This book was fun. Pure entertainment to while away boring and/or dull hours we all have here and there.
I'll admit I have some mixed reactions to it and I was having a hard time deciding how to rate this novel. Some things just don't make sense. For example, Alexia's
soullessness. It does give her that one supernatural (or rather, preternatural) power of taking away other supernaturals' powers by a single touch (sadly, no shape shifting or immortality involved) which is an interesting introduction to the paranormal genre. However, character-wise, Alexia couldn't be farther away from my idea of a soulless person (a psychopath comes to mind). I understand that to match the light and amusing tone of Soulless, Ms. Carriger couldn't make Alexia a completely evil woman, with no moral compass. But not a single, teeny tiny sinister trait? That's a little bit of a letdown. Sure, Ms. Tarabotti is stubborn, with an independent and untamed spirit, and with an alpha (of course, duh!!!) personality, but it is kind of mundane, if you ask me. For that alone, I wanted to give Soulless two stars.
On the other hand, I truly enjoyed the light tone of the whole story. I liked the humor, I liked Alexia's and Lord Maccon's 'dance' around admitting their feelings and desire for each other (don't worry, I'm not really spoiling anything, as it's obvious from the beginning where their relationship is going). I also had fun with other characters, especially with Ms. Tarabotti's mother and half-sisters. You put them all in one room and you truly have a comedy of manners. Consequently, I did chuckle a few times and smiled almost all the time, while listening to Soulless. And the writing itself wasn't half bad either. It had a kind of a spring-in-its-step quality. For these reasons, I was ready to bump the rating up to four.
In the end, after hoping that Alexia would suddenly do something deliciously evil and not getting it, I got stuck in the middle. I did like it enough to not consider it a waste of time but not enough, I'm afraid, to read the rest of Parasol Protectorate books (well, maybe if I find them during one of my frequent library sales excursions).
The label attached to this book the most is 'steampunk'. Personally, I didn't notice many steampunk elements in Soulless. There was maybe one appearance of a dirigible delivering the queen of vampires' drone to Alexia. Not much that I can think of besides. Maybe because it's set in an alternate Victorian England? Definitely more fantasy than science-fiction, with werewolves and vampires taking the center stage.
I chose the audible version of Soulless and I'm glad of it. The narrator, Emily Gray, does a fantastic job conveying the sarcastic spark in Alexia and an overall humor of the story. She switches between characters and accents seamlessly. I never was confused as to which character was talking. Above all, Ms. Gray has a pleasant voice, breathes life into the novel and makes the listening experience worthwhile.
This is the first time I've read this author and I'm not a big fan of this genre, but thought I would try something new. The wit and dialog of the characters is engaging and fun and the pace of the book is quick. The narrator does a great job. There was only one disturbing thing about the book that still bothers me in reflection. At one point in the book, the main characters sit about kissing each other while her supposed friend is down the hall being tortured to death. That's callous and just about ruined the book for me. What "friend" would do something like that?!
I am audio book addicted. Lets me do two things at once, multi-tasking to the inth degree. Love series, and hot and spicy books best.
Lots of wit, neat spin on the paranormal, paid for this book and did not use a credit, it is sooooo worth it. There are 2 more according to amazon I guess I will have to read those instead of listening, but I would listen to them when available, this is definitely something to hear more than one time. Just loved it, giggled out loud at many parts. What a hoot. Not like any other Vamp, Wolf book ever read or listenend to. Have a sense of humor when you get this one, so worth it.
Audible has changed my life! Dry , itchy eyes were destroying one of my greatest pleasures - reading. Now I am experiencing books again!
I thought this would be just my cup of tea. Alas, it is a so-so rehash of two much better series: The Sookie Stackhouse series by Charlaine Harris and the Amelia Peabody series by Elizabeth Peters. If you like the supernatural element, go for Sookie; if you prefer witty, intelligent Victorian ladies, try Amelia.
This book lacks fully-rounded characters, careful plotting, and attention to historical detail. I believe it also lacks originality.
This book has so many things wrong with it, it is difficult to know where to begin. Here is a summation:
--Poor Plot Pacing: Everything happens at once, than nothing happens. Hero kisses heroine, and heroine discusses kiss with BFF for one entire chapter. BOR-ING.
