Friday, November 12, 2010

Book Review: Soulless, by Gail Carriger

Summary from 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?

Let me first get out of the way what I kinda, sorta (just a little) didn't like about this book...
Firstly, it seemed to take a little while to get moving, but once it did I was hooked. Secondly, the author changes POV quite frequently, sometimes even within one paragraph! This confused me initially (Why do I suddenly know what Lord Maccon is thinking and feeling when I thought I was seeing this all from Alexia's POV?) but once I figured out what the author was doing that was all fine.

So aside from that I thoroughly enjoyed this book! It had such delightfully proper English of the type I haven't read since, well, Jane Austen, probably, and yet the author managed to incorporate a naughtiness that Austen would have found highly improper, I'm sure! The humour (while not for everyone) had me almost laughing out loud at times :-)

Another thing I noticed was the absence of clichéd writing. There are only so many ways that you can say... well, pretty much anything, so after reading many, many books, lots of writing just seems like a cliché (the most ordinary of things can only be said in a certain number of ways and then those ways are all used up!). But when you're writing in the type of English that no one has spoken for about a hundred years, well, everything sounds fresh!

So while the story itself was good, I think I enjoyed this novel mainly because of the way in which it was written. That and the main character, Miss Alexia Tarabotti. Her mature, no-nonsense, matter-of-fact attitude toward just about anything made for the type of heroine I haven't read in a while--and really liked :-)

I definitely suggest this book to anyone who finds the idea of mixing fantasy, mystery, romance, steampunk and Victorian times appealing. Enjoy!

Thanks, Faith, for the recommendation!


The Golden Eagle said...

I love reading Fantasy/Steampunk--this book sounds great! Thanks for the review!

Quinn said...

I keep seeing this book popping up everywhere. After your review, I may have to read it.

Joanna St. James said...

oh I think it sounds wonderful, and the fact that out of all thats happening she can still worry about treacle tart.

Melissa said...

This book sounds awesome. I especially love the little blurb about it being about Vampires, werewolves and parasols! That was awesome.

Madeleine said...

Glad she's got her priorities right. If not treacle tart then fruit crumble. Mmmm! Sounds like an intriguing read :O)

L'Aussie said...

Great review. I like the sound of this book, and the English. Thanks Rachel..:)

Adina West said...

Definitely sounds intriguing...and I'm with Madeleine. Mention desserts and I'm there!