Review: Soulless by Gail Carriger

Posted 9 April, 2011 by Danny in / 12 Comments

by Gail Carriger
Published: October 1, 2009
Links: Indiebound
(order from an Independent Bookstore near YOU!)
Amazon (available as Kindle and Audiobook edition)
eBook purchased by reviewer
Synopsis from IndieBound

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.


Pushy: A few weeks ago (ok, ok, I know it was two months ago… *sighs*), I wrote a post about wanting to try out a new fiction genre: Steampunk. Soulless was the book I chose out of your many suggestions. And, in addition to so many wonderful recommendations, I was lucky enough to have the lovely new blogger, Darkfallen, offer to read this book and review it with me!!! So, please help me welcome Darkfallen of Paranormal Wasteland!!!

Darkfallen: So let me start by saying this book was a lot of firsts for me. An experiment in it’s own right…

  1. Introduction into Steampunk
  2. First book that I went into completely blind.
  3. First genre that I knew nothing about.

I just simply decided to venture into uncharted territory 100% in the dark. I even let my pal Pushy pick the book so that I wouldn’t be tempted to read anything about it. This is also a new genre for Pushy as well, so with the help of the awesome followers at Bewitched Bookworms, we started our journey. Holding each others hand every step of the way.

Pushy: *cheesy grin*

Darkfallen: In the beginning I found myself saying “Oh Kaycee what have you gotten yourself into,” but I pushed on. I am So So So glad I did.

The first 100 pages or so were a little rough for me for no other reason than I didn’t understand everything I was reading. To my surprise this book is set during the Victorian era and the language reflected this. Of course I speak American English, but old proper English not so much. lolz However I found myself catching on and even when I didn’t, I simply didn’t care. This story is filled with awesomeness and the pages will start flying I promise you. So lets get on with it shall we?!

Miss Alexia Tarabotti is a lot of things. A spinster, of Italian descent due to her late father, quite a stubborn women, and most importantly soulless. Also a trait from her father.

Being soulless leaves her with the ability to cancel out the powers of the supernatural simply through touch. It’s a good thing too, because Miss Tarabotti often doesn’t know how to keep her mouth shut. In a time where women are meant to be seen and not heard her mouth often finds her in trouble. Especially with Lord Maccon, Earl of Woosley, the alpha of the Woosley werewolves, and the head of BUR.

Pushy: The SUPER HOT, MANLY MAN head of BUR! Rarrw!

Darkfallen: Everything goes awry when an unregistered vampire tries to attack Miss Tarabotti. Alexia, being the strong willed women she is, fights back and kills him, but that only leaves a trail of questions. Who was this unregistered vampire? Why was he so starved to attack an unwilling donor? Most importantly how is it possible that he didn’t know what Alexia is?

The story unravels from there with many twists and turns along the way. You will find ghost, vampires (some more flamboyant than others lol), mad scientist, and of course the most delicious romance. Oh yes there will be nakedness!! *fans herself* I am definitely going to be reading Changeless to see where Miss Tarabotti heads next.

Pushy: I agree with Darkfallen: this book was thoroughly enjoyable! As my first, but certainly not last, foray into the Steampunk genre, I was a tad nervous. Plus, it’s not just Steampunk but Paranormal Steampunk with vampires and werewolves and ghosts (oh, my!). But I never found the individual elements that were thrown together and blended at high speed distracting. Rather they compliment one another surprisingly well!

Alexia is a wonderful romantic heroine who has no expectation or inclination toward romance or love due to the fact that she’s a little older than the girls about her (firmly on the shelf at 25, thank you very much). In fact, all she seems to want to get her hands on is a nice serving of tea and biscuits. But fate, and her preternatural (read Soulless) status, seem to thwart her at every turn. That and the fact that her family are woefully lacking in the brains department are enough to make any young lady crabby (which she is, much to the reader’s delight).

Then add into the mix that her favorite, verbal sparing partner (a peer of the realm AND a werewolf) has begun to act strangely around her and you can see why Alexia is driven to distraction.

And then, of course, there’s the fact that Alexia finds herself embroiled in a mystery after inadvertently killing a vampire and as she unravels it, she finds herself drawn more and more to Lord Maccon (the aforementioned werewolf/snark target). But she doesn’t have much time to contemplate what her emotions for the man may be since vampires and werewolves are disappearing and things just get progressively more complex.

Bottom Line

Pushy: The disparate elements of this story combine to create a wonderfully entertaining read!

Darkfallen: Buy it, borrow it, rent it, steal it if you have to, but you have to READ this book!!

Don’t look down and jump into Steampunk! You’ll thank me later. 😉

We give it 4.5 out of 5 books!

Final Notes

Darkfallen enjoyed this book so much that she’s already read and reviewed the next two in the series, Changeless and Blameless. Definitely check her reviews out!

Now go and get lost…in a book!

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12 Responses to “Review: Soulless by Gail Carriger”

  1. Greta is Erikasbuddy

    Awesome review guys!! I love going into books blind! And you totally can't go wrong with werewolves, vampires, and ghosts — OH MY!

    Reply »

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