Friday, February 12, 2010
Review: Soulless by Gail Carriger
Tags: historical paranormal romance, vampires, werewolves, mystery
Rating: 4 out of 5
Alexia Tarabotti is not your average Victorian spinster. That’s because she’s a preternatural: a soulless being with the ability to negate the supernatural aspects of creatures such as vampires and werewolves. When Alexia accidentally kills a rogue vampire, she becomes embroiled in a supernatural mystery overseen by Lord Maccon, the dangerous and dashing alpha werewolf in charge of policing supernatural activity.
Maccon and Alexia’s headstrong personalities clash—letting off hot sparks—as the mystery deepens. Something big and sinister is threatening the well-being of supernaturals and preternaturals, and, armed with her trusty brass-tipped parasol, Alexia helps Lord Maccon get down to the bottom of this mess before both of their lives are in extreme danger.
I am a HUGE fan of well-executed Austenian wit and satisfying paranormal romances—in fact, I go almost positively fangirl over those aspects—but I’ve always been wary of a blend of the two. Luckily, first-time novelist Gail Carriger has completely succeeded in this ambitious endeavor. SOULLESS is a brilliant and witty steampunk paranormal romance mystery, and one that I’ll be raving about for weeks to come—indeed, if I can ever stop raving about it.
The wry tone of narration in SOULLESS, combined with its engaging characters, makes for an utterly delightful read. For sure, it is most likely not the first time in the history of the English language that an ornery and independent spinster is a main character, but Alexia Tarabotti goes above and beyond the type. Her preternatural “abilities” seem to perfectly complement her personality, unusual for the Victorian age.
Supporting characters, too, are a blast to read about. It doesn’t hurt that Lord Maccon is sexy and adorably gruff. Alexia and Lord Maccon’s chemistry is undeniably good, but it also doesn’t direct the course of the novel, which I appreciated. The paranormal/mystery element of the plot is a little rough sometimes, but it certainly does not detract from one’s enjoyment of reading this book.
Overall, SOULLESS is a cross-genre delight that will be adored by all different kinds of readers. Gail Carriger, you have a solid fan in me, and I will be looking forward impatiently to future books about Alexia and Lord Maccon!
Overall Rating: 4 out of 5
Cover discussion: 3 out of 5 - I'm not very attracted to it, and it was really more the premise and the excellent recommendations people gave it that really motivated me to get this book. The title design and placement is a little childish, and the model is not how I pictured Alexia at all. However, a lot of people like the cover, and I must say it doesn't detract from my enjoyment of this book!
Orbit / Oct. 2009 / Mass Market Paperback / 384pp. / $7.99
This copy was bought and reviewed for my own leisure.