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Soulless (Parasol Protectorate #1)

3.91  ·  Rating Details  ·  69,794 Ratings  ·  7,814 Reviews
Without a morsel of exaggeration, its publisher describes this debut novel as "a comedy of manners set in Victorian London full of werewolves, vampires, dirigibles, and tea-drinking." At the center of Soulless's "parasol protectorate" is Miss Alexia Tarabotti, a young woman who lacks not only a suitor but also a soul. And those are not her only problems: When she accidenta ...more
ebook, 416 pages
Published October 1st 2009 by Orbit
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Sam Wescott Yeah, I might veer away from this one until you're comfortable with her reading sex scenes. I would recommend Gail Carriger's other series - Finishing…moreYeah, I might veer away from this one until you're comfortable with her reading sex scenes. I would recommend Gail Carriger's other series - Finishing School. It's a YA series and so far there has been nothing more than a palm kiss and minimal violence. Same absurd language, same world, but, like, 30 years earlier. Same supernatural stuff and similarly wonderful female protagonist. I love it and would not hesitate to recommend it to a 12 year old.(less)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Wendy Darling
Here is a most edifying (and highly scientific) quiz you may use to ascertain whether this novel is one that you will enjoy.

* Is your bookcase overflowing with strong, decisive heroines?
* Do you chuckle over the animated Gorey titles preceding a PBS “Mystery!” presentation?
* Are you fond of the Victorian era?
* Does witty prose make you positively giddy with excitement?
* Have you ever lingered over a bit of lace or wistfully touched a velvet coat?
* Are you delighted when someone brews a pot of te
Jun 14, 2010 Kelly rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Kelly by: RBRS devils
So, I’ve got something else to blame on Glee. In addition to all the terrible eighties music that I’ve been listening to, and image of that terrible Mozart spaceman outfit gone wrong that they put Kurt in for the Gaga episode, I feel certain that the same people who decide on the structure and performance of that show are the same people who decided that it was okay to release Soulless in the form that I read it.

At it’s heart, Glee is simply a weak, changeable framework for presenting touchston
 Danielle The Book Huntress (Self-Proclaimed Book Ninja)
Ms. Carriger, congratulations! This was a great ride. I can honestly say that I laughed myself silly reading this book. This is one of those books that will probably embarrass you if you read it in public. You have been warned! This is the first novel that I've read that managed to cleverly and gently satirize the conventions of historical romance, and it was done in a manner that was utterly irresistible. I have not read any Wodehouse, but I imagine I will like him very much, if he is indeed an ...more
Jun 25, 2010 Caris rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Caris by: rbrs
Shelves: romance, 2010
I hate vampires. I have a strong dislike of werewolves, but I fucking hate vampires. Robert Pattinson, yeah, I think he’s dreamy, but I wouldn’t hesitate to put a stake through his fragile, airbrushed chest. I wouldn’t shed a tear as he muttered those incomprehensible little nothings with his dying breath.

Because vampires are stupid. The whole mythology has been driven into the ground. It’s no longer romantic. Shit, it’s not even interesting. It’s easy. Way, way too easy.

And that’s why Carriger
Rbrs #4

Remember in grade school, when the teacher would ask for a volunteer to give the first speech or present the first diorama or whatever? Public Speaking - that which is feared more than death. Comparisons were always inevitable. I learned to shoot that hand up like a game of "not-it," so that everyone would be compared to me but my stuff would gently fade in the mob memory. Also, to get it out of the way so then I could relax while everyone else sweated it and got ever more anxious. Soooo,
I wish I had written this book! Only because it combines two of my latest fetishes: Corsets and Paranormal creatures. After the first chapter this book is pretty good, I really enjoyed it (although it's not reinventing the wheel in any way). Nice romance, appealing characters, melding of the two genres was enough to keep my very entertained and up late! I will read another for sure!
Kat Kennedy
If you've been on GoodReads for any decent amount of time then you probably know Tatiana. If you don't then she is a very popular, entertaining reviewer with almost flawless taste in books and you should go read and like all her reviews abunch.

Usually, we tend to agree on a lot of books. When comparing books, we generally have an 88% similarity rating which has led me, in the past, to comment that we must be soulmates. So you can understand my obvious distress when I read this book and quite lik
Jan 04, 2011 Miriam rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
Well, the first thing I can tell you is that reading this from a critical, review-writing frame of mind is not the way to enjoy it.

