Book Review: Soulless
Soulless by Gail Carriger
Reviewed by Michael Bradley
This is an extremely impressive book. Gail Carriger is the author of fourteen novels. Soulless is the first of five in "The Parasol Protectorate" series. The others are Changeless, Blameless, Heartless and Timeless. I am not spoiling anything here, as much of this information is on the back cover for all to read. The novel starts with Alexia Tarabotti, a Victorian Era fashionista that has been born without a soul. Those with too much soul find themselves as werewolves, vampires or other creatures. Those with the right amount are human, those few with none are Soulless.
Alexia is a strong willed and sharp tongued spinster whose Italian father is dead and she now lives with her mother's new husband and her half-sisters. Her forward ways and tendency to learn too much about science and everything in general frustrate her family. Most do not know of her "special condition." The plot thickens as someone starts to kill off vampires and werewolves and she finds herself at the center of the mystery.
The novel includes so much detail on attire, manners, and romance, that some would consider this a "woman's novel." It was the subject of our monthly Steampunk readers club and most warned me I might not like it as "a man." They were very wrong. The writing style is delightful, charming, witty and humorous. Alexia Tarabotti is a much fleshed out, strong female lead character and really carries the entire story. She is so interesting and sarcastically witty that you really don't care if there is a plot or not. You are simply interested in what she will do or say next.
There is a great plot though, which involves intrigue, mystery, danger and romance. I highly recommend this book for your reading pleasure if you like strong female leads, humor, period pieces, adventure, or Steampunk.