Soulless (Parasol Protectorate, #1)

The Rift Walker (Vampire Empire, #2)

Soulless by Gail Carriger
Pub­lisher: Orbit
Pages: Kindle Edition, 388 pages
Series: Parasol Protectorate
Pub­li­ca­tion date: October 1st 2009

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?

SOULLESS is a comedy of manners set in Victorian London: full of werewolves, vampires, dirigibles, and tea-drinking.

Warning. Review might contain minor spoilers. Read at your own risk.

I am very sad pissed because I had so many high expectations for this book. The blurb sounded awesome, most of my friends’ reviews are five and four stars. The cover is good, the author seems obsessed with English tea, which seemed like a cool thing until I read her Q&A at the end of the book. After that it all got annoying because all she does is talk about her freaking tea. You love tea. I get it. Move the fuck on.

I know I’m picking on her because I’m angry. So what?

I was expecting Soulless to be a cute humorous book about Steampunk and vampires. A light read. Pure fun, ya know? What I got is a mismatched Christmas tree made out of boring Victorian fiction, Paranormal Romance, inconsistent and generic storyline and bad humor.

“Ask zem. Ask zem, please, to look for ze missing ones. My master, he iz a rove. He vanishez last week. Poof.” She snapped her fingers. “Like zat. Zey brought me to ze hive because I am pretty and do good work, but ze comtesse, she only just toleratez me. Without hiz protection, I do not know how long I will last.”

I feel like the mix of genres is too much and is keeping the universe from developing properly. I was also expecting Soulless to be more Steampunk than this. This added to my disappointment. The main focus of the story is on the Paranormal side, and the Steampunk is barely there. A bunch of airships, some devices and a few mad scientists. That is all. Enjoy it while you can. I am aware that this is slightly better than the typical Steampunk Romance style, where the Steampunk elements consist of a bunch of cosmetic goggles, used especially during sex, and some airships mindlessly thrown around.

Nevertheless, I still can’t call Soulless Steampunk. If you want a perfect combination of Steampunk and vampires, you should check out Clay and Susan Griffith’s The Greyfriar. If you want a good Steampunk/Paranormal Romance then go for Meljean Broo’s The Iron Duke or Delilah S. Dawson’s Wicked as They Come.

The main character in this book is Miss Alexia Tarabotti, a half Italian spinster who thinks she’s too fugly for anyone to even spare her a second glance. Oh, and she suffers from the Cinderella syndrome.

Does this seem suspicious yet? No?

The male lead is Lord Maccon, the werewolf Alpha who works for the B.U.R., the Bureau of Unnatural Registry, and guess what?

Are you guessing?


Are you sure?

Of course he falls for her!

Alexia's generous curves[…]

Oh nooo. Come on! She’s so unattractive with her ugly nose and olive skin! Are you blind?!
There was just something about Alexia Tarabotti that made her immensely appealing.

Let me guess. Her parasol?
“Did I mention how lovely you are looking today, Miss Tarabotti?” He pulled the carriage to a full stop. Of course. Alexia could hardly point out the many flaws in his theories after such a compliment.

Could hardly point out. Really?! Great figure. Generous curves. Boobies. Really?!
[…] her generous breasts […]

Sure no man wants to marry her. Sure. Keep telling yourself that.

What does this prove, eh? Yes, our dear old Alexia is a Mary Sue. Why isn’t anyone mentioning any of this? I really had no idea the MC will be a fucking Mary Sue. I wouldn’t even bother with the book if I knew because there’s one thing I hate more than insta-love, or love triangles. That’s a fucking Mary Sue MC.

Lord Maccon, on the other hand, is a complete blob. I couldn’t form any feelings for him. He was simply there to save the MC when she was in trouble, form a god-forsaken romance and make fangirls sigh each time he makes an appearance.

Oh, and I also think the way he shows his affections for Alexia is simply weird.
Lord Maccon sank his human—due to their shockingly informal embrace and the fact that she was a preternatural—teeth into the place where her neck and shoulder joined.[…] Someone cleared his throat delicately. Lord Maccon bit down harder.

I mean really. The dude was munching on her neck like on a cooked rib and she thought it’s hot. Am I the only one who thinks this is weird as fuck? Ok, later on we find out that he was in heat or something and not thinking straight. Blah blah blah I don’t care, it was still weird as fuck.

I think Soulless would have been a better book if the romance wasn’t there. Maybe then the author could have focused more on the story and worldbuilding. Less talk, less time wasting, more action. That’s what I want to read about.

If you have any good Steampunk Urban Fantasy books you would recommend, feel free to list them in the comments section below. Or above. Whatever makes you happy.


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