Thursday, April 1, 2010


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?

I was drawn to this book because it was marked as a steampunk zombie book. Though I found no zombies in the traditional definition of them, it was indeed a steampunk book, and a good one at that. Sadly, sometimes it felt like the author hadn’t researched the Victorian era enough, and there were some things that happened that made me unsure that it could’ve happened in the actual Victorian era.

Even though the vampires and werewolves made me wary at first because of all the terrible vampire books I’ve been reading lately, this is actually a vey nice and refreshing way of viewing the supernatural. In order to turn someone into an immortal, the person must possess enough soul to survive the turn. Otherwise, death is what awaits the one who tried their hand at becoming one of the supernatural beings.

Alexia Tarabotti, on the other hand, is a preternatural, and therefore doesn’t possess any soul. This doesn’t make her a mindless, idiotic being, but rather some sort of... Actually, I’m not quite sure what this does, other than that her presence cancels out the powers of the supernatural. She is a Victorian spinster and a very lovable character. Maccon is quite the typical Alpha werewolf, gruff, huge and strong, but still unique in his own way. Two other characters I absolutely loved were Lyall, Maccon’s Beta and a respectable professor, and Lord Akedelma. The latter is a “shiny” vampire, but only in the sense that he has a very bright and gay personality. The sun does kill him. He is a rove, a vampire in no coven, yet knows all the secrets and loves to gossip. What is it with the supernatural beings in books these days always being so glittery?

Alexia’s love story with Maccon is just about the most adorable thing I’ve ever read. It isn’t all lovey-dovey, and that’s what makes it so great. Her relationship with him grows over the course of the story, evolving from a cute bickering type of thing to an intense romantic relationship.

The story itself was sadly slightly eclipsed by Alexia and Maccon’s relationship. What I grasped of the plot was that Alexia was in grave danger because of her soulless state, but not much more. This was something of a disappointment, but at least the plot wasn’t nonexistent. Even though Alexia herself cannot participate in any battles (she is a Victorian lady, after all), the author managed to make the fighting scenes just as interesting as if she were fighting too.

Sadly, as the book went on, the story went from adventurous and mysterious to a romantic comedy. This switch wouldn’t have been so bad if it hadn’t slowly but surely turned into an erotic fantasy. Not that I mind all that much, mind you, I was just disappointed because every part of the book seemed to be a scheme to get Maccon and Alexia into an overly sexual situation. That was not quite what I’d signed up for when I started this book, that’s for sure.

All in all, a cute and funny read, but if I’d known beforehand what to expect, I probably wouldn’t have been so eager to read it. I might review Changeless when it comes out, but it won’t be on top of my reading pile. I suggest it to those of you who like light stempunk romance and who don’t mind pretty explicit sex.


Soulless by Gail Carriger
Rating: 8,2/10

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