Author: Gail Carriger
No. of Pages: 357
First Released: 2009
Synopsis (Courtesy of Joseph-Beth Booksellers): “Alexia Tarabotti is laboring 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 vampire — and 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 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?”
Comments and Critique: I love this book! To say it was a refreshing antidote to overly sappy Victorian novels is an understatement. I’ll admit that I had my doubts. I mean, the book was all but thrust into my hands by an extremely enthusiastic sales clerk at Borders in Wayzata, Minnesota. He gushed about the book so much that I could not say no. Still, I was hesitant to read it; I knew nothing about the sales clerk, and he knew nothing about me other than I liked vampire tales. Could one brief sentence be enough on which to base a recommendation? In this instance, the answer is yes, absolutely. Soulless is well worth the recommendation.
I adore Alexia and her pragmatic approach to life. She mocks the very essence of the Victorian social mores with her no-nonsense, common sense view of life. A reader quickly realizes that she is not a wilting flower and needs no white knight to rescue her (as long as she has her parasol). Not only that, but the entire story is a tongue-in-cheek view of “modern” England, science and history. I love anything that can plausibly rewrite history while mocking it; Ms. Carriger succeeds in just that.
Even though it may be satirical, Soulless is not without its serious messages. Tolerance and the dangers of science come to the fore as the story proceeds along its path. Good and evil are not easily discerned as “monsters” protect the Crown, fops come to the rescue, and (heaven forbid!) women hold positions of power.
Similarly, Alexia and Lord Maccon’s tension works because they are so similar. They both are bound by and yet defy conventions of the day. It works for them, and one cannot help but appreciate them in their struggles. In their instance, opposites do not attract, and the reader is the better for it!
I cannot say enough about this fresh and fun take on paranormal romances. The reader gets the pleasure of enjoying an adult perspective on such things, for once, rather than having to deal with the anguish and drama associated with teen paranormal romances. I highly recommend Soulless to anyone who enjoys such things. If I can base my purchase on some random sales clerk, then trust me when I say that you will love it!
I purchased this book with my own money. It meets the requirements for the 100+ Reading Challenge and the Read ‘n Review Challenge.