Soulless by Gail Carriger

Soulless (Parasol Protectorate #1) by Gail Carriger
Published 2009 by Orbit.

Links: Goodreads.

Source: purchased.

Genre: historical urban fantasy + steampunk?.

My rating:

Alexia Tarabotti is laboring under a great many social tribulations. 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?

srcekThank you, Danya, for recommending this one! :)

I had a lot of fun with Soulless. It’s a great mixture of dry humor, sexy, scruffy werewolves and witty retorts, all with a steampunkish vibe (I always have trouble sorting these kinds of books into appropriate genre slots…). I never had much luck with this genre but I think this series might just change my opinon of it!

Alexia is a very interesting heroine. She’s too outspoken, too independend and too single for anyone’s liking, but those are all qualities that made me like her immensely. I would gladly choke her mother and sisters for a bit, though. Silly creatures.

Lord Maccon, the werewolf Alpha, is a great complement to her personality and for once, I liked the fact that the story focused much more on Alexia herself than on their relationship. I mean, this is a story with some romance in it (and I’d take werewolves over vampires any day, even if vampires didn’t dress in frilly silk) but it’s not a romance, if you know what I mean. And don’t let this vampire-werewolf comment trick you into thinking there’s a love triangle involved because there isn’t. This is a triangle-free book.

This story is essentially a mystery, vampires and werewolves are disappearing from the streets, especially the loners, and new, uneducated vampires are emerging, forcing Alexia to investigate. Some gruesomeness is expected when vampires and werewolves are involved, but I liked that Carriger didn’t feel the need to go over the board like some authors.

Soulless is a very nice beginning of a series that I fully intend to continue reading. In the meantime, I’ve been reading Carriger’s blog, which is worth checking out if you like cosplay, corsets and fashion in general!


Have you read Soulless? Or any other Carriger books? What did you think?

If it came down to it, would you choose werewolves or vampires? 

I’d love to hear from you! :)

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  • I’d pick Werewolf. I couldn’t be a vampire. I’d miss the Sun way too much.

    • Oh, definitely, that’s a good point! There’s also the whole blood issue (ick) – though werewolves eat raw meat, I guess. But I’d still take that over biting people!

  • I’ve heard nothing but great things about this series and I was lucky enough to have this book gifted to me, but I haven’t gotten around to reading it yet^^ I love the way you described the heroine Alexia, the story and, of course, the mystery :) Lovely review as always Kaja, hopefully I’ll be getting to this one soon! xx

    • I like reading good reviews of books I already own. :)
      YES, Alexia is a very cool lady, I liked her a lot. I wonder what the next books will bring, I’m sure she’ll be as badass as in this one. I like unconventional heroines!
      I hope you’ll like it! Thanks for stopping by, Micheline. :)

  • This book always grabs my attention whenever I am at the bookstore. I’m not familiar with the steampunk idea, and I think that is why I haven’t picked it up. The last book series that I have read which involved both werewolves and vampires is The Sookie Stackhouse series.

    To answer your question, I would totally choose werewolves over vampires. Werewolves are more sexy in my mind, and I wouldn’t have to worry about what time of day it was. Great review! I feel much more inclined to pick this book up the next time I am at the bookstore. I also loved your comment about frilly silk :D.

    • I haven’t read a lot of steampunk, either! I’ve had very different experiences with it, and this was actually one of the few I really liked. I think it’s because the steampunk elements aren’t the FOCUS of the story, just more of a setting.

      So I think werewolves would win :D There’s the fact that they turn into wolfish monsters once a month but it definitely beats hiding from the sun!
      Thanks for stopping by, Sarah!

  • Alright. You may have just convinced me to read this book. The steampunk vibe piqued my interest, but the vampire v. werewolves made me wary because I immediately thought of Twilight and awful love triangles. In the end, I think it’s that the heroine is described as too outspoken, too independent, and too single that sold me.

    • :D I’m glad. I’ve had it on my tbr for the longest time but when I heard it described as “fluffy, bantery fun with werewolves” by a blogger I like, I knew I had to give it a try. Don’t worry, there’s no vamp-were-human love triangle, the main vampire participant in the story is quite gay and a very good friend to Alexia.

  • I had loads of fun with this book, I really loved the main heroine and her interactions with everyone! Most of all with Lord Maccon, of course! The series reminded me a lot of Elizabeth Peter’s Amelia Peabody series (not the setting, mainly the characters) so I would rec those if you enjoyed Soulless :D

    • Ooh, thanks for the rec! It sounds great, I used to be obsessed with everything Egypt-related and I’m really sad I didn’t get to go there before all the political problems started there (it’s rather unsafe to go, now, or so I’ve been told).
      And yes, Lord Maccon is perfect :) I love gruff and grumpy heroes with a heart of gold!

  • Yay, I’m so glad you enjoyed this one! :D Gail Carriger’s humour makes me laugh out loud – she’s so clever and witty. And her blog is the best! Her ‘tinctures’ and tisanes’ always make me smile.

    UGH Alexia’s sisters and mom are the worst. Thank goodness for ivy Hisselpenny and her hats, or I’d be worried that Alexia didn’t have any cool ladies in her life. ;) Lord Maccon is the grumpiest, scruffiest sexy werewolf and I love it. But I feel that Lyle is pretty amazing as well, if a little under-utilized.

    • I’ve been reading Carriger’s blog ever since I read this book and I really like it and her – she’s quirky and sounds like a very cool person.

      I never get people who can be so rude and unintentionally cruel to people whom they’re supposed to love and care about. I know they’re supposed to be silly and all but even fairly unintelligent people can be kind. I really dislike meanness.

      Oh but yes, you promised sexy werewolf and sexy werewolf I got – he’s the perfect grumpy hero. He reminds me of Dragon from Uprooted a bit, only he’s less obsessed with cleanliness and a bit more cocky. :)

  • See, now I’ve been eyeing this book up from time to time but never actually bought it. Now I think I may have to change my mind on that front and get reading. A fantasy mystery book with romance and a bunch of other stuff thrown in? That’s most definitely my cup of tea.

    I hate the werewolf/vampire question, I mean why must it always be one or the other. I would probably lean more towards a werewolf, I’m not the best with blood though.

    • Err sorry? :D You could try being a vampire werewolf if that works better for you? :)

      Well I’m saving the final judgement of this series for later, once I get around to reading another part or so. I like it, it’s very enjoyable, but then it’s also not revolutionary (very few books are).