My Thoughts: Wow, this book was a lot of fun to read. The blurb is a spot-on indication of what you'll find in the book - tongue in cheek stuff, a heroine who is a force of nature, and a romance thrown in. The author calls the book an "urbane fantasy", and from what I can see there's an overlap of genres here. There are romantic elements, urban fantasy elements, a very Victorian setting, and a dash of Steampunk. I couldn't help mentally hearing the words in a proper English accent. First, no one here says "parasol", so I had to, and second because of the style of the language. There was even a nod to the old-fashioned in the way the chapters were titled ("Our Heroine Ignores Good Advice" is just one example). Along with the writing, there are a lot of references to fashions, manners and day to day life of the Victorian time period.
This book is also a romance. While this is Victorian England so no sex before marriage, there are serious shenanigans going on that are decidedly more modern than this era. Even knowing what a free spirit Alexia is, there are a few scenes where some artistic license takes place in terms of Alexia's reactions to her love interest. This was a slightly less believable part of Alexia's character, but we're reading a book with werewolves and vampires here, so I didn't dwell on it. The part that irritated me was the repetition of Alexia's "flaws" which she and her family were concerned about: that Italian nose, dark complexion, and inability to be controlled. I'd prefer Alexia to have been less repetitive in worrying about these silly things, thinking no one wants to marry someone like that.
Overall: This book is going to be popular. It's as fun as it looks, I promise you, and I love that this feels like something new. I wanted to pick it up as soon as possible whenever I had to put it down. There's plenty of action, sly wit, and romance going on to keep the pages turning and I will be reading the second book, Changeless.
This is the first book in The Parasol Protectorate series by Gail Carriger. Best I can tell right now this going to be a trilogy. The second book in the series "Changeless" is due out April 2010. This was a fun read; very creative and fast moving.
Alexia is one of the Soulless; basically she was born without a soul. As a Soulless, or preternatural person, she can nullify those with excessive soul, in this case vampires and werewolves. The whole book takes place in an alternate Victorian era Great Britain. The supernaturals have been integrated into British society. Alexia finds her self entangled in a mystery when some vampires and werewolves begin to go missing and other rogue vampires mysteriously appear. Alexia finds that she herself is in danger of being kidnapped. She ends up being involved with the Alpha werewolf of the region, the very muscular and somewhat uncouth, Lord Maccon; in an effort to figure out what is happening. Despite their differences, she finds herself drawn to Lord Maccon and wonders what he wants with a 25 year old spinster like herself.
This book was a fun read. The plot clicks along pretty good pace and Alexia and Lord Maccon have great chemistry together. Alexia is a rebel for her time and has a wonderful biting sense of humor as well as a great sense of self. She is a great character. There were a number of interesting characters in this book; from Alexia's flamboyant rogue vampire friend, to Lord Maccon, to Alexia's butler...the characters are what propel this story and make it intriguing.
There is also a lot of clever world-building in this book. The way Carriger has integrated the supernatural population into Victorian London is clever and seamless. I really enjoyed this twist on the legions of paranormal books out there. The book had me laughing out loud at many points. The scenes between Lord Maccon and Alexia were done tastefully and were very steamy and enrapturing; throwing a good dash of Victorian romance into this book. All in all it was a hard book to put down and when I was finished with it I wanted more.
There were only a couple small things that irritated me about this book. The first was the continuous descriptions of Alexia; we read about her strong nose and olive toned skin a billion times. It got old and I started skimming over many of the repetitive descriptions. I also thought that the story didn't have as much bite as it should have; the action scenes were only so-so and the peril never really seemed as perilous as it should have. Because of this the book seemed a bit fluffly to me at times; that's not to say it wasn't a fun read...it was just more fluff than substance at parts.
All in all I did really enjoy this book. It is a great start to a new series and I absolutely cannot wait to read the next book "Changeless".
I smiled the entire time I read this book.
Much of the pleasure in reading Soulless is in the telling of the story as the story itself. Gail Carriger is a wordsmith and has created more than just an introduction to a new series, instead she has also given us a work which is simply delightful to read in how she plays with words and context. With chapter titles such as such as "Our Heroine Ignores Good Advice", Carriger provides a wink and a nudge to the literary style of the era in which the book is set.
Like all series firsts, Soulless introduces us to characters, world builds and lays the foundation on which the series will be built. There is also romance, adventure, mystery and some truly appalling hats -- all of which put a smile on my face.
Even though some of the humor might be lost on younger readers who might not be as familiar with 19th century England, I would venture to guess that there are many who would enjoy this series regardless. There is some nudity (you can't have werewolves without nudity), sex and violence but it's less graphic than the vampire academy series which is a young adult series and as such, I would be comfortable with this series in the hands of ninth graders who might get some of the humor after having slogged through some authors from the era in which the series is set.
I honestly enjoyed this book and I am sure it will popular, it's as fun to read as the cover is to look at.
I must be the oddball out here, but I lost intrest in this book about 1/2 way through. The writing style grew tiresome to me after a while. When you get to the point where you are forcing yourself to read just to finish, it takes the enjoyment out.
While the beginning of the book kept my full attention, as it wore on, it started to slow down. I got to the point I just didnt care about it anymore. :(
I dont think this will be a series that I follow.
Sometimes I thought I was reading a great Amanda Quick novel (i.e., prior to her last few novels of paranormal) but then in pops werewolf and soulless!! What a mind bender!! Loved the book and the quirkiness. Gail magically entwines Victorian life, humor and werewolves. Great new author!!