Monday, 9 January 2012

Soulless by Gail Carriger **Review**

Soulless by Gail Carriger
Series: The Parasol Protectorate #1
Pages: 291
Publisher: Orbit
Release date: 2nd September 2010
Buy: Book Depository | Amazon UK | Waterstone's | Amazon US

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.

Well, where to start?! I suppose Alexia would want me to begin at the beginning, so that is where I shall begin.
At first I found this novel a little difficult to adjust to - it is written in a style not all too different from that of the great, British authors of the 19th century, and so, to begin with, takes a little more concentration. After only the first chapter though, I found myself settling into the style, and eventually I came to really enjoy it.
The novel is written in a sophisticated and elegant manner, that suits the time period, characters and plot extremely well. The novel manages to keep up this sophistication throughout, but leaves room for the wit and humour of the author to shine through effectively - and the novel is definitely witty and humorous! This is mostly thanks to the protagonist, the brilliantly intelligent and strong-willed Alexia Tarabotti. I don't think I have loved a character this much since I was first introduced to Sookie Stackhouse, from Charlaine Harris' True Blood series - and this is a great compliment indeed! Alexia is so fiercely intelligent, and well - fierce - that she can talk most of the other characters in the novel into submission if need be, mostly eliminating the need for a thump with that trusty parasol of hers (although the thumps she does deliver are particularly satisfying, have no doubt!). As you can see, the written style of the novel has rubbed off on my own writing of this review - this is how effective and oddly compelling it is!

The novel not only has sophistication, wit and humour, but action, suspense, thrills and romance too! Buckets full of it! The plot is a complicated and satisfying one that leaves no detail, no matter how small, unexplored - this includes the ever-so important dress sense of each character (an untidy cravat is an almost inexcusable offence!). The details of the novel make the novel particularly, and adorably quirky - Lord Akeldama's outrageous dress sense, Ivy's truly terrifying hats, and of course, that poor, abused treacle tart (what a waste!).

Soulless is an absolute delight full of the most wonderful, fantastical treasures, that will almost certainly leave you wanting more! I highly recommend this series to anyone with an interest in general fantasy, urban fantasy, romance and steampunk!

Gail Carriger has very kindly agreed to an interview at Pen to Paper.
to read it!


huda said...

wow fabulous post
new follower of ur blog
now follow my blog

aLmYbNeNr said...

I'm so glad you enjoyed SOULLESS! I hope you get to read the other books soon. This series is amazing. Thanks for the review!

The Musings of ALMYBNENR

Chocolate Chunky Munkie said...

Dani you know how much I love this series. So imagine my delight when I saw 5 stars from you, well I did a little dance round the room :D Yay!! I hope you enjoy the series. I'm eagerly waiting for the next book to come out in a few months time :)

Love Jen x

toni d. said...

You're interviewing Gail Carriger!??!?!??! *SQUEEEEEEEEEEEEEAL!!!* I'm so excited! I just read this book a few days ago and got totally hooked!

Pen to Paper said...

I'm hooked too, Toni!! And yes, it'll be in the next couple of weeks sometime :) The questions are all sent off. They are suitably quirky for Miss Carriger ;)

:) Dani.

petoskystone said...

On the wish list this one goes!

primrose said...

I've always wanted to read this. Great review Dani!

Aurian said...

I loved this series, so glad you enjoyed it too!

Lisa Richards/alterlisa said...

I've so been meaning to start this series. Thanks for reminding me why!

Lilydh14 said...

Awesome! Thanks!

The Lovely Getaway said...

Havnet heard much about this one but I will admit, it sounds rather intriguing :)

Thanks for sharing!

KaylaBeck said...

I've looked at the cover of this book a few times, but I'm definitely interested since the protagonist is comparative to Sookie (pre-fairy nonsense, I hope). :)

Andra said...

I ADORE the parasol protectorate! I'm glad to see you have been made a fan as well! I can't wait for the next book in the series and the spinoff!

IdentitySeeker said...

I've had this book lying on my shelf for almost half a year now and I feel so guilty for not having picked it up as yet. Thanks for sharing your thoughts:)

Sarah Bibi Setar @ Random Thoughts of a Confused Adolescent

Linda Henderson said...

I've been wanting to read this series but haven't managed to pick them up yet. I'm glad to know a little more about it so thanks for the honest review. I can't wait to start this series.

Christina Fiorelli said...

I know what you mean about having to adjust to styles, but since it's a Victorian comedy of manners the style probably puts you right in the setting.

Glad it's also funny with great characters (you must really love the heroine as you thought about how she'd want you to begin the review:)

Krista said...

I love this series. I even got my friend who doesn't read any sort of historical romances hooked on it.

Christina Fiorelli said...

This sounds like an incredible series!!

I love the concept and the characters:)

passant said...

i m glad i found someone else who like soulless, i loved that book, i liked the romance, adventure and its mystery, however i didnt get most of the jokes and the ones that i did wasnt that funny, but that is only my opinion.

Jaime Lester said...

I have come across this several times, but I always passed for some reason. I had never read a review on it until I ran across yours. I think I will have to stop and picj Soulless up next time I see instead of just passing in by. It seems like a great read. Thanks for your review. This one, and all of the rest!

Kali Skittles said...

I picked this book up at a used bookstore for $2 recently! I'm so excited to start it, I definitely think it's going to be such a wonderful book/series. I actually hadn't seen this one, but I always saw the newest one around on blogs so when I picked this up I hadn't even realized it was part of that series I'd been seeing. I was just sold on the little tagline on the book!

Karin said...

I love Gail's books so much and I really can't get enough of Alexia. Was my first steampunk novel and definitly not my last.

Meishuu said...

Soulless quickly became one of my favourites books. Alexia is such a well written female character, which is rare thing to find nowadays
(or maybe I just have high standards?)

Papy said...

I love this series,it makes me laugh so hard!Gail Carriger is a genius for creating such characters.I,for one,can't get enough of Lord Maccon&Alexia,they're so..perfect for each other;I can't seem to remember anytime when they were not bickering.Great review!

Holly said...

I just finished reading this a couple weeks ago and LOVED everything about it!
The characters are so witty. I think Alexia and Lord Maccon are such a great match!

Midu Hadi said...

I've heard a lot of people say that they had trouble with this book in the beginning. I loved it from the very first page!

Dovile said...

Thanks for the review! I didn't know if I might be interested in this one, but I'll add it to my WL now:)

Jaime Lester said...

I know that i have commented before, but I had to come back to it. I STILL have not read this book. I think there may be something wrong with me somewhere. So many people adore this series. Ugh. It is about dang time. I just needed to read your review once more, to refresh myself for the next time I head to the library.

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