In Soulless by Gail Carriger, spinster Alexia Tarabotti and werewolf Lord Maccon team up to solve a supernatural mystery in Victorian London. With hilarious banter, mystery, and a dash of steampunk, this witty paranormal romp will keep you hooked!

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Soulless by Gail Carriger

Soulless by Gail Carriger

Parasol Protectorate #1
September 4, 2009

Read this if you want:

  • Buffy meets Jane Austen
  • Spinster heroine
  • Scottish werewolf hero

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If you are following along the Roundabout Challenge with us over on GoodReads, you may know that I STRUGGLE with steampunk books.  I haven’t found my happy place and for that reason this tends to be a genre that gives me a hard time to finish my reading goal.  So this year I wanted to read an old book.  The Parasol Protectorate series has been on my radar (and I’ve owned the first two books) literally since they released.  This is embarrassing!!  I’ve finally taken the plunge and I honestly don’t know why I didn’t sooner.  This book was so delicious I couldn’t put it down.

It has a little bit of everything I love.  As with a lot of steampunk, I was expecting a very historical feel to it.  But this book actually read a lot like a Victorian romance.  Yes, you read that right.  While this is NOT a romance book, the romantic element was strong (even though it was on the background) in this one and I, for one, loved every bit of it.  Another thing that stands out is the humor.  OMG I cracked up laughing because this was endearingly funny.  And there’s the mystery element.  It was like a historical cozy mystery with paranormal creatures and steampunk artifacts!  In the end, this has so many elements that I love blended seamlessly into a flawless satirical story with great characters, that I couldn’t help but fall in love with it.

Our heroine, Alexia, is a spinster and very comfortable with that fact.  Her family can be overbearing and she chooses to ignore them at times.  Her mother especially.  She’s from Italian descent, which is often seen as a lower class, but she also inherited her state from that.  Being soulless that is.  She was a fun and different kind of paranormal character and one that I still need to wrap my head around a bit more.  When the book opens up, she’s attacked by a vampire and protecting herself she killed him.  Lord Maccon is sent by the Queen to investigate and more vampires go disappearing, which puts more of a blame on Alexia.  Together, Alexia and Lord Maccon need to uncover what’s going on in the supernatural world.  The pacing is on point, there’s action and some dark elements, and an overall interesting plot that kept my mind engaged.

Ahhh but the characters.  Lord Maccon is a delicious Scottish werewolf alpha who is pretty rough around the edges.  His relationship with Alexia is full of banter and they butt heads a lot at first.  They are so hilarious together and I couldn’t help but giggle a lot.  They also have a ton of chemistry even though the romance is not front and center of this story.  Their chemistry was still jumping out of the pages making me keep coming back for more.

But Alexia herself is definitely my favorite part of this story.  She carried this book so well.  She’s tough and alpha but also very much a lady of her times.  The combination was perfect in giving us a well balanced heroine.  She has a fierce and sparkly personality, her friendships are endearing, and her tenacity is to be admired.  I couldn’t love her character more and I am dying to see what she gets into next.

Remember, don’t take things too seriously with this one and hope you go and enjoy this story.  I am finally excited about reading the next book in a steampunk series and I haven’t said that in a long while.

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  1. Hey, hey, we’re twinsies. I procrastinated on this series and then finally started it this year for the Steampunk Category of the challenge, too.

    I love this series. You caught the parts I enjoyed most about it. I’m working on book five now and will probably read the sequel spin-off series next.