Gail Carriger - Soulless

Soulless by Gail Carriger
(The Parasol Protectorate #1)
Orbit Books (Sept 2010)
Paperback, 291 pages
Steampunk Romance

Soulless is a fun, entertaining read which has a plot that kept me turning the pages until the very end. It’s a fairly fast paced read too.

One evening Alexia Tarabotti is attacked by a vampire who doesn’t seem to understand the code of etiquette by trying to feast on her, but also hasn’t been told that Alexia, being Soulless, can actually neutralise all supernatural beings. This is rather odd but before she can find out what is going on she accidentally kills the newbie vampire and there begins the intriguing story of rogue vampires, sinister waxy human-like beings and the disappearance of werewolves.

I think Alexia Tarrabotti is quite an original character – she has no soul and yet can still feel emotion. Alexia has great wit and a delightful sense of humour which had me smiling, especially when it came to her interactions with the gruff, Lord Maccon, investigator for BUR by day and Alpha werewolf by night. Alexia is intelligent, smart and quite capable of taking care of herself, especially if she has her trusty parasol!

My one complaint regarding Alexia is her lack of self-asteam. Sometimes she would have contradicting opinions about herself. On the one hand she called herself “plain” and constantly put herself down, but on the other batted her eyelashes, continued to mention her good figure, with full bust, and used her feminine wiles to get her way.

She threw herself at Lord Maccon on several occasions with the premise ‘as a virgin she was just seeing what would happen’, an ‘experiment’ if you will…mmmm. And yet she continues to put herself down at every opportunity. I also cannot see how an Italian looking woman, even with a distinct nose, could be called “plain” – I would think, interesting or intriguing or beguiling but never plain.

With this small annoyance aside, Soulless is an entertaining read and Alexia, for the most part, a likeable heroine. I enjoyed her sense of self – she knew who she was and could be quite feisty and I liked the fact that she was prepared to fight for herself instead of waiting for a man to do it for her.

I loved the interactions between Alexia and Lord Maccon, they had me giggling and their attraction to one another is totally obvious but both are unwilling to accept it.

When Alexia and Lord Maccon find themselves in dire straights they still find time to quip and practically have sex (although never quite achieved due to interruption), even though they are in peril, their lives at stake, possible death imminent. I understand that certain situations can lead to strong emotions but these instances were not those. They had time to joke with one another, snark and quibble in a humorous way. This is unfortunately where the book lost me a little. I can suspend my believe with regards to werewolves and vampires but I do need the characters, their emotions and situations to be as realistic as possible and to be thinking about sex when you could be killed in the next few minutes was pushing it a bit too far.


On the whole, Soulless is an enjoyable paranormal romance. It’s light, easy to read and I really enjoyed the time period of Victorian England and the world Carriger created. Even with the few negative points I found I would still recommend it, especially to fans of paranormal romance.


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  1. Soulless
  2. Changeless
  3. Blameless
  4. Heartless
  5. Timeless



Carolyn created Book Chick City in July 2009 due to her love of books. A Brit chick obsessed with zombies, kick-arse chicks and sexy heroes. She's also seriously addicted to chocolate, shopping, and coffee. Her favourite genres are Urban Fantasy, Romance and Zombie Lit... Brrraaaaiiinnnnsss!


Aleksandra October 5, 2010 at 7:38 am

Thanks for the review :)


Jennifer (An Abundance of Books) October 5, 2010 at 8:14 am

Alexia's problem is that she looks "too Italian" and doesn't fit the idea of British beauty for the time. Her mother constantly puts her down for her looks, and it's the reason her family decided to make her a spinster (when Alexia was 14). Why waste money on the "ugly" daughter who no one will want to marry – spend it on the two girls who look English, and therefore are attractive.


Book Chick City October 5, 2010 at 9:35 am

Aleksandra – You're welcome! :)

Jennifer – I get that, it's just if Alexia had such low self-asteam due to her mother constantly putting her down etc then she wouldn't really have the confidence to come on to Lord Maccon as much as she does, and it was this contradiction that didn't work for me.


justpeachy36 October 5, 2010 at 11:43 am

I'm planning on reading this one for The Steampunk Challenge hosted by Rikki at The Bookkeeper. I've wanted to read it for awhile, it sounds fun and has an interesting plot.


Penelope October 5, 2010 at 3:33 pm

Hi BCC! I LOVED this book…the humor is fabulous, and the chemistry between Alexia and Conall is superb. I think this book is the perfect blend of humor, sexiness and fun steampunk inventions. It's a lot of fun!

I love your Halloween banner…Happy Halloween!


Blodeuedd October 5, 2010 at 8:20 pm

I do love this series, she is so witty :)


Dwayne October 5, 2010 at 10:20 pm

Ooh I have this whole series but I haven't actually started reading them. Seems I do that a lot!


Rebecca @ DSB October 6, 2010 at 12:27 am

Only a 6 Carolyn? Man, I thought SOULLESS was fantastic, although ironically I'd give the second book a 6 myself. What's even more funny is that quite a few people think that CHANGELESS was better than SOULLESS, and so on.


Lily Child October 6, 2010 at 1:22 pm

Glad you enjoyed this book! She definitely gains more confidence in the next two books in the series. I almost forgot about her lack of self-esteem in this one.


Book Chick City October 7, 2010 at 5:15 am

Justpeachy – It is fun and the plot is interesting, I hope you enjoy it and good luck with your challenge! :)

Penelope – I'm so pleased you really enjoyed the book. I did enjoy it but to a point. Maybe I will like Changeless more? I'm glad you like my banner – me tot! :)

Blodeuedd – I agree, there's a lot of witty dialogue which I really liked :)

Dwayne – I have the entire series on my shelf too so I will definitely continue with it. I completely sympathise about having lots of books which haven't been started yet! :)

Rebecca – I know, only a 6! I was surprised too as I thought I would love this book. Sadly there were just few negative points that wouldn't go away. Maybe I will like Changeless more – I will definitely continue with the series as I did enjoy it.

Lily Child – I'm pleased to hear she gains more confidence as the series moves on, but I hope the contradiction disappears too as that's what got on my nerves really, but it was a small point and there were other factors why I rated only a 6. I will be reading Chameless at some point so I hope to like that one a bit more :)


Melissa (My words and pages) October 7, 2010 at 4:22 pm

This is one book I have on my list, but I have not got it yet. It sounds like a fun read from the review. I am going to have to see where I can squeeze it in at. :) Thank you for the review.


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