Soulless (The Parasol Protectorate: Book the First) by Gail Carriger
Orbit Books (September 29, 2009)
384 pages, Historical Paranormal Fantasy
$7.99 (Amazon.com, Mass Market Paperback, 09/28/09)
$6.39 (Kindle, 09/28/09)
Overall: 30/30 = 100% = A+ Freaking Amazing
Cover/Title Bonus: 5
Okay, so I first notice this book the day after I returned from BEA in NYC back in May. I was sooo upset because apparently Gail was at BEA and I missed the chance to pick up an ARC! I immediately contacted the publisher to explain my predicament. They generously sent me a copy to review!!! WOOHOO!
This book was brilliant. If you read nothing else of this review just know that if you enjoy paranormal or historical fiction in any sense this novel will blow your socks off. It’s hilarious, beautifully written, adventurous, and even a little bit scary.
Orbit has done a ton to get this book some well worth attention. Don’t forget to check at the end of my review for links to the amazing stuff! First chapter full cast audio and virtual dress up!
Summary (Gail’s web site)
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 is being rudely attacked by a vampire to whom she has not been properly introduced!
Where to go from there? From bad to worse apparently, for Alexia accidentally kills the vampire, and 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? Who is the real enemy, and do they have treacle tart?
Read an excerpt on Orbit’s blog.
Amazing plot. Alexia Tarabotti is not a normal human therefore it seems logical that her life would not be normal either. She seems to be swatting away vampires, insulting werewolves, and ever irritating her high society parents. She is set on helping the local “chief of police”, Lord Conall Macoon aka Alpha of the local werewolf pack and his Beta Professor Lyall. Their adventure to solve the mystery behind some murders is creative and lively. The main villain group has the symbol of an octopus, which is really strange and not explained in this first book. I’m hoping it’s explained in book the second, Changeless.
It’s set in high society 1873 late Victorian London. There are balls, the whole attire of that century with things I didn’t even know what they were, which did hinder my ability to visualize everything accurately but I’ve seen enough movies set in this time period to have guessed pretty correctly, or so I think! The setting is depicted beautifully. It is one of the things I enjoyed the most. I love a good historical fiction novel but this blew all other historical novels out the window in comparison.
You’d think after reading this that Gail lived during this time period. She is absolutely amazing. I LOVED the proper speech, the setting, the attire, and the fact that there were paranormal entities added the cherry on top of this wonderfully arranged piece of fictional art. I could not even begin to explain how amazing this book was to read. I was laughing, swooning, cringing with fright and periodically embarrassed for one character or another a few times. Soulless has it ALL.
The pace is awesome. There’s action, romance, lots of historical factors, and a horrifying abomination thing that scared the living hell out of me.
Soulless is written in third-person point of view. I loved this point of view!
Well, yeah, if you haven’t figured it out yet, this is just about as original as it gets. “A novel of vampires, werewolves, and parasols” is the blurb on the front of the book. Mixing all that together with the 1873’s high society, late Victoria London was genius of Miss Gail Carriger.
Miss Alexia Tarabotti is the main character. She’s preternatural: Soulless. She can void any supernatural ability with the touch of her hand. She’s fairly young at 26. She’s of Italian descent, which gives her a darker complexion. She’s very strong willed and a fun character to learn about.
Lord Connal Maccon is the “chief of police” or Earl, the Alpha of the werewolf pack, and swoon worthy. He is a truly remarkable specimen of a man and I love his character. He’s Scottish and his accent slips to the Scottish brogue every now and again and it weakens me at the knees.
I play an online game called Counter Strike: Source, which has voice enabled communication so you can speak with the other players. I met a guy on there with a Scottish accent and I asked him if I typed something would he say it? He agreed, so I found a line from the book and asked him to say it and wow…..just wow. I think I’ll be buying the audio just to hear that brogue whenever I please. See the end of the review for the sample audio chapter! It’s awesome!
Professor Lyall is an awesome character too! He’s Lord Maccon’s second-in-command at the “police station” and also his Beta in the pack. Love his character. He’s the middle man between Alexia and Lord Maccon.
The abomination thing is scary as hell, as mentioned previously, it made me cringe as I was reading. I think I even had a nightmare or two because of it. That is one thing I’ll never forget about this book. It was incorporated in the plot of the book very well and added a hint of horrorificness, which made the book all that more enjoyable.
Lastly, Lord Akeldama is the most awesome character I’ve read in a long time. He’s unique and loved. He’s a very old, very strong, very solitary, and very flamboyant and gay. He was enjoyed immensely by this reader!
The blooming relationship between Miss Tarabotti and Lord Maccon is amusing, sweet, and destined. Their continuous banter is hilarious yet so true to both characters. Miss Tarabotti is a strong willed woman and Lord Maccon is refreshingly the Alpha male that women are attracted to yet do not fully surrender with out a noble fight: playing hard to get, which Alexia does very well.
A must buy. I will most definitely purchase the audio book for this and listen to it regularly. The story is strong, engaging, and mysterious. The characters are loveable and unforgettable. Miss Gail Carriger is my new favorite author. I’ll be putting her on auto buy and I will be stalking her future releases like a hawk. Well done Gail, well done.
The title fits perfectly with this first installment to the series. I like the one word title. It’s simple yet perfect.
The cover is perfect. Love the model of Miss Tarabotti and the parasol is amazingly perfect.
I wonder if this was made after the book was written or if it was the inspiration to the book? I also like the font of the title and how it’s encased in the hot pink highlight. The front cover blurb is simple, yet again, oh so true to the book.
Gail wrote a lovely blog post that explains how the cover was made. It also explains the cover of Changeless.
Connect with Gail Carriger
Listen to the AMAZING full-cast audio complete with music, soundFX and soundscapping. Directed by J. Daniel Sawyer and produced by ArtisticWhispers Productions.
Should the below icon link not work for you, you can access it from this link. The below link goes directly to just the audio player.
Play with this awesome virtual dress up! I enjoyed playing with this!
Other Cool Things
- BABBLING ABOUT BOOKS, AND MORE!
- Book girl of Mur-y-Castell
- Janicu’ Book Blog
- Mad Hatter’s Bookshelf & Book Review
- Poisoned Rationality
- Fantastic Book Review
- The Book Smugglers
Pre-order! Also available on the Kindle!
Changeless (The Parasol Protectorate, Book the 2nd) by Gail Carriger , will be released March 30, 2010 per Amazon.com. Followed by Blameless, the third book.
So, what do you think? Are you ready for a magical tale in the form of a Historical Paranormal Fantasy novel? Pick up a copy tomorrow or pre-order it today!