Parasol Protectorate #1
Written by: Gail Carriger
Published: October 1, 2009 by Orbit
(Amazon / Goodreads)
Synopsis: 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.
I have wanted to read this book for a very long time. It's been on my TBR for years. Like I learned about it when Borders were still around (RIP Borders) and yet it took me this long to read it. But I am so glad I took the time to read it because it was seriously fantastic.
I have previously read Carriger's YA series which, while written later, takes place chronologically before this series. And honestly, it was great to jump back into Gail's writing. It's full of humor, adventure, and mystery.
One of the things I loved this book is how effortlessly it combined so many different things to create a unique and compelling world. First and foremost, this is historical fiction set in the Victorian era. It addresses so many of the themes I love about books of that period especially when it comes to women and their changing place in society. But it also had great supernatural element. This is a world inhabited by vampires, werewolves, and ghosts. Carriger makes all of that seem both ordinary and interesting with complicated history, lore, and rules around the creatures which inhabit high society along with humans. And finally, it's a steampunk world. There wasn't too much of those elements but it added another interesting wrinkle to the book. But on the whole it all work together to create something so fascinating.
The plot too was absolutely fascinating. This is a book full of action and adventure. Our main character is constantly finding herself in some kind of scrape that she has to either fight her way out of or use her intellect. It made for an interesting plot and kept me on the edge of my seat. It also had a ton of mystery. Little things throughout the story all let up to a big reveal at the end which wasn't super surprising but did keep me engaged.
But I think the best part of this book was the characters. Carriger really knows how to write some quirky and fun characters. First we had our main character of Alexia Tarabotti. And I instantly fell in love with Alexia. She was such a fantastic tough female protagonist. She's sassy and spunky in the best possible way. I love that she's not afraid to show how physically tough she can be put at the same time it is her brains and resourcefulness that helps her more often than not. I also love that she has a mouth on her and that it often gets her into as much trouble as t gets her out of. She doesn't totally fit in with the society types but that just made me root for her even more. I honestly loved her.
I also loved the secondary characters. I of course rekindled my love for Lord Akeldama in this book. He was one of my favorites from the Finishing School series and it was fantastic seeing him a lot more here. And there were a few more characters from the Finishing School series that pop up and it was fun seeing them again (I'm sure most people had this in reverse). But I would be remised if I didn't also mention Lord Maccon. I am not one for romantic moments but I loved every second of this relationship. The flirting, the kissing, the scandalous moments. It was all amazing and had me swooning. I think a lot of that had to do with the banter between the characters and also the fact that I really enjoyed Lord Maccon. He's gruff and no nonsense but also really caring and sweet. I am a fan. Big fan of all these characters.
Soulless was an absolutely fantastic read and a great book that effortless combines history, mystery, and fantasy. It's hilarious and full of action, the characters are amazing, and the world is so engaging. I wasn't planning on reading the rest of the series right away but it's so good that I think I'm hooked and need to read it all now.
I give Soulless by Gail Carriger 9.5 out of 10 stars
Buy/Borrow/Bypass: BUY! If you are like me and you have been wanting to read this series but haven't taken the time, change that. This book was amazing and I can't wait for more. If you are a fan of steampunk and haven't checked this out or are looking for a good historical fantasy I definitely recommend this series.
Have you read Soulless? What did you think? Leave me a comment with your thoughts. Thanks for stopping by and HAPPY READING!