Alexia Tarabotti is laboring 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, gorgeous, and werewolf) is sent by Queen Victoria to investigate.
With unexpected vampires appearing and expected vampires disappearing, everyone seems to believe Alexia 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?
SOULLESS is a comedy of manners set in Victorian London: full of werewolves, vampires, dirigibles, and tea-drinking.
First Impressions: The covers on this series always kind of put me off and that combined with my unreasonable fear of steampunk, I passed this series over several times despite the favorable reviews. After reading the first few chapters I felt like kicking myself for being so stubborn. Right away I thought: lovely, charming, funny, refreshing and witty.
The Hero: Oh Lord Maccon how you make me swoon. So gruff and well…Scottish. I do love a big tough hero that is so completely and helplessly in love with his heroine that he has to antagonize and spar with her. The big ones fall the hardest I guess. I loved that he was so completely baffled with Alexia and her lack of werewolf courting/mating knowledge.
The Heroine: There is not one thing that I did not love about Alexia. She’s completely ok with who she is but not resistant to changing her status, especially when it comes to making out with a sexy werewolf. Her dry humor captivated me right away and I loved that she didn’t seem to realize how funny she actually was. Alexia is a lady, she can kill a vampire in the politest possible way.
Notable secondary: Who doesn’t love a flamboyant vampire? Lord Akeldama is just delightful and the perfect BFF for Alexia. I only wish he had a little more page time as he had me smiling with every word he spoke.
What worked: All of the above. The entire cast of characters are just brilliant, I was completely taken with them all.
What didn’t work: Two things: The story started off strong and then hit a bit of a lull for me. Obviously it picked up again as I did love this book but I admit I was worried for a bit. Also, I was disappointed in the lack of steampunkishness. I know that’s not a word, whatever. When I asked friends for steampunk recs this book came highly recommended so I suppose I just expected more in the steampunk arena. I’m told the next book has more though.
Final conclusion: Brilliant, lovely, entertaining. I am officially in the Alexia Tarabotti fan club and a respectful admirer of the sexy Lord Maccon. I am looking forward to more from this series and I regret that it took me so long to get on board.
“Alexia suspected Lord Maccon’s handling was a tad more than was strictly called for under the circumstances, but she secretly enjoyed the sensation. After all, how often did a spinster of her shelf life get manhandled by an earl of Lord Maccon’s peerage? She had better take advantage of the situation.”
Soulless by Gail Carriger
October 1st 2009 by Orbit