Book Review: Soulless

PrintVampires, werewolves, and other things that go bump in the night all come together in a steampunk novel set in late 19th century England, there is death and intrigue and lots of other fun things to keep you interested.

Alexia Tarabotti is consistently finding herself in unladylike situations. She goes off to the library one night to have a cup of tea and avoid a particularly boring party and finds herself attacked by an unlicensed vampire. How rude! Luckily, she manages to save herself with the help of her trusty, custom-made brass parasol but it only serves to create a whole host of other issues. The first of which being the overbearing nature of a particularly delicious Alpha werewolf…who also happens to be in charge of an agency designated to deal with these sorts of supernatural issues.

And what happens next only gets more interesting. There is a summons to the hive, the curiosity of seduction, the ridiculous natures of Miss Tarabotti’s family, and of course, trying to keep her own soulless nature from becoming public knowledge.

This character reminds me heavily of Lizzie Bennet of Pride and Prejudice, with her best friend Ivy playing the role of the demure and caring Jane. Or maybe it’s more like Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, except with a different kind of undead enemy to contend with. Alexia is witty and dry with a tendency to talk far more than is safe for her to do so. She is a special breed of supernatural called a preternatural, which is a new concept to me, and one that I’m interested to read more about.

I loved the descriptions of the clothing, as I always do with this type of book, and of course, all the beautiful or just fascinating to imagine men that fill the pages. From Lord Maccon to Lord Akeldama, there is no shortage of them. Most of the other women in the book are rather shallow and vapid, like Alexia’s mother and sisters, but much like Lizzie Bennet, the main character here creates a methodology for dealing with all of them.

I enjoyed that the book had a solid ending, one that can lead to more but definitively closed this chapter. The problem may not have been fully solved, but the mystery certainly was, and now Alexia will have the opportunity to move on to something a little more interesting and I’m not just talking about Lord Maccon. Parts of it were a little slow and sometimes I found my mind wandering…or that could have just been my intense interest in the developing and complex relationship between Alexia and Lord Maccon.

While I personally think I like the Finishing School series better, Carriger is a delightful story teller, leaving room for imagination while creatively explaining the background for the more complicated plot points, such as vampire etiquette. Not to mention that steampunk is a lot of fun to read about, especially when mixed with history and the real names of people who quite possibly would have been involved if this was nonfiction.

Goodreads rating: 4 stars

My personal rating: 81

  • Writing style – 8
  • Plot – 8
  • Dialogue – 7
  • Personality of Main Character(s) – 8
  • Love story – 9
  • Invokes emotion – 7
  • Synopsis accuracy – 9
  • Consistent level of interest – 8
  • Stays on topic – 8
  • Accuracy of genre/genre blending – 9
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