Soulless by Gail Carriger (October 1st 2009—Orbit)
Grade: 4.5 stars out of 5
Summary: “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: I expected greatness from this book. I expected a holy crap, ohmyeffinggodthisissogood! moment. I expected coming out from this book that I would pretty much find Gail Carriger, hold her tea hostage and demand the sequel. And by golly I got what I wanted! And yes, this review will be so improper that it won’t even make sense. I will also have you know that this particular document file has been open then closed so often that it’s been several months since I last read the book.
Soulless’s biggest selling point was the narration. The voice was equal parts charm and equal parts snark. Alexia is a strong female character and that came through with her actions. She’s not afraid to threaten people into shape with her brass silver-tipped parasol and perform some scientific investigation on the opposite sex’s…anatomy. She’s innocent, which makes her action more laugh out loud funny. You can’t help but sympathize to whoever has the misfortunate to be landed by Alexia’s steady and calculating gaze.
My second kudos goes to the setting and world Carriger devises. Set in Victorian London with multitude ruffled skirts and perfectly ties cavat knots, the author manages to incorporate the fantasy element of vampires and werewolves effortlessly. Everything makes sense! And thank goodness, vampires drink blood!
My biggest issue, however, was the political side. I was ever so lost in the biz. There are also several characters that I believed were not needed in the novel.
Overall: This was my first time reading steampunk novels and am I ever exciting that this was my first! Carriger definitely left a highly amusing, whimsically fun first impression!