Danielle The Book Huntress (Self-Proclaimed Book Ninja)'s Reviews > Soulless

Soulless by Gail Carriger
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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 influence on this author's writing.

Not only did I enjoy the humor, I thought the characters were beyond interesting. Alexia is one of those heroines that will stand out in the reader's mind. She's intelligent, gutsy, fierce, yet ladylike and admirable. Although she has moments where she's down on herself (she seemed unable to accept that Lord Maccon was interested in her, but it totally made sense to me), she manages to be remarkably comfortable in her own skin. I believe that this is a big part of her appeal to Lord Maccon. Alexia is an alpha woman that I really like. She doesn't come on too strong, and she knows her limits. Throwing her weight around is not a tactic that she resorts to. But if you try something, she will make sure you know it's not happening. I liked that she was a woman of her times, in that she was strong, intelligent, and passionate; yet, she possessed the morals and understandings of what was appropriate in her society. Alexia's ability felt very novel to me. I especially liked how she used it when she interacted with the supernatural people in her life, especially Lord Maccon. There's a really good part where Alexia has to get up close and person with a naked Lord Maccon to keep him from changing back into a wolf. And they sure do take advantage of that moment. Naked Lord Maccon, up close and personal, who could blame a girl?

Ah, let's talk about Lord Maccon. Three words: To Die For! I loved him. Not too surprising, since I happen to adore, big, sexy, Scottish werewolves. But it's the whole package with him. I like that he's rough around the edges. Smooth operators bore me. The unpolished, fierce heroes, they get me everytime. Ooh, he had me reading this book furiously to get to the next scenes with he and Alexia. I loved all his scenes, in human and in werewolf form.

Alexia and Lord Maccon had awesome chemistry. This is not really a romance novel, so the reader must keep this in mind. Soulless is more of a fantasy with a very strong romance. If you take that into consideration and enjoy the ride, the romantic moments will be a pleasant surprise on top of the humor and the fantastic elements. Having said that, I loved all the smootchy/getting personal scenes. This book has that element of Victorian romance that I just love. The whole "we are passionately carried away, but this is really improper and I hope we don't get caught" theme really works for me. I loved how they couldn't seem to keep their hands off each other. Very appealing! Alexia and Lord Maccon are going on my favorite couples list. No doubt about it.

Now to the fantasy/steampunk elements. I thought Ms. Carriger did a great job. Initially, I had to get used to the writing style. Like I said earlier, I haven't read too many satirical-styled stories. I had to realize that I couldn't take things too seriously. Once I got into that mode, I was good. This book is an interesting hybrid in that it's definitely a humorous story, but there are some edgy, dark elements, as well. The automaton was pretty darn creepy. I immediately started thinking about golems when it was first introduced. I liked how she took the golem folklore and gave it a steampunk twist. I could completely understand why Alexia found it so repulsive. It was alive, but so opposite from what a living being might be. I liked the adventure aspects. This book made me think of the old school adventure storytellers like Jules Verne, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and Edgar Rice Burroughs, although this book doesn't stray far from the drawing rooms and polite environs of London and its suburbs. I could easily imagine Ms. Carriger writing a ripping, neo-pulp adventure yarn. If she does, sign me up! I hope she has a Roxton-esque hero if she does. Hint, Hint. I definitely think this would make a great movie (in the right hands).

Steampunk is a new, but beloved genre for me. When it comes to technical and mechanical devices, I have no imagination. So I have to give it to Ms. Carriger for writing these aspects very well. I had a very good visual picture of the steam-driven, clockwork technology in my head while I was reading. Yet, she didn't overdo it so that I was more focused on trying to picture these devices and not focused on the story.

