Saturday, 14 August 2010
Review: Soulless By Gail Carriger
Author: Gail Carriger
About the book
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?
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Series: The Parasol Protectorate, book #1
Published: 1st October 2009
Website: Gail Carriger
Alexia Tarabotti is a 26 year old spinster who is intelligent and fashionable, who is prone to dark skin and drinks a lot of tea! Always found with her parasol and two hair pins made of silver and wood, she would one day like to fly in a dirigible. She also happens to be a preternatural, “Soulless” which is almost as embarrassing as having an Italian father.
A preternatural is born without a soul. When she touches a supernatural Alexia effectively neutralises them, the vampires fang retreat and the werewolf becomes human again. Alexia accidentally kills a rogue vampire at start of book with a wooden hat pin when she is attacked. She is most perturbed when he did not seem to know she was a preternatural!
Alexia is a wonderfully strong and interesting character. She is very much the alpha female, yet manages to do this within the social constraints of 1870’s London!
In the Victorian London world created by Gail Carriger, vampires and werewolves have been integrated into society. Queen Victoria even has a werewolf and a vampire advisor (dewan and potentate) who we are told have helped immensely in developing the British Empire. The werewolves are, of course, lead by their alpha - Lord Macon while the vampires live in hives. This world is very enjoyable and the requirements of Victorian society makes a wonderful contrast with werewolf society, Lord Macon finding it especially difficult to maintain the proper etiquette around the full moon!
There are many excellent characters in Soulless. Lord Aceldama, Alexia’s eccentric flamboyant friend who happens to be a gay vampire. Professor Lyall, the beta werewolf, carries his role as ‘second’ to Lord Macon wonderfully in a capable and humorous way! Not forgetting Miss Hisselpenny with her questionable taste in hats and Floote the butler.
Soulless is not primarily a romance but there is Lord Macon who Alexia has been at odds with since “The Hedgehog Incident”, who it turns out rather like Alexia after all!
The style and language takes a little getting used to but once you do it helps build the atmosphere of Victorian London.
Souless is humorous and very well written with a little bit of mystery mixed in with the fantasy and it may just leave you hankering after a treacle tart! Well worth the read and I’m very much looking forward to reading the second book in the Parasol Protectorate series, Changeless!