Friday, November 26, 2010

Soulless by Gail Carriger

Have you read any steampunk yet?  Wikipedia defines steampunk as a "sub-genre of science fiction, alternate fiction, and speculative fiction....Specifically, steampunk involves an era or world where steam power is still widely used—usually the 19th century and often Victorian era Britain —that incorporates prominent elements of either science fiction or fantasy."  Every list that I read mentioned Gail Carriger's books as an example of steampunk, so I finally picked up Soulless, the first in her Parasol Protectorate series.  I loved it!

Carriger said she wanted to write urban fantasy.  It could be considered urban fantasy.  I'd rather think of it as the best of Georgette Heyer and Jane Austen, a Regency romance with werewolves, vampires, suspense, and Victorian England thrown in the mix.  Carriger's heroine, Alexia Tarabotti has a number of issues to face in society.  Of course, there's her deceased Italian father, who gave her a dark complexion and an Italian nose, totally out of fashion.  She's an opinionated spinster at the age of twenty-six.  And, she has no soul.

Since "Soullessness always neutralized supernatural abilities," when Alexia was attacked by a rove vampire during a ball, she tried to neutralize him.  When he continued to attack, she finally killed him with a wooden hair stick and her brass parasol.  Within minutes, Lord Connall Maccon, Earl of Woolsey, and Alpha of the local werewolves, turned up, with his Beta, to clean up the mess.  As the supernatural liaison to the Bureau of Unnatural Registry (BUR), and an agent of Queen Victoria's Shadow Parliament, it was his responsibility to handle attacks by rove vampires and werewolves.  Maccon felt as if Alexia was always turning up in the wrong places, and she knew he rubbed her the wrong way.  But, her natural curiosity led to a discovery that vampires and werewolves were disappearing, so it wasn't long before she and Maccon formed an uneasy alliance.   In the midst of kidnappings, disappearances, and burglaries, the two developed an animal attraction for each other.

Soulless is a fascinating story, relating an alternate history in which supernatural beings became part of society and government in Britain, while still being hunted in America.  The book has an interesting mix of pseudo-science, alternate history, and mystery.  Someone is behind the disappearance of vampires and werewolves, and BUR needs to solve that mystery, with a little help from Alexia Tarabotti.  Carriger has managed to bring wit and sexy romance to this story, if you're a reader who likes the dominant Alpha male and a strong-willed, opinionated female.  Gail Carriger's Soulless creates a fascinating Victorian England, with two characters I love.  I can't wait to return to Carriger's Britain, with Changeless.

Gail Carriger's website is http://www.gailcarriger.com/

Soulless by Gail Carriger.  Orbit, ©2009. ISBN 9780316056632 (paperback), 384p.

*****
FTC Full Disclosure - Library book

12 comments:

Pamela Keener said...

I have seen these titles throughout the blogs I have read but mainly just skimmed over them thinking I don't know..........
Well when I saw that you were reviewing it I took a 2nd glance.
It really does sound interesting and witty. I may have to add this to my Christmas wishlist.
Thanks for the review,
Love & Hugs,
Pam

Lesa said...

I wasn't sure either, Pam, even when a friend said she read them. Once I started Soulless, I said to her, no one said this was Georgette Heyer & Jane Austen with vampires & werewolves. I normally don't read the vampire/werewolf books, but this is fun.

You're welcome!

Elizabeth said...

Ooh, sounds interesting. How many books in the series?

Lesa said...

Well, there are 3 in the series at the moment, Elizabeth, with a 4th due out, I think, in April. And, from the author's website, it appears there will be more. Now's the time to check it out when you only have to read 3!

Sheila Beaumont said...

I just started reading it last night. It's really fun!

Lesa said...

I'm glad you like it, Sheila. It is fun, isn't it? I like Alexia and Lord Maccon.

Maria said...

I liked the first half...but it got pretty unbelievable in the second half/last part. I do read a lot of urban fantasy...I dunno. This was more like a romance novel with ... unusual characters!

Lesa said...

That's true, Maria. That's why I said it was Georgette Heyer or Jane Austen with vampires and werewolves. It is much more a romance novel with unusual characters than an urban fantasy.

Nancy said...

I've read all three, Lesa, and loved them all! I haven't tried any other steampunk novels, but I'm tempted. Historicals are much more interesting from this point of view.

Lesa said...

Nancy,

I don't know if I'm going to try any other steampunk either, since I'm so backed up on everything, but we'll see. I certainly like these.

Kris said...

So glad you have enjoyed this one! I've heard good reviews about this one and I can't wait to try it myself.

Lesa said...

Try it, Kris. And, as much as I enjoyed this one, I got sidetracked afterward. I'm reading a good mystery now. I'll have to get back to the series later.