Vampires and werewolves are the main supernatural beasties in this story. They are very politically and socially-organized, to the degree that they have advisors to the queen herself. I admit, I really had to focus on this aspect, needing to reread a few paragraphs to really gain an understanding of the social structure of the two supernatural groups. But it was time well spent. I liked reading about the social dynamics of the vampire society, divided up into hives, each with a Queen vampire (she's the only one who can make new vamps), and having human servants called drones. Lord Akeldama, Alexia's flamboyant friend who happens to be a very powerful vampire, was a hoot. His fashion sense was outrageous, and he kept me laughing. On the werewolf side, I was enamored with Professor Lyall, the competent, extremely intelligent beta to the Alpha werewolf, Lord Maccon, Earl of Woolsey. I hope to see a lot more of Prof. Lyall. The werewolf pack dynamics were especially interesting to me, werewolf lover that I am. I absolutely love the werewolf salute given to Alexia at the end of this book. I was practically clapping. I think you could see that the vamps and weres were very integrated into society, and a huge part of the governmental workings of the author's concept of Great Britain of the 19th Century. It really gives a different perspective on the British Empire.

Man, this was a great read. If you're coming from a romance or a contemporary urban fantasy background, this book will take you out of your comfort zones, but it's so worth it. Hang in there until you get used to the flow of the language (it's very 19th century), and relax and enjoy the witty humor (it's very funny). You will have a great time. Don't forget to bring your tricked-out parasol and glassicals, just in case.
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Quotes Danielle The Book Huntress (Self-Proclaimed Book Ninja) Liked

Gail Carriger
“I may be a werewolf and Scottish, but despite what you may have read about both, we are not cads!”
Gail Carriger, Soulless

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

Reading Progress

01/11/2010 page 171
45.84% "I'm getting into this book! Didn't want to put it down to go to sleep last night. Good sign!" 5 comments
01/11/2010 page 182
48.79% "I love this book.

I'm worried about Professor Lyall. I hope he's okay." 3 comments
01/12/2010 "Finished. Giggled myself silly. Review will be posted on a good night's rest.

I'm worried about Professor Lyall. I hope he's okay." 2 comments

Comments (showing 1-50 of 57) (57 new)

Kelly LOVED this book.
Hope you are enjoying it!

Darcy I am waiting for this one from the library. I have heard good things about it, so don't want to get my hopes up and have it be a disappointment. Can't wait to see what you think.

 Danielle The Book Huntress (Self-Proclaimed Book Ninja) I'm enjoying it so far. It's really spoofing historical romance, which I like. I'm enjoying the characters, as well. Darcy, I hope you get a copy in at the library soon.

Alycia I absolutely loved this book as well! It is so refreshing to find something different. I try to recommend it when I can. I cannot wait for book two to come out!

Amelia What are your thoughts on Lord Macon? Prof. Lyall?

Alycia Oh, glad to see that you are liking this book! :)

 Danielle The Book Huntress (Self-Proclaimed Book Ninja) Amelia, I love Lord Maccon. He has many of the traits of my favorite heroes. I like the heroes who are a little raw and rough around the edges. And I like how drawn to Alexia he is.
Prof. Lyall is very cool. I'm a little worried about him right now. He doesn't seem to be feeling well. :(

Alycia, It took me some time to get used to the style (which is very clever), but once I got sucked in, I was utterly charmed.

message 9: by Tina (last edited Jan 12, 2010 03:37AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Tina Oh, Danielle I see you are reading this too. Man I loved this book. Even minor characters like Alexia's butler Floote stand out in small but awesome ways. And wait til you meet Biffy!

Alycia It took me a little while too Danielle. And I absolutely love Lord Maccon too.

 Danielle The Book Huntress (Self-Proclaimed Book Ninja) Tina, I do like how each character is distinct. She is a very clever writer.

Kelly "'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

One of my favorite quotes from Alexia she is so darn witty. Can't wait to read Changeless!

Amelia This book can do no worng in my eyes. Everything went together and flowed. The characters are fanatastic! Even the ones in the backround!

Poor Lyall! He needs some love!

 Danielle The Book Huntress (Self-Proclaimed Book Ninja) Possibly Lyall will be paired with Ivy. You think?

Kelly, I agree with you on the wit. I loved it!

Amelia I'm not spoiling it for you!

message 17: by Emma (new)

Emma Loved your review Danielle !

message 19: by Rane (new) - rated it 4 stars

Rane Wonderful Review Danielle! *sighs with you* I adore Lord Maccon!

message 20: by ChloeLeeNH (new)

ChloeLeeNH I have this book waiting for me! :) Thanks for the 5 star rating... it looks promising!

