Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Review:Soulless by Gail Carriger

  • Audible Audio Edition
  • Listening Length: 10 hour(s) and 52 min.
  • Program Type: Audiobook
  • Version: Unabridged
  • Publisher: Recorded Books (June 22, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B003TLSM20

Goodreads.com synopsis: 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?

This book was recommended to me by MadScientist at http://madsteampunkery.blogspot.com/

From the book:
"Miss Alexia Tarabotti was not enjoying her evening. Private balls were never more than middling amusements for spinsters, and Miss Tarrabotti was not the kind of spinster who could garner even that much pleasure from the event. To put the pudding in the puff: she had retreated to the library, her favorite sanctuary in any house, only to happen upon an unexpected vampire."

Soulless by Gail Carriger is a fun and quirky book right from the first paragraph. My first foray into steampunk transports me into an unlikely world of gadgetry, flamboyant vampires, authoritarian werewolves, not to mention a preternatural minx with devilish wit and impeccable fashion sense as well as a penchant for getting herself into awkward predicaments. Alexia Tarabotti is a dynamo that literally leaps off the pages, armed with her parasol and her cunning intellect, ready to face down rude vampires and overbearing werewolves, and anyone else who gets in her way.

Carriger's writing paints a vivid picture of Victorian London populated with supernatural, preternatural, and ghostly residents. Soulless is entertaining from start to finish, each of the characters were original, the plot was fast-paced and exciting, and I found myself laughing or gasping out loud several times throughout the audio.

I want to add here somewhere that I'm generally not a big fan of vampire/werewolf romance so I was a little hesitant to follow MadScientist's recommendation to read Soulless as an introduction to Steampunk. I'm SO glad that I did though. I was thrilled with the unique way Carriger brought her characters to life. Lord Akeldama, rove vampire, head of a harem of handsome drones, and owner of an impressive rococo themed home is one of Alexia's closest friends and and his peacockish ways was a source of hilarity for me. Lord Maccon, Earl of Woosley, alpha werewolf and head of the B.U.R. is alternately besotted and annoyed with Alexia's antics. Listening to those two bickering between kisses was another thoroughly enjoyable highlight.  One of my favorite aspects was the fashion which was a frequent topic of discussion. Bustles, corsets, gaudy feathered hats, and glorious confections of taffeta and ruffles almost makes me wish I lived in that time period.

This review is for the audio book from Audible.com narrated by Emily Gray. Emily Gray was a wonderful narrator and did an amazing job of bringing these outrageous characters to life.

I want to thank MadScientist for recommending this book, and I, in turn, would recommend it to anyone else who wants to know about Steampunk.

Overall, I would rate this a 5, this series will undeniably become one of my favorites.

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