!

I thought I had died and gone to heaven. Seriously.

Soulless is fun, witty, interesting, sexy and downright funny.

Background on the novel:

Prickly, stubborn 25-year-old bluestocking Alexia Tarabotti is patently unmarriageable, and not just because she's large-nosed and swarthy. She's also soulless, an oddity and a secret even in a 19th-century London that mostly accepts and integrates werewolf packs, vampire hives and ghosts. The only man who notices her is brash Lord Conall Maccon, a Scottish Alpha werewolf and government official, and (of course) they dislike each other intensely. After Alexia kills a vampire with her parasol at a party—how vulgar!—she and Conall must work together to solve a supernatural mystery that grows quite steampunkishly gruesome. Well-drawn secondary characters round out the story, most notably Lord Akeldama, Alexia's outrageous, italic-wielding gay best vampire friend. This intoxicatingly witty parody will appeal to a wide cross-section of romance, fantasy and steampunk fans.

In Short:

Although Soulless may start off a bit slow, it definitely heats up towards the middle. With a bit of magic thrown in for good measure, the novel often reads as a romance novel (See: Lord Maccon), however it is also a lovely representation of Victorian society.

Soulless is a nice mix of fantasy, criticism of society and lethal parasols.

Things I Loved

Alexia - I loved her. Period. Love that she's a spinster, love that she has a deadly parasol, love that she's stubborn. None of these sound like very appealing characteristics to have, but in Alexia it's what makes her awesome.

The mix of fantasy and Victorian mannerisms.

Love the Hives and Werewolves and their respective dynamics.

Love Alexia's parasol.

Thing I Disliked

Could have done with a little less of the insane PDA. Although I don't mind reading it, I think there's something to be said about the tension between two people who are restricted by societal rules. Think Jane Austen. Every time Darcy merely touches her hand we swoon. It's the tension, the wait, that makes us fall in love. I think my main issue with Soulless is that the "falling in love" bit happens too fast. The lack of build up coupled with the seemingly quick overt public (and private) displays of affection seem to happen entirely too fast.

All in All:

If you like period films and fantasy, this is the book for you. However, should you hate romance novels, you might want to steer clear as this one gets pretty steamy.

All in all, Soulless is a fun, smart, charming debut novel by Gail Carriger. Looking forward to book two, Changeless, and all its deadly parasols.

Rating for Soulless by Gail Carriger - A-

P.S. In case you are interested, Gail Carriger has a pretty great website full of Victorian awesomeness. Check it out!


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