Reviews

Soulless by Gail Carriger

alwaysbooking's review against another edition

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4.0

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The language is set up for the 19th century and I loved it. The front of the book I own literally says "A novel of vampires, werewolves and parasols". I want to say bravo to the thought process that went into this book. I wasn't sure what had me more engrossed the language or the supernatural policies.

This book follows Alexia a preternatural woman, she can change any supernatural back into a human with just a touch. Alexia is a wonderful character she is strong and determined. The only time she is ever hard on herself is when her family is involved. They have led her to believe her pedigree is not worthy. Not only is she a worthy heroine she also has the sophistication and grace of her time! Obviously she carry's around a silver tipped parasol to protect herself from the supernatural beings not registered with the BUR. However when an un-registered vamp decides to attack her it leads onto a long mysterious journey with the very handsome and Scottish Lord Maccon.

Lord Maccon is a werewolf and a head at the BUR. He is already investing the new vampire pop ups when Alexia gets entangled with one. I loved their interactions he's all burly and grumpy and she is trying to be delicate. They come off as hating each other in the beginning and then the tables turn. I really enjoyed when he got super angry at something his Scottish accent got thicker. His Beta was really enjoyable how he always was quietly exasperated with Lord Maccon's manner's and appearance. Will the next book be about him?? I sure hope so...

Alexia's good vampire friend I hope to see in many more books. His characteristics were amazing. He seemed a genuine friend and was always impeccably dressed...

paigestooksbury's review against another edition

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funny mysterious medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Plot
  • Strong character development? It's complicated
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

3.0

kayteeem's review against another edition

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YA regency romance with vampires and werewolves. And even though I sometimes feel that I've had enough of vampires and werewolves, this is a slightly different take that I found entertaining.

SpoilerUnfortunately, the scientists turn out to be the antagonists in this one. And the overuse of the octopus as a symbol in their club never gets explained at all. Perhaps in one of the sequels.

alanaleigh's review

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4.0

Well, there's certainly no shortage of paranormal literary fun out there these days, and for those of us who haven't abandoned the genre quite yet, I am here to let you know that there are still some creative reads out there. I'm a little late to the game on the "Parasol Protectorate" series, which kicks off with Soulless, but ever since seeing the fun steampunk cover a while ago, it's been on my to-read list... and the contents are far more entertaining than the cover.

Alexia Tarabotti is soulless. It's not that she's cruel or mean or anything... she simply has no soul. This state manifests itself in a complete inability to dress with style (even if she can precisely imitate a fad, there's just no flair), a very methodical and scientific thought process, and the ability to neutralize supernatural creatures upon direct contact. You see, in this alternate 19th-century steampunk world, vampires and werewolves have been integrated with society (or at least they have in certain countries) and while there can be some tensions, Britain enjoys a rather progressive view on the matter of supernatural races. Of course, that doesn't mean that society is any less rigid on the truly important matters -- like a ladies' reputation, the proper apparel for a carriage ride, and a gentleman's assets (including his human versus supernatural state) as they reflect upon his eligibility as a suitor. Alexia is one of the very rare beings known as a preternatural, which earns the epithet "soul-sucker" from vampires and "curse-breaker" from werewolves. Unlike other paranormal hypotheses which would suggest such creatures lose their souls, in this world, it is a person's excess of soul that allows them the ability to survive the change into an immortal creature, should they make such a choice. (Otherwise, it seems that an excess of soul can lead to becoming a ghost upon death, which is not a permanent situation, as ghosts eventually get a bit batty as they fade away.) Alexia's touch would negate the supernatural abilities, rendering the supernatural mortal (no fangs, claws, or special final-death rules apply)... or resulting in an exorcism for a ghost should she touch its corporeal body.

The fact that Alexia is soulless, however, is not what makes her a bit of a societal outcast. That fact can be attributed to the fact that her father was unfortunately Italian (rendering her complexion unfashionably dusky), her nose is too large, she is a total bluestocking, and she doesn't give a fig for the usual feminine obsessions, though she does like more meaningful gossip. Her mother remarried when Alexia was young and so Alexia has two very silly sisters (the Misses Flootwill) to provide her very silly mother with some solace for the fact that her eldest was deemed a spinster at age fifteen. Alexia had long since resigned herself to this fact (and indeed, never minded in the first place) and so when some kissing occurs in the course of this novel, she's completely unprepared and has no idea what should be done about the matter. (More on that later.) Alexia does, at least, have two good friends on her side: Miss Ivy Hisselpenny has an atrocious taste in hats but is Alexia's only real girlfriend, and on the immortal side of things, Alexia has entered into the good graces of Lord Akeldama. Lord Akeldama is the most fashionable vampire in London -- a useful fellow to know should one need to know anything about anyone, as the young men who serve as his drones might appear to be silly, foppish dandies, but they are in actuality a most effective information-gathering network.

