Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Soulless – Gail Carriger

Soulless by Gail Carriger
Published: October, 2009
Format: Paperback, 373 pages
Publisher: Orbit Publishing
Genre: Steampunk/Fantasy/Adult
Interactive Website: Alexia’s London

Summary – Book Cover
Alexia Tarabotti is labouring 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 vampireand 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 is 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 the first book in the Alexia Tarabotti Series. Alexia Tarabotti is a spinster, she’s also soulless and half-Italian; that does not bode well for her what with living in Victorian London and all . . . it’s definitely not good for her. Actually, she’s the bane of her mother’s existence and Lord Maccons’ too.
Miss Tarabotti is really rather disagreeable and a touch too progressive for her time. She seems to be of a suspicious nature, is not given to smiling, not frivolous, talks a mile a minute, is mostly sarcastic and is rather fond of gesticulating any opportunity she gets. Basically my kind of girl, if Mademoiselle Alexia was real (she’s real enough in my head but that’s an entirely different issue altogether...) we’d totally be best friends.
Also for a lady of the 1800’s where women were supposed to look delicate and not eat a lot she sure liked to eat, a lot and drink copious amounts of tea too. As in she was not the bunny-like-lettuce-munching type either, more like hearty meals and scones and treacle tarts etc.
After reading Soulless I have decided I just need to have a black lacy frilly parasol with brass hardware and a silver tip filled with buckshot, Alexia’s favourite accessory, features prominently throughout the whole book and is my new obsession to boot.
Lord Conall Maccon the other ‘main’ character is just too funny, why I do believe dear Miss Tarabotti shall cause him to really blow his gasket one of these days. Whenever those two (Alexia & Conall) happen to be in the same room you immediately know that one a disaster has most definitely occurred and two laughter is bound to ensue, the giggling incessantly kind and lots of it.
Lastly, I should note that after Alexia I am particularly taken with Professor Lyall (he’s a supporting character in the cast so to speak but features quite prominently in the book also; he’s Lord Maccons’ beta), he is a bit of a mystery and at the same time really straightforward.
Soulless is a cross between a Richelle Mead book and a Jane Austen novel. If you enjoy the classics, and have enjoyed reading Death’s Mistress and Touch the Dark by Karen Chance as well as Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead then you will enjoy this, they’re not the same but they do share some common characteristics such as the paranormal elements (i.e. vampires and werewolves) and the period aspect (in Karen Chance’s novels the heroine and her menagerie ‘hop’ back and forth though the present and the past in different timelines/periods).
All in all a cracking good read. A real pick me up. J

Author Bio
Gail Carriger writes to cope with being raised in obscurity by an expatriate Brit and an incurable curmudgeon. She escaped small town life for the historic cities of Europe and inadvertently acquired an education. She now resides in the Colonies with a harem of Armenian lovers, surrounded by fantastic shoes and tea imported from London. She has several degrees in Higher Learning. Ms. Carriger is fond of teeny tiny hats and tropical fruit. The Parasol Protectorate books are: Soulless (October 2009), Changeless (March 2010), Blameless (September 2010), Heartless (July 2011), and Timeless (2012). Soulless won the ALA's Alex Award. Her new series are set in the same universe as the Alexia Tarabotti Novels aka The Parasol Protectorate Series and is called the Finishing School series, this –unlike the Alexia T Series which is for adults– is for young adults.
(Author information here is a mish-mash of the bio found on the book cover and the one on the author’s website. I pretty much haven’t changed it –as I think it is brilliantly witty and funny as is– just mildly rephrased a couple things in order to fuse the two without repeating any info.)

Post to follow - my brother’s escapades from Friday the 15th after being back in the country for 8 brief days only so far. A little warning it involves black humour; weirdness and a little morbid-ness, well to me that is, don’t know how others will take it.

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Reviews, Stories and Articles by Maria Bitar are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

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