I encountered this book when it first came out, lying on the new release table of the Union Square Barnes & Noble (that's San Francisco, not NY, B&N friends). I no longer live in the City and was visiting a friend who, as it turned out, wasn't home yet. Or answering her phone. Night was falling and I had no way of knowing how much time I would have to kill.
Jun 30, 2015 Maureen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4.5/5 stars
I really enjoyed this book! Alexia is such an interesting character, and the world is very similar to that of TID - WHICH I LOVED.
The whole paranormal aspect was very well done and interesting to read about and I loved all the major characters! The minor characters could have been a bit better, but that's what other books are for!
The story was SO GOOD and very well thought out - a lot of things surprised me, though I did catch some of the foreshadowing.
Can't wait to read the rest o
Sep 08, 2011 Lora rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: I suppose nearly everyone, since I seem to be one of the few who doesn't like it
Recommended to Lora by: too many people to name
Shelves: did-not-finish
*sigh* Boy, am I in the minority here! Every friend of mine has given this at least three stars, and here I am not even being able to finish it. Still, I don't hate this book, so before giving my reasons for not liking it, I will be fair and go over what I did like.

Our heroine, Miss Alexia Tarabotti, hasn't had an easy life. Besides being put on the shelf at the age of fifteen by her mother, she's had to deal with unjust criticism. While the people of today spend countless dollars on cancer-caus
Sep 16, 2010 Tatiana rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: fans of Jeanine Frost's "Night Huntress" series
My apologies to all my friends who love this book, but again, I fail to understand the appeal. Like with a few other popular novels I've tried reading recently, this is simply a glorified fanfiction in print. If you ever ask me what I mean calling books "fanfiction," my answer would be, as with the definition of "porn," I can't articulate it, but I know when I see/read it. It's just too gratuitous and lacks substance, depth, flavor, richness, even though it, at times, entertains.
4.0 to 4.5 stars. VERY PLEASANTLY SURPRISED is the best way I can think of to describe my reaction to this book. While there are a few urban fantasy series that I really enjoy, it is not my favorite genre, especially those series that could also be classified as “paranormal romances.” This book, while more “Victorian steampunk” than urban fantasy does certainly have a very strong “romance” element to the plot…AND I REALLY, REALLY ENJOYED IT!!

The story takes place in an alternative Victorian Lond
Jun 08, 2010 Sparrow rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Sparrow by: Felicia Day and the creepy comic store guy
Monsters are inevitably campy. That is a rule. You might not think it’s true, but you’re wrong. I’m sorry to be the one to break this to you, but the rule also applies to space. Monster stories and space stories range from those that deny the campiness and try to be really soulful social commentary to those that are hilarious in acknowledging the campiness and still manage to have something brilliant to say. There are levels in between those two extremes, but I’m trying to give you the framework ...more
Dan Schwent
After Alexia Tarabotti commits a faux pas and accidentally kills a vampire at a party and falls under the eye of Lord Maccon, the Queen's investigator of the supernatural, she inadvertently gets involved in a plot involving werewolves, vampires, and deranged scientists. Will she be able to survive whatever is going on without suffering further embarrassment?

Normally, I'm so overflowing with sheer manliness that a book with this much pink on the cover would fall beneath my radar. It sounded inter
The Flooze
Oct 22, 2009 The Flooze rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone!
Recommended to The Flooze by: The Holy Terror
Recipe for success:
- Liberal amount of Austen & Wodehouse
- Generous helping of the supernatural
- Sprinkling of steampunk
- Heavy dose of humor
- Dollop of romance

- One sorely abused treacle tart
- One hedgehog, slightly squashed

What a success Soulless is. No First Book Syndrome here.

Gail Carriger shows that she is a woman with ideas in this alternate history paranormal tale. Not only does she have ideas, but Carriger knows how to execute them. Soulless is a refreshing and wildly amusing
Loved it! Loved it, loved it, loved it.

I always get really nervous when I write reviews for books that I have such positive reactions to, especially ones like this one that have such strong personalities. This book knows who it is and what it's trying to do and does its thing with aplomb. I happened to love it immediately after reading the first sentence, but I can understand how if the humor in the writing or the language she uses, or if you don't like romances, or stories with their tongues f
*Originally read 7/4/10 - 7/5/10*

This book was, quite simply, delightful! I finished it with a big smile on my face and giggled almost continually while reading it. My husband finally banished me to the bedroom because I was irritating him while he watched a movie.

The world that Gail Carriger created was so much fun and so interesting. I loved seeing a familiar government amid the new and exciting facets of it. I loved the set up of the supernatural creatures and the singular abilities of the pr
Mar 29, 2015 Danae rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Several days ago was a stressful day for me, and the thought of picking up the two fantasy books I was reading didn't sound that appealing. At the time I wanted a light and fluffy, mindless entertainment read and I got exactly that with Soulless.

This is an alternate history story with vampires, werewolves, a little steampunk, and lots of laughs. When you combine the mannerisms, the swear words (nincompoop!), and the wonderful characters, you get one of the most entertaining books I've read in aw
Shannon (leaninglights)
Actual rating *4.25 stars*

I had such a fun ride with this book. The characters and relationships are what got me excited and eventually I just fell in love with it all. It started a bit slow for me and I would have liked a bit more world-building, but I loved the story overall and will definitely be continuing the series in the future!!