--Poor Plot Elements: Some of the more horrific plot devices seem as if they were lifted directly from a 1950s "B" movie like "The Bride of Frankenstein Meets the Evil Mad Scientist".
--Poor Character Development: The characters are strictly one-dimensional: the abusive mother and sisters, the bumbling fat guy, the alpha male, etc. Other readers have commented on how tiresome it gets to hear about the heroine's "big nose"....and yes, by the 33rd time, it does.
--Narrator: Well, she does the main voice OK. She sounds rather like Bridget Jones but I can live with that. The problem is her secondary characters, especially the males. One male character sounds EXACTLY like the Martian in the Looney Tunes cartoons. Even the hero's voice is not that well done.
--Inconsistant references: The author keeps calling the Earl and Countess Woolsy (sp?) by Lord and Lady xyz. Um, no, a Countess would not be referred to as "Lady XYZ" unless she were the DAUGHTER of an Earl. The WIFE of an Earl is referred to "Alexia, Countess of Woolsy". Editors, where are you?
--Stereotypes: Could she make the gay Vampire any more stereotypical? (Reference, also, poor character development). The bashing on Americans also became tiresome very quickly.
I CANNOT believe all the positive reviews this book has earned, and furthermore cannot believe that it is the beginning of a whole series. It is trite, boring, and poorly done.
Don't waste a credit on this one.
I easily place this book in the top two in the long list of audiobooks that I've listened to. What a pleasure! The writing was full of wit, with wonderful characters and a great story. The author took the time to think things through, and built an alternate world while staying within the historical events and views of the period.
And it IS addictive! I started this series by reading this book, then listened to it twice, all within a couple weeks. I'm trying to pace myself, but just can't do it. The second book has been read and the next Audible purchase I make will allow me to listen to it. This is an easy decision if you like the genre. Buy it!
In summary, this audiobook is 10 hours and 52 minutes - which is about six hours too long. It's about a prim-yet-lascivious Victorian spinster and an aging werewolf about whose junk I now know WAY too much.
Although the premise was excellent and the basic plot promising, I felt for most of the book as though I was an unwilling voyeur in some adolescent game of spin-the-bottle. I don't blame the author, because she's got a good imagination and a way with words - or the narrator because she does a pretty good job - but the editor, now, that's a different matter.
This book might have been awesome. But it just wasn't, and I wish I'd spent my time with an Amelia Peabody novel instead.
I usually avoid the paranormal genre, so I am genuinely surprised by how much I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Nice story, great characters. The narrator does an excellent job, too. I would have given 5 stars, except I think the author tries to straddle too many genres, historical/romance/horror/mystery.
Didn't know what to expect but this was witty, fun and flowed well from start to finish. The narrator is amazing, I hope that there are more from this author and narrator added to audible soon.
Mystery reader (especially series) and Austen lover
"Soulless" is the first book in the Parasol Protectorate series, featuring Alexia Tarrabotti, a spinster of good family and ample means living in Victorian London. Alexia's England is peopled by normal humans, vampires, werewolves and ghosts, all of whom coexist under terms of an agreement entered into between the supernaturals and Queen Victoria. It turns out that Alexia is a preternatural -- normal in all ways except for the fact that she has no soul. This soulless state makes her able to neutralize vampires and werewolves merely by touching them. Supernaturals are told about preternaturals and warned to avoid them, but most humans have no idea that such people exist.
Alexia is an opinionated, impatient and educated woman, which explains her spinster situation, since few Victorian men are interested in an alliance with such an independent and free-thinking woman. Her attitude and manner of speech result in the book seeming a bit like a cross between Amelia Peabody and Urban Fantasy stories (not a bad mixture). In the opening scene of this story, Alexia actually kills a werewolf by accident while fending off his attacks upon her in a house where she is attending a ball. As a result of this occurence, Lord McConn, Earl of Woolsey, comes to the site of the killing to investigate. Lord McConn is a werewolf in charge of the London werewolf pack and of the Bureau charged with policing interactions among human and supernatural beings.
There are number of entertaining characters of all types, a good love story, and some very entertaining scenes in the story. Carriger has written a well-plotted story that kept my interest throughout. Emily Gray's narration was very well done and added to both the humor and the plot of this book.
A very enjoyable listen!