Soulless by Gail Carriger
(The Parasol Protectorate #1)
Orbit Books (Sept 2010)
Paperback, 291 pages
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.
BOOKS IN SERIES ORDER
BUY YOUR COPY