Monday, June 7, 2010

Steampink week: Soulless review

by Gail Carriger
cover art credit: Orbit/Lauren Panepinto/Derek Caballero
review copy provided by Orbit Books

In a nutshell, Soulless, the first novel by author Gail Carriger, is about a young spinster, Alexia Tarabotti who is attacked one night by a vampire, and she, naturally, fights back, killing the monster with her silver tipped parasol. The attack throws the London Vampire community into turmoil, as they, and Lord Maccon, Alpha werewolf and employee of the Bureau of Unnatural Registry, try to pinpoint who the vampire was and why he would commit such a gross breach of etiquette—and more importantly, why he didn’t know Miss Tarabotti is a Soulless preternatural.

What does that mean? Well, she can nullify a supernatural’s powers. And that is exactly why all the werewolves and vampires of London hold her suspect, and why the scientists in town are interested in her; add to that missing vampires, suddenly appearing vampires, a strange “wax faced man” that seems bent on kidnapping her, and a friend who has the shocking bad taste to love ugly hats, and that Alexia can’t keep her hands (or anything else) off Lord Maccon, and there’s a lot of trouble to go around here.

Impressions: This novel is a good example of what I’m starting to call the confusion of the genres. Look: Vampires. Girls in Petticoats? What do you think of when you think of that? If you said Dracula, give yourselves a cookie. ;) Now add a playing or two of Warren Zevon’s “Werewolves of London”, add the romantic scenes (lots and lots of them) and some humor (more than I was catching on to, I think—or perhaps the relentless jabs at Alexia’s Italian heritage were supposed to be taken as jokes?), add a pinch of steampunk, and viola! Or that’s what it seemed like. I’m not really sure what to think of this novel; I guess, in the end, it was a good first attempt, and I hope the follow up, (titled Changelessnow available**) is even better, for this new young author certainly has quite an imagination. Give Gail Carriger's Soulless a try and see what you think.
My rating?

**The third volume, Blameless, will be released in September.

For more on Gail Carriger:
Gail Carriger's homepage
Steampod's interview with Gail Carriger
Gail Carriger's page at Hatchette Books
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