 Danielle The Book Huntress (Self-Proclaimed Book Ninja) Thanks, Rane. AzuresHeart, I hope you like this one!

Cynthia I couldn't have said it better. You manages to say everything I feel about this book in you review. Well done!

message 24: by MelissaB (new) - added it

MelissaB Wonderful review Danielle, this sounds like a unique and interesting book that I will have to check out.

message 25: by Beanbag (new) - added it

Beanbag Love Oooooh. This sounds really good. Great review, Danielle!

 Danielle The Book Huntress (Self-Proclaimed Book Ninja) Thanks, Melissa and Bean. You guys should check this one out. I think you'll like Lord Maccon (wide grin).

message 27: by Aimee (new) - added it

Aimee I'm waiting on this one from a friend. Once she finishes it, I'm all over it!

 Danielle The Book Huntress (Self-Proclaimed Book Ninja) Enjoy, Aimee. I'm waiting for your review!

Kelly As always a spot on review!

The Flooze Nice review!! So glad you liked it!

After reading it, I sent Miss Carriger an email congratulating her on her fabulousness and thanking her for putting me in stitches. She wrote back right away! Love an author who responds to fans.

Kelly wrote: ""'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,..."

LOL! I added that one to quotes. I couldn't resist typing it in as soon as I read it. Love it!

Amelia wrote: "This book can do no worng in my eyes. Everything went together and flowed. The characters are fanatastic! Even the ones in the backround!

Muuuahhhh ha haha ha....

The Flooze Tina wrote: "Oh, Danielle I see you are reading this too. Man I loved this book. Even minor characters like Alexia's butler Floote stand out in small but awesome ways. And wait til you meet Biffy!"

I have MUCH Biffy love.

 Danielle The Book Huntress (Self-Proclaimed Book Ninja) Aww, thanks, Kelly. Thank you, Michelle. I read her biography at the end of the book, and I was nodding along at the things we had in common.

I love that quote!

Kelly Danielle have you checked out her website her blog is a treat.

 Danielle The Book Huntress (Self-Proclaimed Book Ninja) I haven't, but now I will. Thanks Kelly!

The Flooze If you ever get the chance, rent out the Jeeves & Wooster DVDs. You get the double delight of watching Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie AND learning what Wodehouse is all about.

Amelia Yay you finished! :D

Alycia Great review Danielle! I am now a steampunk fan as well after reading this book :)

 Danielle The Book Huntress (Self-Proclaimed Book Ninja) I will, Michelle. Sounds good.

Yes, I got this one done, Amelia. Now I've finally started Cassie Palmer! Slowly working my way through the PNR/UF backlog.

Thanks, Alycia. Steampunk is very cool. I first came to be a fan with movies and tv, but now I'm reading books with steampunk.

Tammy Probably a dumb question, but what the heck is steampunk? Is it the same thing as urban fantasy?

 Danielle The Book Huntress (Self-Proclaimed Book Ninja) Not a dumb question at all, Tammy. It's a subgenre of fantasy in which the setting is a Victorian-esque or Neo-Victorian world in which most technology uses steam power and clockwork machinery. If you're seen The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, the submarine is a good example of steampunk. Van Helsing also had some steampunk elements with his inventions.

Wikipedia has a great page:


Tammy Loved Van Helsing! Thanks for the link.

This might be a book that I'll have to check out now. :)

Carolyn F. This was one of my favorite books for 2009.

Miriam Oh, Danielle, did you see there is going to be a Q&A with Gail Carriger on Feb 1st?

 Danielle The Book Huntress (Self-Proclaimed Book Ninja) Cool, Miriam. Where is this going to be at?

Carolyn, this one is going on my faves list, too.

Miriam It will be hosted by one of the GR groups... I think it was Study Buddies.

Sally Loved this book! What a fascinating author as well as fascinating writing. My only question is, what is steam punk? If this is it, I want to find more.

The Flooze Steampunk refers to the technological aspects you saw that are too advanced for that period. The dirigibles and such.

Sally I see, thanks.

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