50 Shades of Shock


Miss Ivy Hisselpenny

Dear surveyors of literature,

I must warn you politely in advance. If you might easily be offended by frivolous behaviour like holding hands in public or scandalous activity such as talking to unmarried men without a chaperone, I urge you to avoid your eyes and seek fullfillment of your literary gusto elsewhere.

The tale of my good friend, Alexia Tarabotti, is of a nature highly inappropriate to discuss in such a frank and open environment as in this review
Deborah Harkness
I haven't had this much fun reading a book in ages. Witty dialogue, believable characters, and a real sense of the Victorian--and steampunk!--make Carriger's book a treat. Off to the sequel!
Anzu The Great Destroyer
Warning. Review might contain minor spoilers. Read at your own risk.

I am very sad pissed because I had so many high expectations for this book. The blurb sounded awesome, most of my friends’ reviews are five and four stars. The cover is good, the author seems obsessed with English tea, which seemed like a cool thing until I read her Q&A at the end of the book. After that it all got annoying because all she does is talk about her freaking tea. You love tea. I get it. Move the fuck on.

I know I
Feb 24, 2016 Elizabeth rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fantasy of manners, steampunk, and historical romances can all take a step back because this book has it all and it does it better than all y'all!

Witty, sweet, and damn good fun, Soulless is a book that grabs you from the opening page and whisks you through the plot in a no-nonsense manner than belies its depths of humour and intelligence. It is fast-paced easy reading that is, at the same time, well-written and clever.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Lisa Kay
May 31, 2011 Lisa Kay rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Lisa Kay by: ✿Michelle✿, Sans, Lady Danielle, Carolyn F., Melanie
Soulless is my first foray into the world of “steampunk.” Well, other than the writings of H.G. Wells and Jules Verne, read to me by my adventurous mother.

Dirigable from Ms. Carriger’s website.
I will be honest and say I just didn’t see the appeal until somewhere around the middle of the third chapter. Maybe I was too focused on figuring out the subtle world building to sit back and enjoy the ride until then. (Unsure what a claviger, drone, or dewan was, I do still wish there had been a glossary
A hilarious parody of the Victorian novel of manners with the addition of vampires, werewolves, and sex.

If the rest of the series is anything like this first book, they will become by favorite rereads for sure.
Sep 13, 2009 Katie(babs) rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fans of Steampunk, rejoice. And better count those who adore Steampunk with a great romance that has a delightful, witty and very original heroine. Gail Carriger’s Soulless will be on the lips of many before the end of the year. This is one of the most refreshing books I have read for 2009. Orbit has a very good thing with Gail Carriger. This freshman novel is near perfect in its writing and storytelling. When a book such as Soulless brings forth such laughs and an abundance of happiness while y ...more
Dec 01, 2014 Conor rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: steampunk
Soulless was a light-hearted, often amusing read with two likeable main characters that was unfortunately let down by the slow plot, half-assed world building and lack of interesting secondary characters.

Going into this book I was somewhat sceptical about the setting. Vampires, werewolves and Victorian society don’t really appeal to me. Probably because Twilight ruined vampires for me and the invasions of Ireland followed by hundreds of years of ruthless subjugation ruined the British Empire fo
Cathrine ☯
This is not my genre so the rating doesn’t imply it’s a lousy book. I feel I'm being unfair but what can I do? It was necessary to read Steampunk to satisfy a Bingo challenge square. I had never heard of Steampunk and safe to say this was my first and last encounter with it.

I can also say that I could see this being fun to read if it’s your thing. I picked up on the humor, and clever repartee throughout the pages. I even have a favorite quote: “'How did that saying go?' Alexia wondered. Ah yes,
Jan 24, 2014 ♥Rachel♥ rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, audio-book
Soulless is one of the best audio books I have listened to. The story is wickedly funny, filled with clever humor, brilliant characters and a delicious romance! The story was just wonderful and I’m sure my enjoyment was enhanced by the excellent narration of Emily Gray.

Alexia Tarabotti is “soulless” or someone who can cancel out the supernatural powers of another. A state she inherited from her Italian father. With her unconventional (for Victorian England) Italian looks, and her tendency to sp
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Gail Carriger writes comedic steampunk mixed with urbane fantasy. Her books include the Parasol Protectorate and Custard Protocol series for adults, and the Finishing School series for young adults. She is published in 18 different languages and has 13 NYT bestsellers via 7 different lists (including #1 in Manga). She was once an archaeologist and is overly fond of shoes, octopuses, and tea.
More about Gail Carriger...

Other Books in the Series

Parasol Protectorate (5 books)
  • Changeless (Parasol Protectorate, #2)
  • Blameless (Parasol Protectorate, #3)
  • Heartless (Parasol Protectorate, #4)
  • Timeless (Parasol Protectorate, #5)

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“How ghastly for her, people actually thinking, with their brains, and right next door. Oh, the travesty of it all.” 330 likes
“A vampire, like a lady, never reveals his true age.” 232 likes
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