Sunday, October 17, 2010

Soulless (An Alexia Tarabotti Novel, Book 1) by Gail Carriger


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.
I consider the series I have on the go with a vampire or werewolf theme enough, but when I heard about this series I had to add one more. I was supposed to read it earlier this year but didn't get a chance to. This is at least the second time I have had it out from the library and I finally got a chance to see what it was all about. I am really glad I took a chance on the series because if this first book is anything to go by it is going to become one of my favourites. Anyone that reads my blog with any regularity knows that I really enjoy historical fiction and fantasy. When the two genres come together, though, I am usually curious to see how the author manages to pull things off. Gail Carriger has created a fascinating historical world with entertaining characters. The addition of things like werewolves and vampires works well within the story and world. I really think that the author found a nice balance.

This is the story of Alexia Tarabotti. For the era that she is living in, she is considered a spinster. She both likes this and doesn't. There are times where she wishes for a man in her life, but then there are other times where she knows that she is just too unconventional for a man to love. Her mother is remarried and has two other daughters that she is trying to marry off. She has given up on Alexia. Gail Carriger has introduced a new paranormal character to the mix. Alexia is Soulless, which means that she has no soul, but also means that she does not see the world as other people do. You need a soul to get the nuances of society at times. This also gives her powers over the vampires and werewolves that I believe will be addressed further as the series progresses. The series doesn't lack on the action. You get a good idea of just what Alexia is all about from the very first page.

This series has a lot of humour in it, too, which I appreciated. There were plenty of times where I would find myself laughing at a situation that Alexia has found herself in, something she says, or even something that she does. The characters that she interact with also add to this and provide a good blend of people for her to play off of. Her mother reminds me of Mrs. Bennett from Pride & Prejudice. There is lots of freaking out and a bit of fainting when it comes to things that Alexia does. And, well, her mother doesn't know the half of it! Alexia gets her strange abilities from her father, so her mother is largely in the dark about just how bizarre her daughter can be.

This book has a little bit for everyone. There is even some romance thrown in for good measure. The romance is actually one of the better storylines in the book. So, you have all this, some bad guys, mad science, a very flashy vampire, a very attractive werewolf and his sidekick, and even an appearance from the queen. Sounds like a good book, huh? I am looking forward to reading book two!

This book counts for the R.I.P. Challenge!

21 comments:

  1. I've already gone and ordered books 2 & 3 of this series I enjoyed the first one so much

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  2. I randomly looked at this book at the store awhile back but at that point I never heard of it. It sounded good but I didn't take the chance. Now this series seems to be getting more attention. Glad to hear you like it!

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  3. I've really heard nothing but good stuff about this series and don't know why I haven't picked it up yet...but I think that when I do, it'll be this review that puts me over the edge...which means you'll be getting a point ;)

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  4. I agree so much with Chris. I've seen reviews of this book everywhere but haven't picked it up yet. I need to. Great review!

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  5. Such a good book! I loved this one, but I'm so afraid to read the others. I don't want to be disappointed. I'll be on the lookout for your reviews of them...

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  6. I loved this, too - book two just came in the mail for me this week. :)

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  7. Ditto what She said. Soulless was so much fun that I'm now a bit leery of continuing on, especially since the reviews I've seen haven't really been universally positive, especially for the third book.

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  8. This sounds fantastic Kailana, thanks! Hope I don't get confused with the True Blood books, I'm only on book 3 of that series! :-)

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  9. Like others have said, I've heard nothing but great things about this series. I need to add them to my wish list.

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  10. I just finished it and have ordered the next two in the series. Loved it! It was such fun!

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  11. I read it last month for Carl's challenge, and I really enjoyed it! So much so that I rushed out and bought it for my friend's birthday! I really enjoyed Alexia, and everything you mention. I guess I should do a book review, right? I'm really glad you enjoyed it too. I'll link your review to mine.

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  12. I had not heard of this series before I read your review, but I have to say that I am intrigued now. Definitely am going to check this out. I like books with a little but of the paranormal, romance and history all in one. How can you go wrong?

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  13. I'm glad you enjoyed this! Wait till you see what happens in #2. I'm trying to put off reading #3 for a little while, because then I'll have to play the waiting game, and you know how I love that.
    :-p

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  14. I love this series! I'm reading the third one right now, and it's delightful.

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  15. I don't know why, but I've put off reading this series too. And yet I've heard nothing but good things about it.

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  16. I have this out from the library! I have heard nothing but good about it.

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  17. I enjoyed this series soo much. The first book I just picked up from the book store and figured what the heck ill read it. Ive grown to love the book and lended it to a friend who is hooked on it aswell.

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  18. This series sounds sooo good. It's on my TBR.
    Great review :)
    http://thebookworm07.blogspot.com/

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  19. I've heard lots of good things about this book too. And I spotted it in my library so I'm planning to get it on my next visit. Yes, I do have some willpower;P

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  20. I had so much fun reading this book in January while in England. It was perfect for atmosphere.

    Even the sex scenes were good... which I am really fussy about. I understand the 3rd in the series is the best.

    I came by to find your review of My Name is Memory.. but did not. My five minutes of searching is up.

    and Happy Birthday!

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  21. It sounds like a fun mix of elements ... the historical and the fantasy. And it does seem to have a sense of humor, which is always a plus in my book.

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