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.
The performing actors.
They really all were crucial to the story and I just don't like to single out a favorite character in any of the books I read/listen to (seems to me a little bit like a child's play).
This performance is the only way the play should be experienced to the full benefit of the reader.
I have been turned off romances of any kind for a very long time. The problem is The Discovery of Witches isn't marketed for what it really is: a banal paranormal romance with every cliche from a textbook for writing romances. It's silly, not intelligent and frankly I was offended by being sold on this title because of it's supposed and completely non-existent literary merits.
Every scene featuring the super-woman witch heroine and her oh, so dangerously attractive vampire boyfriend.
The narrator, Jim Dale, who breathed some life into an otherwise dull and convoluted story.
Make it a little less complicated, jumping back and forth between the dates. Introduce fewer characters. Having so many characters without confusing a reader is a rare feat.
Of course the whole Harry Potter series. I suppose nothing compares to that one.
Nothing, it's irredeemable.
No, because it doesn't belong in the genre it was categorized as. It's not fantasy, it has nothing to do with this wonderful genre.
The narrators were innocent in this case, I'm sure they were trying to do the best they could with the material they were given.
I couldn't, I just couldn't stand this book. I have no idea what the people who gave this book five or four stars were thinking. I just have to wonder what kinds of books they read in general if they praise this dreadful story to high heavens. Across the Nightingale Floor is one of the most boring books I've read in a long, long time. The story was going absolutely nowhere, the plot was mundane and I felt as if my brain cells were slowly disappearing. And categorizing it as a fantasy is misleading. Placing a story in a made up country (uncannily resembling feudal Japan that really had nothing to do with an alternate world) does not a fantasy novel make. I've been reading fantasy books all my life, so I would know.
I realize I'm being harsh but I am very upset and mislead by all the praise and high ratings I fell for. This book deserves three stars at best. Check that, it really only deserves two stars. I was feeling generous suggesting three.
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