Barbara (VampAngel)'s Reviews > Soulless

Soulless by Gail Carriger
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Jun 16, 11

bookshelves: reviewed
Read in June, 2011

*I decided to reread this delightful book on 06/16/2011 in honor of the release of Heartless in about 2 weeks. I would recommend this book to everyone*

This book takes place in London during the Victorian Era. Miss Alexia Tarabotti is a spinster, but more importantly she's soulless. That means she can neutralize every supernatural creature she encounters. If she touches a vampire or a werewolf, they instantly become human once again, thus losing all of their powers. The effects of her touch are temporary, so as soon as the contact ceases, they come back to normal (or as normal as they were before that). Not many daylight people (how the regular humans are called) know about her abilities, but those in the government and in the supernatural community do. She is registered with the Bureau of Unnatural Registry (BUR), a division of Her Majesty's Civil Service.

In the world Gail Carriger created, supernatural beings, such as werewolves and vampires, are integrated in the british society. They live out in the open and interact socially with the regular folk. Even Queen Victoria has a vampire and a werewolf advisor. In her mythology the ability to become a supernatural being is directly related to how much soul an individual has. Only those with an abundance of soul will survive the transformation. Since Alexia has no soul, she is considered a preternatural. Her kind is rare, and in the past they were used to eliminate supernatural creatures during what they refer to as the Dark Ages. After that came the Age of Enlightenment, when they became accepted members of society. I thought the whole idea of different amounts of soul in a person was a very original concept, something I had never read before. It was a refreshing spin on the supernatural phenomenon.

Alexia is a woman ahead of her time. She is well read, intellectual, extremely independent, direct, honest and brave. She is very interested in science and reads about all the new developments in the field. As I mentioned before, she is a spinster but not entirely unhappy about that fact. She is of italian ancestry, from her deceased father's side. Her skin is considered too tan, her nose too big and her figure too full. Her bluntness only diminishes her chances of ever finding a suitable husband. She isn't too concerned about that fact, so when she goes to a ball with her two blonde, blue-eyed, half sisters, she escapes to the library. That's where we find our heroine in the beginning of the book. Much to her annoyance, a vampire tries to attack her, forcing her to defend herself with her trusty parasol. She ends up killing the vampire, entirely by accident I might add, and consequently the authorities must be called. That's when Lord Maccon, handsome alpha werewolf and Chief Minister in Charge of Supernatural-Natural Liaison for the Greater London Area, enters the story.

Miss Tarabotti and Lord Maccon don't get along very well. They annoy each other, especially because they are way more similar than they realize. She thinks he is rude and sour. He thinks she is verbose and troublesome. You can see where this is going, can't you?

All I'll say is that their interactions are great. The dialogue is very witty and when things turn, well amorous, it gets really hot. The novel takes place during the Victorian Era, so even though I thought the scenes were incredibly steamy, they are very tamed if compared to most smutty paranormal books out there. I thought the restraint shown in those passages only made them more powerful and sexier.

The rest of the characters are fun and interesting. There's Lord Alkeldama, Alexia's good friend, who is a gay flamboyant vampire and a fantastic character, although I think he could have been a little more flashed out. Miss Hisselpenny is Alexia's best friend and her complete opposite, but I thought their relationship was a lot of fun. Here is an example:


"Miss Ivy Hisselpenny was a dear friend of Miss Alexia Tarabotti's. They had known each other long enough to trespass on all the well-fortified territory of familiarity.

So when Alexia sent round to see if Ivy wanted a walk, Ivy was very well aware of the fact that a walk was only the surface gloss to the proceedings.

Ivy Hisselpenny was the unfortunate victim of circumstances that dictated she be only-just-pretty, only-just-wealthy, and possessed of a terrible propensity for wearing extremely silly hats. This last being the facet of Ivy's character that Alexia found most difficult to bear. In general, however, she found Ivy a restful, congenial, and, most importantly, a willing partner in any excursion.

In Alexia, Ivy had found a lady of understanding and intelligence, sometimes overly blunt for her own delicate sensibilities, but loyal and kind under even the most trying of circumstances.

Ivy had learned to find Alexia's bluntness entertaining, and Alexia had learned one did not always have to look at one's friend's hats. Thus, each having discovered a means to overlook the most tiresome aspects of the other's personality early on in their relationship, the two girls developed a fixed friendship to the mutual benefit of both. Their Hyde Park conversation reflected their typical mode of communication.

"Ivy, my dear," said Miss Tarabotti as her friend bustled up, "how marvelous of you to find time to walk at such short notice! What a hideous bonnet. I do hope you did not pay too much for it."

"Alexia! How perfectly horrid of you to criticize my hat. Why should I not be able to walk this morning? You know I never have anything better to do on Thursdays. Thursdays are so tiresome, don't you find?" replied Miss Hisselpenny"



The plot is engaging and revolves around the mystery surrounding the disappearance of various vampires and werewolves. Of course our heroine gets tangled up in all the mess, which results in some hilarious predicaments.

Simply put this book is a delightful read. I enjoyed every minute of it. I think you will too.

Even the chapter titles are amusing, for example: Chapter One - In Which Parasols Prove Useful; Chapter Two - An Unexpected Invitation; Chapter Three - Our Heroine Heeds Some Good Advice; Chapter Four - Our Heroine Ignores Good Advice, and so on. The cover is also wonderful.

If you like Jane Austen (who doesn't?), Urban Fantasy, Paranormal Romance and Steampunk, this is definitely the book for you. It's so witty, I was chuckling the whole time I was reading it. I'll definitely be reading its sequel very soon.