When the novel opens, Alexia is quite rudely attacked by a vampire who has no idea what Alexia is (otherwise he should not have tried something as foolish as an attack on a preternatural) and when the situation leads to some grappling and Alexia eliminating said vampire, Lord Maccon shows up to investigate. Lord Conall Maccon is a supremely eligible bachelor, despite being both Scottish and a werewolf; not only is he the Alpha of his pack, but he is the head of a government agency entrusted with supernatural matters. He's boorish, stubborn, gorgeous, a good two hundred years Alexia's senior and constantly at odds with our heroine... such strong emotions unsurprisingly lead to impressive passion (hence the kissing mentioned earlier). Lord Maccon manages to keep her name out of the papers with regards to the vampire incident, but nothing is quite so easy as it seems and before long, Alexia is mixed up in their concerns over randomly appearing and disappearing vampires that has Alexia becoming deeply involved in the supernatural worlds.

Gail Carriger is really quite fresh, witty, and charming -- and one can really only value that after enduring a few instances of writers who simply *try* to be fresh, witty, and charming, but fail. Her sense of whimsy is delightful and she revels in ridiculous situations. Alexia, meanwhile, muddles through them with... well, not grace, exactly, but she does at least retain her humor. While she doesn't have much self-esteem when it comes to her appearance, Alexia Tarabotti has no question about her own capable intelligence and ability to suss out any problems that come her way. Coupled with insatiable curiosity and a refusal to admit that something interesting might not concern her, Alexia is sure to be a fantastic heroine for many books to come. Soulless is one of those books that is rather perfect for my Nook, as I finished the first book and immediately purchased, downloaded, and began to read the second (and the third, for that matter, once I finished the second). I challenge you to resist a similar temptation -- when you finish Soulless, just see if you don't immediately consider how to best get your hands on a copy of Changeless. Do yourself a favor and have it waiting.

breadandmushrooms's review against another edition

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adventurous medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? No
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? No

2.75

eyreguide's review against another edition

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4.0

Alexia Tarabotti is a delightful character! She's outspoken, loves good food, and is intelligent and sarcastic. I loved reading all about her adventures in this novel. And of her antagonistic relationship with Lord Maccon, who finds her very exasperating. But of course there is something more between them. The romance aspect was delicious - a bit steamy, but also fun because of how unused to romance Alexia was. Lord Maccon was not a character that leaped off the page as distinctly as Alexia for me, but he was a character that I can easily think of as 'yummy' and 'book boyfriend material'. I'm sure though that there will be a lot more development to his character through the course of the series.

The steampunk-ish, supernatural world the author sets up is fantastic as well - so detailed and believable, down to the pseudo-scientific explanations for the supernaturals and preternaturals. The Victorian aspect was very well described as well with the details of dress and etiquette, which made the whole world really come to life.

The mystery aspect of the story sometimes felt subordinate to the romance and the development of the characters, but there were some great twists and surprises, and a highly satisfactory resolution. I felt the villains' motivation behind the mystery was relatable and something important to examine, because it is an aspect of human nature that seems to be unfortunately prevalent today and I thought it interesting to consider that universality of it while Alexia had to deal with it in the novel. But I don't want to reveal too much about that part of the story, as it might give away some key details about the mystery.

The only aspect of this novel that disappointed me somewhat, was some of the illogical actions of a character towards the end. I didn't understand why that person did a couple of things, regardless of his feelings, so it sometimes felt like the situation that came of it was very contrived. But this is a great start to a series, and I plan to continue reading!

jensen1's review against another edition

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adventurous emotional funny lighthearted mysterious medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Plot
  • Strong character development? No
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? It's complicated

3.0

kittkin's review against another edition

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adventurous funny lighthearted mysterious fast-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Plot
  • Strong character development? No
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? It's complicated
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? No

3.0

nicnicker's review against another edition

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adventurous funny lighthearted medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? It's complicated
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? No

3.75

_ash0_'s review against another edition

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4.0

When I started reading this book, I didn’t expect to like it. I had no idea about the premise other than the main protagonist being soulless. But the book turned to be extremely humorous and interesting. Like the blurb says, it reminded me of Jane Austen (worried mother of a spinster who is smart and silly sisters) and P G Wodehouse (butlers and witty sentences). This is probably the first urban fantasy that I actually liked. It had feminist themes too and the setting was equally interesting - Victorian London where vampires and werewolves have been integrated into the society. The book however read more like a book from romance or erotic genre since most part of the book focused on Alexia’s romance with a werewolf. Even though I am not a fan of books from romance genre, I found this book interesting and there is a small mystery element in this book too, which I was able to guess correctly right at the beginning of the book. I will probably continue with this series and also checkout this author’s other series.


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Did not like the audiobook narrator. Going to try the physical edition.