Book Review: Soulless by Gail Carriger

Soulless by Gail CarrigerTitle: Soulless
Series: Parasol Protectorate, Book 1
Author: Gail Carriger
Genre: Steampunk
Sensuality Rating: Steamy
Source: bought
Published: October 1, 2009 by Orbit

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?

Reviewed By: Emily from Oh Magic Hour

Why I Read This Book: I had been recommended Carriger a few times, both for this series and her YA Finishing School series. The combination of steampunk, alternate history, the paranormal and a steamy romance sounded a bit too good to pass up and so I grabbed the first three books in the series when I saw them at a library sale.

What I Liked: This book was a perfect example of needing to read something at the right time. I have tried reading it 3 or 4 times previously and the soporific effects reached near Austen-like levels for me. But I picked it back up on a whim the other day and could not put it down! In this novel, supernatural creatures (most notably werewolves and vampires) exist openly in society and are, more or less, accepted. Alexia is a preternatural, which here means she has no soul and her mere touch can bring the supernatural creatures back to a mortal state as long as she remains in contact with them. Her love interest, Lord Maccon, is a werewolf and head of a supernatural police force charged with policing its own kind. He is the Alpha male of his pack (oh, and Scottish...) and he and sharp-tongued Alexia match tempers as often as affections. The two get caught up in a mystery relating to disappearing vampires and werewolves. The mystery part was great. I could see a few of the twists and turns coming, but not all. There was plenty left to surprise me at the end.

I loved the alternate history in the novel and thought it added not only to the story itself, but to the telling of the story. Alexia's narrations and Victorian sensibilities were often hilarious. I grew a bit tired of the repeated reference to her looks and love of food, but generally thought she was a great character.

The love story was well done, and I particularly like that there was just one love interest and it appears it will stay that way through the series. The romantic scenes were definitely steamy, and I really loved the power-play relationship between the two characters.

Some of my favorite parts involved the side characters in the series as well. From Lord Akeldama is a foppish vampire who is one of Alexia's closest friends, to Ivy Hisselpenny, whose taste in hats is simply atrocious, there really wasn't a dull moment in this book, even when the romance got a bit slow.

What I Didn’t Liked: Like I mentioned above, I think that this one definitely had a slow start. I had to try a few times to really get into the book, but once I did there was no stopping me.

The romance fell a little bit into my pet peeve of, yes I know you love each other but PLEASE stop having sex when you are literally in the middle of a battle. I prefer my love scenes to be a skotch more believable, but was kind of minor in the long run. I mean, it's a woman and a werewolf, so some amount of believability had already been thrown out the window.

And, finally, I found the continuous references to Alexia's size and appearance to be a bit tiresome, even if completely fitting for the setting of the novel. 

I will also note that many have noted a serious similarity between these novels and the Amelia Peabody series, but since I'm not as familiar with that series it didn't bother me at all.

Overall Impression: Overall, Soulless was a very fun and unique read. I love that the relationship is totally monogamous and it looks like it will be given space in the series to emotionally develop as well as physically. Alexia is a hoot and the ending of this novel sets the series up nicely.  I can't wait to read more of these adventures.

Emily’s Rating:
4 Frogs

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About Brianna: Supermom by day, naughty reader by night. Addicted to chocolate, Twitter, her iPad, her Kindle, and 99¢ Kindle deals. You can follow Brianna on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, and Instagram.


  1. The Parasol Protectorate is one of my all time favorite series, I love Carriger so much :)

    1. I haven't read past this first one even though I enjoyed it so much! I really need to do that ASAP!

  2. I own the first three in this series, but have been a bit hesitant to start them. Not sure why. They do look really interesting though.

    1. It took me a minute to get in to it, like I said, but this is a seriously excellent (and steamy) read, especially if you like urban fantasy types of books.

  3. I really love the series. There are some slow bits in a few books but overall the series is fantastic!

  4. It sounds like I will really enjoy this one. I think Alexia sounds like the type of female character I just all out love and the romance does sound like something I would enjoy.

    Thanks for the great review!

  5. I've read the series and also listened to the first one on audio. Excellent narrator if you want to try the audio. I think I have the 2nd book to listen to also.

    1. Ooh that is a great idea! I will definitely check out the audio!


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