Soulless (Parasol Protectorate #1)
Author: Gail Carriger
Publication: October 1st, 2009
Format: Kindle Edition, 388 pages
Genre: Adult, Steampunk, Historical Fiction
Read: July 2015
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
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.
Plot – 4 out of 5 stars
I loved this! It was entertaining, suspenseful and intriguing. It was full of mystery with a sprinkle of action. There were parts that were really dark and creepy and completely and totally freaked me out. But definitely my favorite part of the whole thing is that its historically accurate with a splash of supernatural, definitely unique and interesting.
Writing Style – 4 out of 5 stars
Along with the plot, the writing style is historically accurate. It takes awhile to get used to because its so verbose but once you get in the rhythm, its super easy to fly through. The pace is so fast but it doesn’t deter from the amazing world-building and the really great descriptions. The best part of the writing style is that its hilarious. I could not stop laughing the whole time because it was super dry and sarcastic just like our heroine.
Characters – 5 out of 5 stars
I absolutely adore every single one of these characters. They are all so complex and interesting and they work so well together. Their bounce off each other in a way that’s heartfelt and hilarious. Alexa, our main character, is amazing! She’s the perfect female protagonist for me, sassy, witty and strong. She has an independent streak which kind of contradicts the times that she’s in but it just makes her that much more awesome. She’s smart and strong and passionate about the things she likes while still maintaining the majority of the ladylike behaviors that plague a woman of her social standing. I wish I could plant myself in this world just to be her friend. Conall Maccon, our male counterpart, is just as opinionated as her but just a little bit more clueless. He’s a werewolf so obviously he’s strong, fierce and tough. A little rough around the edges but with great intentions all the time. He’s protective of his pack and the people he loves and passionate about what he feels is right. The supporting characters are all fun and eclectic. There’s more werewolves, vampires, crazy scientists, uptight families, and hat wearing best friends. They’re all special in their own way and bring a different kind of comedy to the cast. Love them!
I was absolutely blown away by this book. I was completely entertained the whole way through and I laughed my ass off like never before.
The plot is really interesting. We start right off into the action with our main character killing a vampire who’s trying to bite her with her parasol while at a party. If that doesn’t sound bizarre but hilarious at the same time, I don’t know what does. The entire thing is just the right amount of mysterious and funny to keep you hooked the whole way. There are some strange things happening in London and Alexia, being the curious person that she is and becoming involved because that incident I just mentioned, starts to investigate. This gets her into a lot of crazy and improper situations which are just hilarious. I know I’ve used that word a lot but when I read this book with my book club buddies, we could not stop laughing the entire time. Since it is steampunk, there’s a lot of strange science involved. There are a lot of familiar gadgets to what we have but they have different names and are a bit more elaborate than usual. It was very well described and I never felt like I couldn’t imagine what they were trying to say. It definitely added an intriguing aspect to the story that went beyond just the plot and more into the entire world as a whole. There is also an romance subplot I guess you can say. There’s a bunch of UST (unresolved sexual tension) and banter between the two main characters and its incredible. It’s not the focus of the book but it keeps your attention as well. I spent chapters just begging for Alexia and Conall to be in the same room.
Alexia is amazing! She’s sassy and harsh. She says just what she has in her brain and has no care in the world for what people think of her. She knows how different she is, from her family and from society, and she just owns it, she’s proud of it. She follows social regulations while still being herself and that’s what I liked most about her. The only thing that bothered me was her personal perception. She’s a spinster and Italian (with a big nose and curvaceous body.) It’s understood that in that time it’s the “norm” or the most desirable but it was a bit annoying and sad how much she put herself down because of it. I hope in the next books that tapers down a bit.
Conall was hilarious and cute! He’s totally clueless about anything not having to do with being a werewolf, meaning romance. It took him a bit to get his act together but still it was endearing. Professor Lyall is Conall’s Beta of the pack and his best friend you could say. He’s the guy that’s focused on keeping his Alpha sane and well dressed and he’s freaking awesome. A bit stoic but it doesn’t deter from having his personality shine through. Lord Akeldama is one of Alexia’s close friends and he just happens to be a vampire. He is quite eccentric, in absolutely everything he does, clothing, home decor, lifestyle, etc. I loved him and his strange nicknames. And last but not least, we have Alexia’s best friend, Ivy, who’s a lot clueless but completely sweet and caring. She has an awful tendency of wearing the ugliest hats imaginable which drives her best friend nuts and brings a lot of hilarious commentary on the look of those special hats.
So that’s it for this review! Thanks for reading and let me know what you think! I am officially obsessed with this series so don’t be surprised if you see more reviews for future books. See you on my next post!