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!
I found this book because I was searching for other books by the narrator, Emily Gray, and thought this one sounded intriguing. However, I just couldn't get into it. As it turns out, I'm not really that into stories with vampires (the Sookie Stackhouse novels being the one exception). It's too bad, because I love a good audiobook series, but this just wasn't for me.
I still love the narrator, though -- she sounds great even when I'm not that intrigued by the content.
Although this is not the type of book I usually get, I loved this! Hilarious characters, fabulous narrator, quirky, fun and totally worth my time. I've had to purchase the actual books (gasp!) to keep going with the series. Hopefully Audible will add "Changeless" soon!
I enjoyed this book more than any I've read in a long time. I loved the self deprecating, strong willed Alexia, a 26 year spinster of the Victorian era, (she's half Italian, besides being soulless, hence the spinsterhood) and her relationship with the scottish, so "barely civilized" (never mind that he's a werewolf) Lord Maccon. Her character reminds me of Elizabeth Peter's character, Amelia Peabody, a series I love. Emily Gray, the narrator, did an excellent job with the characters, made me forget the story's being narrated. Loved the book, loved the narration, and I hope the author continues with the series. I'll be watching.
At first I did not think I was going to enjoy this book. But within the first 15 to 20 minutes I was hooked. Alexia Tarabotti the prim and proper lady of the book handles herself with dignity and resolve. This high Class offering changes the genre completely and is anything but “Dead Common.” I find the way the author weaves 19th England with the idea of vampires and werewolves pure genius. I can’t wait to hear what Alexia is up to next…
I really enjoyed this book, although initially I was a bit turned off by the English accents and the way the characters had to discuss everything "properly." It was driving me crazy (whereas if I'd been reading it, rather than listening, I wouldn't have minded so much), but then I got hooked into the story line and it became more interesting. Definitely worth downloading, though I'm disappointed that the other books aren't available yet on audiobook.
I have only found a few audio books, out of over 100, that I truly enjoyed and this might be my favorite as it is the only one that I have returned to repeatedly (to lighten my mood after struggling through some really bad ones.) Paranormal is not my first choice, but this book is so darn entertaining! It has humor, fun characters, a little romance, a little mystery, and a decent plot. I read the next two books in the series, they were not available on audio, and found them a bit lacking. That makes this one a true gem.
Why-ever did I wait so long!?
I simply can’t believe that I’ve waited this long to dive into Soulless because it was hilarious and extremely fun. If you’re asking yourself why you haven’t read it yet – you should just stop right now and pick up a copy. Personally I already owned the print and so picked up the audiobook when I happened to listen to sample and adored the narrator Emily Gray. So when I couldn’t listen I was reading and vice versa. It made this a delightful one day read.
There’s no freedom like that of being a spinster
Miss Alexia Tarabotti is a spinster. Why? Because she’s half Italian, and has a stronger nose and darker complexion and sharper tongue then what is considered attractive by London’s social elite. And well – when that is the case no aristocratic man will ever want you – so says her mother, sisters and well – just about everyone. But her spinsterhood is a fact that she has quite resigned herself to and actually uses to her advantage. She does what she likes, is friends with whomever she pleases and has the sharpest tongue when she’s of a mind not to curb it. Which is frankly never. She even has a very special parasol that she had fashioned for her protection. And then there is the most important thing about her…she is soulless.
There is a mystery afoot!
Did I neglect to mention Alexia is also frightfully bored? She has been pestering the Lord Maccon the alpha werewolf in London who also happens to be the head of the head of the local Bureau of Unnatural Registry that she should be allowed to work for the Bureau given her special condition. When rogue vampires start showing up and solo vampires and werewolves start going missing Alexia somehow finds herself mixed up in all of it.
My dear she doth protest too much
Now here’s where things get saucy – not too saucy mind you because lets remember the time period this is taking place in. But you remember how sharp tempered I said Alexia is? Well it seems Lord Maccon rather likes that in a woman, along with all the other undesirable traits that the rest of society snubs her for. And eventually against his own personal judgement he lets her know just how desirable he finds her. Reading these two at their cat and mouse…or should I say dog and cat? – was so much fun. I’d have to say that their relationship did make me consider this book closer to being a paranormal romance versus urban fantasy and I enjoyed every minute of it.
Soulless was the Audible Deal of the Day a couple months ago, and, since it was a book I'd been wanting to read, I immediately gave Amazon some more of my money. The reviews for Soulless by friends were very encouraging and the narrator is British, so why not, right? Good choice, past self! Soulless' audiobook was almost eleven hours of pure entertainment. What more can I possibly want than a badass spinster with an attack parasol, some cool mythology, and rampant sexy times? Not a whole lot more, honestly. I'm a happy consumer right now.
