Sunday, July 21, 2013

Novel Review: Soulless (The Parasol Protectorate/Alexia Tarabotti, #1) by Gail Carriger

Rating (Out of 5): ~3 (maybe 3.5)
Genre: Adult Paranormal Historical Romance
Publisher: Hachette Book Group/Little, Brown (Orbit)
Publish Date: 2009
Spoilers?: No.

Goodreads Synopsis:

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?

Something Specific:

  • "'There must be plenty of discerning gentlemen who’d cop to her value.’” (Mass Market Paperback, pg. 23) I liked this particularly, that he, right from the beginning, thought that someone should work with her, not try to change her to be more like everyone else supposedly is in society.
  • "'How ghastly for her,’ said Alexia, driven beyond endurance into comment. ‘People actually thinking, with their brains, and right next door. Oh, the travesty of it all.’” (Pg. 28) This is Alexia being sarcastic when her family is talking about some sophisticated club/shop opens in their town, in a moment that I rather enjoyed.
  • "‘La, my dearest girl, you invited me because you could not bear to be without my company a single moment longer. And I shall be cut to the very quick of my extensive soul if your reason is anything else.’” (Pg. 48) This is Lord Akeldama speaking, emphasizing odd words. He’s rather marvelous.

The Cover:

I kind of hate the cover of this book. Mainly, the way the model is standing/walking. Her back is situated so weird; no one walks like that, and it looks unbearably awkward and uncomfortable. It bothers me every time I look at it.


I was really hoping to like this book. Instead, I found it a bit hard to get through, even if I did enjoy some parts of it.
Alexia Tarabotti, who is soulless, lives in old England, and she’s a spinster. Being soulless means that, of course, she has no soul, and that she is able to take away any supernaturals powers while touching them. Meaning that, when a vampire attacks her in the first chapter, as soon as he touches her, his fangs retract and his body is no different from a normal humans. Then he lets go of her and his fangs come back.
Another reviewer mentioned something about the soullessness that I agreed with. The fact that, apparently, being soulless is no different from not being soulless. Because, aside from taking away power from supernaturals, Alexia doesn’t seem any different from everyone else. Though she is also called a preternatural, which I thought was more fitting.
Aside from that, I rather liked Alexia. She’s smart and witty and sarcastic, and she had a lot of lines and thoughts throughout the book that I found funny. The love interest, Lord Maccon, a werewolf, I also really liked. He’s protective and gruff and is always bantering with Alexia, and it was all around very enjoyable to read their scenes together. Also, the sexy scenes: there were more of those than I thought there would be, and I really liked those.
There were a lot of characters that I liked in this book. I liked Alexia’s family’s butler, and I liked Lord Maccon’s second. And I really liked Lord Akeldama, who is flamboyant and happy and gossipy and is always emphasizing his words.
The one thing that really made this book hard to get through, though, was the writing. It’s very long winded. The dialogue is good and easy to get through, but most of the book is made up of page-long paragraphs, and they were just hard to read, a lot of the time. There were several parts throughout the book, though, that were easy to get through. The scenes with Lord Maccon, for instance. And the ending; the ending was good.
Overall, I liked this book. It was witty and entertaining and fun and I liked the characters. But I didn’t really enjoy reading it a lot of the time, and I’m not in too big a hurry to get the next one.

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