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Review: Soulless by Gail Carriger

Soulless (The Parasol Protectorate #1) by Gail Carriger
Urban Fantasy, Werewolves, Vampires, Steampunk
Mass Market Paperback (ORBIT, 384 pages, $7.99)
ISBN# 0316056634
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.

Author Site: gailcarriger.com

Quirky, Jocular Tale of Victorian London's Unnatural Side (3 stars)

When a vampire attacked Miss Alexia Tarabotti, the snarky spinster of Italian descent, she certainly didn't mean to kill him. But he did ruin a perfectly good treacle tart before pouncing upon her. Enter barely civilized werewolf and BUR (Bureau of Unnatural Registry) agent, Lord Maccon to investigate the matter by order of the Queen herself. The two have never quite been on fully peaceable terms, ever squabbling wittily back and forth.

Following her attack Alexia becomes the target of strange happenings and with new, unsanctioned vampires popping up it's only a matter of time before she finds herself in trouble again. Toss in some werewolf trouble, an American scientist showing an interest in Miss Tarabotti and a best friend with horrifying taste in head coverings and you have quite an adventure for a Victorian lady who's been on the shelf since she was fifteen.

Soulless is delightfully quirky and snarky, two things I reeeeeally enjoy in a book. Alexia is an independant, intelligent woman who happens to be very much a bull in the social china shop. Her head-butting relationship with Lord Maccon is amusing most of the time though at a point I began to wonder if there was ever really going to be anything to come of the obvious "I hate you so much because we're perfect for each other" sort of chemistry I was seeing. The secondary characters are all nicely established and for their part equally as interesting as our heroine. I will say that for some reason many of their names are just plain odd and I found them annoying as I mentally stumbled over a few of them. Just a small peeve on my part, sorry!

The story itself has some steampunky tech elements but didn't really sit with me as a steampunk story though that was what had sold me on it. I found it to be more of an alternate history-ical urban fantasy and that was okay by me. Overall though the whole missing vampires and new vampires plot came out really flat to me, almost as if it were an afterthought when the author had great characters and wasn't sure how to play with them. What it does do though is set up for a series that I think will be pretty unique and certainly entertaining.

If you're into historical romance and urban fantasy I think this book melds the two genres into a pretty neat package. It's on the lighter side, lots of humor and hilarity not at all the dark broody stuff much of the urban fantasy genre is known for. I loved the girl-power elements too. Enjoy!

Other Reviews:

KB @ Babbling About Books, and More!
Smexy Books
KindleVixen @ Amazon.com

Notes: I bought this book at an online bookstore.

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