Author: Gail Carriger
Publication date: October 2009
Series: Parasol Protectorate Book 1
[Amazon | Indie Bound | BN | Find it at your local library]
(Other reviews: Publisher’s Weekly (starred review), Tor)
Steph and I were talking about books the other day, as one does, and I mentioned I was looking for new genres. Knowing that I also have a taste for most things Victorian/steampunk/gaslamp, she recommended Soulless, the first book in the Parasol Protectorate series.
Now, I read a lot but I also have a habit of starting books and never finishing them. I read by what I’m interested in the moment. I may be going through a cozy mystery period but I could really go for romcom. Or I could really dig into a biography or a book from 100 years ago. My mood changes quickly so the book really has to capture me to keep me going longer than a few chapters.
With all of that being said, Steph knowing this about me, recommended Soulless to me as a fun and funny read. So I checked the ebook out and discover that I’m 31% through already.
No idea why I returned it before finishing it because it was fun, witty, a tad bit sexy, and funny. I love Alexia Tarabotti and her Pride and Prejudice barbs with with Conall, Lord Maccon. Lord Akeldama who speaks in emphasis my tulip is a joy to behold. The story of mad scientists gone awry was fun and a bit of a dazzle to follow.
And while it has preternaturals, supernaturals, and people with terrible fashion sense (Ivy!), at its heart, it’s a mystery. Who is kidnapping the werewolfs, vampires, and ghost and what exactly is happening to them and why? Does Alexia’s background have anything to do with this (she’s is not only a ghastly spinster but also an Italian to boot)? Does her dead father figure into this somehow?
Miss Gail has created a delightful world to romp and play in. The language can get a bit strained at times but quickly recovers. The naming scheme she’s come up with (Ivy Hisselpenny (her best friend) and Loonwilts (her family)) are fabulous with a bit of a fan tip to the nose.
It’s difficult to say anything wrong with this book. I know steampunk/gaslamp books can be a bit heavy handed on the gadgets and gewgaws as well as the underlying sense of trying to be different enough but Miss Gail does it so effortlessly and easily that her writing should be a masterclass.
tl;dr: If you’re in the mood for steampunk romcom mystery with sexy banter and fun word play, Soulless is your book.