Alexia Tarabotti is fabulous. She's not really physically strong, but she's a beast in every other way. Her intellect is mighty and she's stubborn like no one else in the world. She's a spinster and totally okay with that status, but doesn't see any reason why that should mean she's not fashionable. Also, she's a bit insecure, because her mom and stepsisters rag on her constantly about how unlovable her smartness, muleheadedness, and Italian looks make her. No matter how much natural sense of your self-worth you have, this sort of talk from your own family, who's meant to love you, or your friends will just demolish your self-esteem. Basically, I felt a lot for this woman right out the gate. It also didn't hurt that she was always searching for food, like in the opening scene where she goes to a party and it doesn't have food so she orders some because really dancing and no food is unacceptable.
The one thing that really bothers Alexia isn't her lack of marriage prospects or even her family that doesn't understand her; it's her lack of occupation. Yes, she's a wealthy lady and lives a life of great privilege, but she's bored. She has few intellectual equals in her social circle and certainly none in her family. She wants to do something. Preferably, Alexia would like a position in the organization that controls paranormals, but Lord Maccon absolutely refuses to hire a gentlelady. THE NERVE.
Right, so paranormal things. Soulless has fabbity fab paranormal mythology. There are vampires and werewolves, and they're fairly standard, only in this world they have very strong ideas about fashion. A vampire or werewolf not properly attired will totally be mocked mercilessly by the other paranormal creatures, which is hilarious to me. Anyway, Alexia is herself not paranormal; she's something more rare. Alexia is a preternatural, which means that she negates paranormal powers. When she touches a vampire, he/she becomes human again. This power was a totally new concept for me, and I thought it was awesome. Also, for all that Alexia's the only one in the book with this power, it's definitely not a super special snowflake chosen one thing. They're rare, but not unheard of; her dad was one for example, which is how she came to be.
It will come as a shock to positively no one that my favorite part of the book was the romance. I mean, come on. The first thing to know is that, though it feels a bit instalovey, Alexia and Lord Maccon have known each other for ages before the book began. So basically they've been hate to loving slowly over the years and the reader pops in just in time for the good bits. After a long time without any ships that will freaking KISS ALREADY, Soulless was incredibly satisfying. I was not expecting how satisfying and just YES. Much kissing and it is all fabulous.
Aside from Alexia and Lord Maccon, the rest of the cast is suitably quirky. My personal favorites are Lyall and Floote. Lyall is a totally Giles-y type, only he's the second in command in Maccon's wolf pack. I'm really hoping he gets a ship of some sort in the course of the series. Floote is Alexia's long-suffering but secretly rooting-her-on butler, and I enjoy how he pops in to offer looks of judgment or assistance to her shenanigans. There's also a potentially adorbs ship for Alexia's best friend Ivy Hisselpenny. Also, serious thanks to whoever put the characters on GR, because Gail Carriger's spellings are seriously not conducive to guessing how to spell any damn name if you listened to the audiobook.
Fun as it was, there were some parts where the book dragged. Any time it was Maccon and Alexia, I was totally into it. During the action scenes (I'm including matches of wits in verbal confrontations in this), also very much entertained. However, there's a section in the late middle where Alexia's talking with her vampire friend Lord Akeldama which was way too long for my tastes and a bit let's-recount-the-plot. The big confrontation also ends with quite a bit of book left and it meanders its way to a conclusion. That part was good , but again felt like it could have used a bit of trimming.
The audiobook added immensely to my enjoyment, as Emily Gray makes a fabulous Alexia. Her Scottish accent is a hoot as well. The only negative I really have to offer about this format is that the production is not seamless. As usual with Recorded Books, there are often weirdly long pauses or audible breaths or even some scratchiness in the audio quality, all which really should have been edited out. However, I enjoy Gray's performance so much that I'm definitely sticking with the audiobook.
Soulless by Gail Carriger is fluff of the finest order. The characters are such fun, the paranormal creatures creatively drawn, and the romance passionate. This is steampunk goodness and I will be reading more without a doubt. Actually, I purchased the second book in the series when I was about halfway done with Soulless, which ought to tell you something.
Not sure who came first, but they share some similarities. This book was very well read w/ creative voices. The story showed a very practical heroine, so much so that I laughed outloud throughout. And the male counterpart has a Scottish brogue...terrific. Just a bit of romance in there without too much mushy. A fun read/listen.