Review: Soulless by Gail Carriger

Filed in 4 Stars , Gail Carriger , Review , The Winged Lover Posted on July 10, 2012 @ 12:00 pm 10 comments

Format read: ebook
Series: The Parasol Protectorate – Book 1
Genre: urban fantasy
Release Date: 1 October 2009
Number of pages: 357 pages
Publisher: Berkley
Formats available: ebook, paperback
Purchasing Info: Goodreads, Author’s Website | Amazon | B&N | Kobo | Book Depository US | Book Depository (UK)

Book Blurb:


First, she has no soul. Second, she is 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 accidently kills the vampire – and then the appalling Lord Maccon (loud, messy, gorgeous, and 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?

My Thoughts:

Well, that was better than what I was initially expecting.

Alexia Tarabotti is a shelved spinster living in a Steampunk, supernatural alternative to Victorian England. She is a reader, interested in science, outspoken and one of her great joys in life is baiting the Earl of Woolsey, the local alpha werewolf and head of BUR, the supernatural police.

When Alexia is attacked not once but twice by mysterious beings, one being an unregistered vampire, the Earl places a guard at her home while he investigates, but Alexia is not one to do what she is told, so she investigates also, using her own contacts to find out as much as she can about the recent disapperances of vampires and werewolves in the area.

Alexia was my kind of character, she adhered to social protocol while still doing things her own way. Her ability to remain unfazed by what would have others around her fainting kept Soulless a light-hearted and occasionally comical read. A resigned spinster though, Alexia is suspicious of the Lord Maccon’s, the Earl of Woolsey, seemingly sudden interest in her.

Soulless was an engrossing read, it initially took a little time for me to understand Carriger’s world ad her names for things. Hives are what vampire nests are called, drones their servants and Rove’s are rogue vampires that do not belong to a nest. Then there is another set for the werewolves. Once I got past this initial confusion it was quite easy to follow on and I was flying through Soulless after that.

I really liked Soulless‘s approach to romance, there wasn’t an overabundance of it of which I am glad as it would have taken away from the more interesting aspects of the story, but the way it was done, it wasn’t sudden, it wasn’t forced, it was just so naturally intertwined into the story and so well paced, which seems so difficult to find in what I seem to be reading at the moment.

My only qualms with this book is the style of the writing, Carriger couldn’t seem to decided whether she wanted an omnicient third person or limited third person, it was another thing I struggled with at the beginning of Soulless, but either I got used to it by the middle to the point where I didn’t notice it as much or Carriger got better at keeping to one POV.

The other aspect to Carriger’s writing that got me was her tendancy to embellish her sentences with long words. I am by no means one to baulk at fancy words or the masterfullness of Carriger’s thesaurus usage but if you want to use big words, use them in the right context, otherwise one goes from sounding fancy to sounding like someone who just wanted to stick a big word in there to make oneself sound smarter.

Overall Soulless was an engrossing read, after a slightly rocky start it sucked me in and left me wanting to get to Blameless as soon as possible.

About Amanda

Amanda-Lee is a proudly addicted reader and writer from Sydney. She lives with her wonderful husband and their more like a baby than a kitten Hamish. Amanda-Lee has been blogging for 4 years now and is a lover of all genres, though she does have a tendancy to stray towards the weird and wonderful concotions in the paranormal and fantasy genres. In addition to being the Winged Lover on BLI she also runs the book blog StoryWings.

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Join the Discussion
  • draconismoi July 10, 2012 at 2:09 pm

    I greatly enjoyed Soulless as well. But HATED the end to Changeless. Be warned. You may very well throw the book across the room in rage!

    Or not. You won’t have to wait a year for the sequel to fix things.

    • Amanda August 24, 2012 at 12:06 am

      i want to continue this series, but i don’t know, I haven’t felt “the pull” and i don’t have the next book on my shelf yet…i don’t know if i will be reading them yet

  • Susan July 10, 2012 at 6:02 pm

    Nice review. I, too, was surprised at how much I enjoyed this book. I wasn’t sure I’d be able to get into it, but after awhile it really took off for me.

    If memory serves, I was a bit underwhelmed by the second book, Changeless. And, yes, the cliffhanger totally sucked. As draconismoi notes, at least someone new to the series can jump right into Blameless and discover the resolution, without having to languish in agony for months! And, after that, the series ends strongly, with both Heartless and Timeless being excellent reads.

    In addition to her YA series, I understand that Carriger intend to launch a new Parasol Protectorate series next year. Yay.

    • Amanda August 24, 2012 at 12:07 am

      yes i heard about the new series as well, I wonder who it will center around

  • aurian July 11, 2012 at 11:29 am

    Nice review Amanda, I really like this series, and am saving the last book for a gloomy mood day.

    • Amanda August 24, 2012 at 12:08 am

      they are definitely good for that. Come to think of it I need a few more gloomy mood books on my shelf

  • melliane July 11, 2012 at 3:51 pm

    glad you enjoyed it as well, it was a nice book, and I really like Alexia. She is always so amazing! I need to start the fourth book.

    • Amanda August 24, 2012 at 12:09 am

      i know im late to the party but i agree it is a great series, I’m glad im not going to get cliffhanger sick with this series now that its finished

  • blodeuedd July 11, 2012 at 3:57 pm

    Now I got sad since I remembered that I have read them all

    • Amanda August 24, 2012 at 12:08 am

      haha, i hate that feeling. I get that about many of my favourite series that i have now finished

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