by Gail Carriger
Mass Market Paperback, 365 pages
Published October 1st 2009 by Orbit
I rec'd print copies of both versions of Soulless from Orbit. I am super-duper grateful. The following review is my honest opinion.
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?
This review has been a LOOONG time in the writing. Some books are easy to review. Others need to bang around in my head awhile before I can let them out. For me... I had read so many reviews about Soulless, I was full of comparative thoughts that didn't do the book justice.
Soulless is great on so many levels. The humor is what makes it hard for me to review, more than anything. It seasons the entire book just right, but how to rate humor? Such things are dependent upon opinion, you know? Gail Carriger's sense of humor is ironic and dry with a touch of slapstick - the sort of stuff that makes me snort outloud while reading.
I can't review the humor without associating it with the humor. Miss Terabotti falls in love while in denial. She is so irritated with Lord Maccon, she cannot admit to being attracted to him. Absolutely delightful. On another level, though, she sees herself as an old spinster and unlovable. The pain that adds depth to her snarky attitude.
Lord Connall Maccon, meanwhile, is a werewolf dealing with vampire troubles... which are driving him crazy. He tackles London's paranormal issues with unwanted help from the proper Alexia Terabotti... who he keeps trying to rescue from all the troubles she gets into, but ends up avoiding the pointy end of her parasol, instead. When he finally admits he's attracted to her, his troubles increase because, well, he's a werewolf and she misunderstands his advances!
The tangles are hilarious and complicated. The romance is hot and fast. The sarcasm and wit flies everywhere. This story is hugely entertaining in a head shaking, unbelievable sort of way.
Alexia is a winning character, aware of propriety, but not confined to it, completely able to get herself out (and in) to trouble single-handedly. The various side characters have colorful depth. I recommend this book to everyone... although it does have some "adult" scenes between these unlikely lovebirds.
The paranormal aspect of society might keep some readers away who would love this book hugely. (Mom!)
I wonder what Alexia and Connall could possibly do next? This book is definitely complete in itself. Of course, having met them, they'll probably cause as much trouble as they fix, but it will be fun!
My Rating: 4
Cover Commentary: I don't like this cover much. I'm sorry. It does convey the idea of "spinster" and there is a parasol plus beautiful colors... but the dress sits awkwardly like she's leaping over a mud puddle. Her expression looks opinionated enough, but she is not as endowed or as beautiful as I picture Alexia, which the Manga totally nailed. My print copy is a small paperback that fits in the hand perfectly and smells divine. :-D
The Manga actually communicates a great scene. Lol. A rather deadly, great scene.
The manga version is beautiful. The characters are drawn just right to capture the sense of the story. I prefer the written version just because so many scenes are so very well written, but the entire book is presented very well in picture.
Soulless: The Manga Vol 1
by Gail Carriger
Paperback, 224 pages
Published March 1st, 2012 by Yen Press
The author is hosting a giveaway for reviews on the manga version, so, guess what?! :-) Oh yes... manga-specific review a-comin'!
About the Author:
Ms. Carriger writes steampunk urbane fantasy comedies of manners to cope with being raised in obscurity by an expatriate Brit and an incurable curmudgeon. She escaped small town life and inadvertently acquired several degrees in Higher Learning. She then traveled the historic cities of Europe, subsisting entirely on biscuits secreted in her handbag. She now resides in the Colonies, surrounded by a harem of shoes, where she insists on tea imported directly from London and cats that pee into toilets.
Find & Follow:
Coming Nov 20 - Soulless, the Manga Vol 2:
Etiquette & Espionage coming Feb 2013
The first of a delicious new series involving knives.