Saturday, January 10, 2015

"Soulless (Parasol Protectorate #1)" by Gail Carriger

Due to the bountiful nature of the book section of my Montana thrift shop, I was able to pick this up on my trip there at Christmas time for a very reasonable price. It was ironic, as I'd just set my mind on buying it (preferably for cheap) and had considered buying it for full price with my Barnes and Noble gift card. Needless to say my gift card money was spent on less easily attainable things.

Back to the book itself- Soulless attracted me with its multiple genres (mainly steampunk/paranormal) and claims of being "Wickedly funny". I did find it humorous, but perhaps not wickedly- most of the jokes were of the sly and situational comedic variety. My first impression was that this would end up on my three-star shelf, because some of the conversations irked me. However, by the end of the novel, my mind had changed- Miss Tarabotti and her parasol had grown on me.

The Plot (As Seen on Goodreads):
'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?'

This book reminded me of a Cinderella-style story- Miss Tarabotti has some serious mama drama going on, and it's her actual mother that slights her, not a stepmother. While Alexia's sisters were born later with a much more Anglo-Saxon pedigree, Alexia's father was Italian and the very reason for her being soulless. Alexia's mother does not do right by her firstborn, and instead favors her daughters from her second marriage. This makes me sad...

From GifSoup
Fortunately for our heroine, not everyone is so mean to her. Lord Maccon, despite being furiously vexing to Alexia (and vice versa), remains a pillar of support for her and tries to defend her (even against herself). Alexia's best friend, Ivy Hisselpenny, seems to make up for the serious lack of strong familial ties in Alexia's life, in addition to giving her much needed advice. Lord Maccon's lieutenant, Professor Lyall, rounds out the unlikely bunch by being the voice of reason, as well as keeping sandwiches on his person for the improvement of Lord Maccon's mood.

Soulless is an action-packed, urban-fantasy-style steampunk read. Sure, it isn't set in an urban modern day world, but reminded me greatly of some of the other urban fantasy series I've read, namely the Kate Daniels series. Despite its similarities (or maybe because of them) I grew to love the rag-tag cast of characters and their zany adventures. I recommend this book for anyone who likes a mix of Victoriana, action-packed steampunk, and paranormal romance with their cup of tea.

Rating: 4 of 5 Stars for an excellent start to a steampunk series!

Content: Ages 18+ for moderate sexual references, ghoulish violence, and exsanguination.

Page Count: 357 pages in my pre-loved paperback edition.


  1. Awesome, I love that little advisory tag. I'm quite new to the urban fantasy world so I'll be on the look out for this one. I still have yet to read the Kate Daniels series I hear so damn much about.

    1. I heard so much about the Kate Daniels series that I read the first book in August, got overloaded with review copies, then read the rest of the books (#2-7) in December. They are highly addictive once past book one, so approach with caution. ;)
      I actually heard Tabitha say she was reading the Parasol Protectorate, and it doubled my determination to get them for myself. I'm not much for steampunk, but it appears the genre is growing on me.
      Thanks for stopping by and commenting, Kat!
      ~Litha Nelle


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