Review: Soulless by Gail Carriger

Publisher: Orbit (October 1, 2009)
Paperback: 384 pages
Price: $7.99 from Amazon
Summary: from [goodreads]
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?


Review: Soulless was definitely not what I was expecting... but that didn’t make it any less good. I really don’t know how to describe this book: witty, adorable, fun, unique… What other words can you use to describe a passionate, pragmatic, Italian, and young British lady of good breeding that happens to not only lack a soul, but also kills a vampire with her steel-tipped parasol, of all things? And, in addition, seems to fancy a certain very eligible, messy bachelor werewolf and enjoys the company of a centuries-old male vampire that dresses up in multi-colored frocks and likes handsome young men? Hm, well maybe I could relate to that last part… ;)

First, bloody brilliant setting! Loved the time period and how Gail Carriger threw in some reference to scientific advances. And she gave the perfect amount of historical reference, just enough to make me interested and the setting more realistic and not enough to make me bored. The whole werewolf-vampire relationship in conjunction to the crown is very intriguing, and I found the systems to be believable and fairly intricate but understandable. And that’s actually one of the main things I liked about Soulless, how Gail Carriger was able to take the werewolves and vampires, which are getting a bit cliché these days, and give her own little twist to their little cliques.

Now, to tell the truth, it took me a while to get into the writing. Reading Soulless made me realize that it’s actually been a really, who-knows-how-long time since I’ve read a young adult novel in third person, and, at first, I felt sort of excluded and a little disconnected from the plot and characters. That being said, after the initial introduction, I got used to and enjoyed Gail’s writing style, which has an interesting way of noting the inner thoughts of all the characters while still managing to focus on Miss Alexia Tarabotti. And I loved Alexia! She’s stubborn, sort of eccentric, witty, and just basically everything that made her her. From her mannerisms to her love of food, Gail Carriger manages to pinpoint Alexia’s unique personality exactly. And, of course, yummy love interest here (look at the “romance” section). Plot-wise, the first 2/3 of the book were enjoyable, but I simply could not put the book down in the last 100 pages or so! Intense.

In the end, I still don’t know how to describe Soulless; it’s so hard to flatten this 3-D book down to paper. I guess I'm just have to settle by saying Soulless was a breath of welcomed, though unexpected, fresh air that you should try to intake with an open mind.

Romance: HOT. Search up Lord Maccon this is what you’ll find:
Thesaurus: “n. dark; commanding; powerful. Upon deeper inspection: sweet; caring; sensitive.”
Dictionary: “n. gorgeous werewolf that will make you swoon upon contact of any of his oh-so-deliciously lean muscles and make you want to marry him. now.
Cover: 3.5
Writing: 4.5
Characters: 5.0
Plot: 4.5

Bottom Line: Soulless made its own twist on the traditional werewolf-vampire dynamic by throwing in a certain preternatural named Alexia Tarabotti, a few mystery disappearances, a very English setting, and, of course, a tray of treacle tarts. Gail Carriger is a new, unique YA voice that I would definitely recommend to any fan of the paranormal looking for something witty and just a tad bit out of the ordinary fish bowl. As for me, I will definitely be reading Changeless, the sequel coming out in May 2010!