Take the structured societal rules and preoccupation with manners of Jane Austen, a sexed up version of the conflict-ridden romance between Elizabeth Bennett and Fitzwilliam Darcy in Pride and Prejudice, some dandy vampires and lusty werewolves who have integrated into society a la The Sookie Stackhouse Mysteries, a guest spot from Queen Victoria and add a few steampunk touches and you pretty much have Soulless by Gail Carriger. That’s right, one book combines all those awesome things.
“Alexia Tarrabotti is labouring 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 and gorgeous werewolf) is sent by Queen Victoria to investigate.
With unexpected vampires appearing and expected vampires disappearing, everyone seems to believe Alexia is 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?”
Alexia was a wonderful character to travel through this story with; stubborn, assertive, argumentative and partial to copious amounts of tea, treats and Lord Maccon. I broke out in giggles a number of times while reading this book, which is always a good sign. The combination of Alexia’s personality, her less than loving family and the plot’s mystery reminded me a little of The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie, but only a little.
Soulless is gloriously fun for anyone who enjoys a light, slightly tongue-in-cheek read. I know I’ll be reading Changeless, the next installment in The Parasol Protectorate Series.
“Mr MacDougal gave her a shocked glance.
As subtly as possible, Alexia winked at him.
He looked as though he might faint but sat back in his chair, clearly of a mind to let her deal with the situation in whatever way she saw fit.
Miss Tarrabotti had the transitory idea that he might be suitable husband material after all. And then realized that a lifelong alliance with a man of such weak character would certainly turn her into a veritable tyrant.” – p 267.