Soulless is the first book in The Parasol Protectorate series. Changeless is the second one, and the third, Blameless, is coming out in September 1st, 2010. I'm told the second book ends in a cliffhanger, so I might wait a little bit to read it, but I don't think I'll be able to wait that long. I'm already itching to get my hands on it.

I give it 5 out of 5 stars.
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Quotes Barbara (VampAngel) Liked

Gail Carriger
“My dearest girl,' said the vampire finally, examining Lord Maccon with an exhausted but appreciative eye, 'such a banquet. Never been one to favor werewolves myself, but he is very well equipped, now, is he not?'

Miss Tarabotti gave him an arch look. 'My goodies,' she warned.

Humans,' chuckled the vampire, 'so possessive.”
Gail Carriger, Soulless

Gail Carriger
“Alexia figured, delightedly, that this meant he did, in fact, tend to traipse around his private apartments in the altogether. Marriage was becoming more and more of an attractive prospect.”
Gail Carriger, Soulless

Gail Carriger
“A vampire, like a lady, never reveals his true age.”
Gail Carriger, Soulless

Gail Carriger
“Alexia suspected Lord Maccon's handling was a tad more than was strictly called for under the circumstances, but she secretly enjoyed the sensation. After all, how often did a spinster of her shelf life get manhandled by an earl of Lord Maccon's peerage? She had better take advantage of the situation.”
Gail Carriger, Soulless
tags: humor

Gail Carriger
“He was so very large and so very gruff that he rather terrified her, but he always behaved correctly in public, and there was a lot to be said for a man who sported such well-tailored jackets---even if he did change into a ferocious beast once a month.”
Gail Carriger, Soulless

Gail Carriger
“He is clearly bookish. I did not follow a single word of their conversation at dinner last night, not one jot of it. He must be bookish.”
Gail Carriger, Soulless

Gail Carriger
“How ghastly for her, people actually thinking, with their brains, and right next door. Oh, the travesty of it all.”
Gail Carriger, Soulless

Gail Carriger
“In this particular instance, he stroked her hand fondly. There was no attraction in the movement. "Sweetling," he had once said, "you are at no more risk with me in that regard than you are in danger of me unexpectedly biting you--both being equal impossibilities. In the one case, I do not possess the necessary equipment upon contact, in the other case you do not.”
Gail Carriger, Soulless

Gail Carriger
“Miss Tarabotti was not one of life's milk-water misses--in fact, quite the opposite. Many a gentleman had likened his first meeting with her to downing a very strong cognac when one was expecting to imbibe fruit juice--that is to say, startling and apt to leave one with a distinct burning sensation.”
Gail Carriger, Soulless
tags: humor

Gail Carriger
“The ill-informed masses included her own family among their ranks, a family that specialized in being both inconvenient and asinine.”
Gail Carriger, Soulless

Gail Carriger
“Lord Maccon asked meekly, shifting against her in a manner that ensured she realized the nibbling had affected his outsides just as much as her insides. Alexia was partly shocked, partly intrigued by the idea that as he was naked, she might actually get to see what he looked like. She had seen sketches of the nude male, of course, for purely technical purposes. She was given to wonder if werewolves were anatomically bigger in certain areas.”
Gail Carriger, Soulless

Gail Carriger
“She filed the image away as an excellent and insulting question to ask the earl at an utterly inappropriate future moment.”
Gail Carriger, Soulless

Gail Carriger
“I believe the defining moment was when certain persons, who shall remain nameless, objected to my fuchsia silk striped waistcoat. I loved that waistcoat. I put my foot down, right then and there; I do not mind telling you!" To punctuate his deeply offended feelings, he stamped one silver-and-pearl-decorated high heel firmly. "No one tells me what I can and cannot wear!" He snapped up a lace fan from where it lay on a hall table and fanned himself vigorously with it for emphasis.”
Gail Carriger, Soulless

Gail Carriger
“I kissed her," he explained, aggrieved.

"Mmm, yes, I had the dubious pleasure of witnessing that, ah-hem, overly public occurrence." Lyall sharpened his pen nib, using a small copper blade that ejected from the end of his glassicals.

"Well! Why hasn't she done anything about it?" the Alpha wanted to know.

"You mean like whack you upside the noggin with that deadly parasol of hers? I would be cautious in that area if I were you.”
Gail Carriger, Soulless

Gail Carriger
“The voice was low and tinged with a hint of Scotland. It would have caused Alexia to shiver and think primal monkey thoughts about moons and running far and fast, if she'd had a soul. Instead it caused her to sigh in exasperation and sit up.”
Gail Carriger, Soulless

Gail Carriger
“The vampire's eyes were open, and he was staring at her intently. It was as though he were trying to speak to her with simply the power of a glare.
Alexia did not speak glare-ish.”
Gail Carriger, Soulless


Reading Progress

06/16/2011 "I love Alexia!"

Comments (showing 1-3 of 3) (3 new)

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Wendy Darling I am *dying* to read this! And am determined to do it very soon.


Barbara (VampAngel) You have to read it. It's awesome. Alexia is one of the most entertaining heroines out there. It's a really delightful read. Plus, the fourth book of the series is coming out tomorrow! I can hardly wait to read Heartless.


Wendy Darling I am a huge fan of Victorian England, magic, food, werewolves, romance, and so many other things which I've been told feature prominently in this series...so I'm very much looking forward to it! :)


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