Soulless by Gail Carriger
Parasol Protectorate series #1

Pub: 2009

2 of 5 stars

There was a lot to be said for a man who sported such well-tailored jackets — even if he did change into a ferocious beast once a month.

In alt-history 1860s England, Alexia — a spinster with abilities to negate supernatural powers — joins with an alpha werewolf to uncover a mystery when a number of werewolves and vampires go missing.

After hearing great things about Carriger’s YA novel, Etiquette and Espionage, I decided to read this one first, since that series is supposedly a spin-off of this one.  Apparently I didn’t do my homework; I obviously had no idea what this book was about, or I probably wouldn’t have picked it up.

In the first half of the novel, the author introduces an interesting alt history, in which vampires and werewolves are out in the open and part of England’s society and politics.  Alexia piqued my interest, since she seemed to be a clever character with a witty sense of humor.

I’ve read a few werewolf/vampire novels, but they really just aren’t my thing, and I probably wouldn’t have read this had I known.  Also, from the halfway point on, the witty humor seemed to be replaced with rather graphic “romance” scenes… though it was one of those “romances” where the characters don’t even really seem to like each other, but somehow wind up in compromising situations and just simply can’t control their physical urges.  Again, not at all the kind of book I’d pick up.  Take away the werewolves and vampires and the ‘bodice-ripping’, and there really wasn’t much to the story, which was also rather disappointing.

From a writing standpoint, I’m not sure how the author got away with so much POV head-hopping and constantly switching from “Alexia” to “Miss Tarabotti” within the same paragraphs.  (Also, no one is bothered by the fact that [highlight for spoiler: Alexia is going to keep aging, and her husband — a werewolf — is not?]

Overall:  Not at all my kind of book, though there were a couple clever lines.

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4 responses to “Soulless”

  1. rjzii says :

    I’ve been following this series for a while and your spoiler point is addressed later on in the series – as you might suspect it becomes an issue. The Wall Street Journal had an article a couple years ago, “How to Undress a Victorian Lady in Your Next Historical Romance,” that will lead to further eye-rolling when you come across any “bodice-ripping” in the the future (spoiler: Victorian style clothing is hard to get in an out of.)

    • WNK says :

      Good to know the issue is addressed, though really, you’d think someone would have noticed that problem right away.

      • rjzii says :

        Well, you might be interested to know that you are unlikely to want to even bother trying to pick the series up again. I ended up abandoning the last book in the series, “Timeless”, about half way through due to issues with pacing, plot, and general annoyance at where things had been going.

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