5 Bat Review: Soulless by Gail Carriger

April 16, 2010 Uncategorized 1

*Disclosure: I received this book courtesy of Orbit Books

Book Description

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?

SOULLESS is a comedy of manners set in Victorian London: full of werewolves, vampires, dirigibles, and tea-drinking.

Book 1 in The Parasol Protectorate Series

If you’re a fan of Elizabeth Peters’ Amelia Peabody Series and always thought the one thing they were missing was a healthy dose of werewolves and vampires, you will love SOULLESS. I know I did.

The world building is familiar with it’s treatment of werewolves, but presents a welcome twist on vampires likening them to bees or ants in terms of structure with one queen ruling over each hive. The queen alone has the ability to make new vampires.

The real departure from traditional paranormal lore is the concept of soul and how the amount of soul an individual possesses impacts their ability to become a werewolf or vampire. Only those with an abundance of soul will survive the bite and transform.

As the titles suggests, the main character Alexia Tarabotti is something of an anomaly even in a world populated by supernatural creatures. She was born without a soul, what the book calls a preternatural. Basically she is the antithesis of supernaturals, even her touch will temporarily strip them of their abilities; bye-bye vampire fangs, see you later werewolf fur.

In addition to solid world building, the romantic tension between Alexia and Lord Maccon (aka the Alpha of the London werewolf pack) is among the best I’ve read in years. It’s tantalizing and teasing all at the same time. Lord Maccon reminds me a bit of Curran from the Kate Daniels series, especially in his approaching Alexia according to pack rules rather than human rules.

However you classify it (I’m calling it Victorian Paranormal), SOULLESS is a must read. The writing is packed full of wit and intelligent humor. The romantic tension completely satisfying, and the world building equal parts fresh and familiar. Bottom line, SOULLESS is an utter joy to read on every imaginable level. Changeless is out now, and Blameless will be released on September 1, 2010.

Sexual Content: References to homosexuality. A few scenes of sensuality. One sex scene.

My Rating (out of 5):
imageimageimageimageimageNear Perfect – Buy two copies: one for you and one for a friend.

Click HERE to read an excerpt from SOULLESS

Product Details

  • imageMass Market Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Orbit; Original edition (October 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316056634
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316056632

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