Soulless by Gail Carriger is the first book in The Parasol Protectorate, currently listed as a Fantasy/Horror but in all actuality it is a Steampunk book, of course,
I am reviewing it after all. I can’t say that it is fully Steampunk though. Maybe we can say that it is a mix between Steampunk and Mythospunk? I will admit that the first book (there are five of them so far) that there is a few Steampunk typical tropes that are so small that if you blink, you may miss them. Mainly this story is paranormal (Mythospunk) meets a light Steampunk story. Now let’s move on to the actual story.
The story revolves around Alexia Tarabotti. First, she has no soul in a world where the soul is important. Second, she’s a spinster whose father is both Italian (apparently being an Italian is bad in Victorian England) and dead. Third, she was rudely attacked by a vampire, breaking all standards of social etiquette because etiquette is important.
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? (Book’s summary)
This book I would give 3.5 Airships out of 5. Why? Let’s go over what I like first. I really enjoyed Alexia’s non-nonsense attitude. She is intelligent, brash and capable of defending herself (and man does she get herself into some weird predicaments). She is far from being the fainting female which is always a plus in my book. I also enjoyed the flamboyant gay vampire Lord Akeldama who just happens to be friends with Alexia. Who wouldn’t enjoy a flamboyant gay spy master?
Now why don’t I like it? In some spots it feels a little slow and staggers through. Thankfully these spots are not scattered largely through the book but sometimes it feels like you get jerked back into reality for a short bit. Also, even though Alexia is an intelligent, non-nonsense and brash she occasionally will bend to the will of others one second and then grow a backbone the next. It’s not a constant yo-yo but it can be one of those moments that jerks you out of the story. Also, the Steampunk tropes that are thrown into this book (I promise the other ones have more of them) they seem to be an after thought and kind of almost make me lean away from labeling this as a Steampunk book.
However, it isn’t a bad story (I bought the other three after all and the other two in her off shoot series.I can’t find book 5 for this series…so sad). It is a quick and fun read for those that enjoy that sort of thing. So if you if you are looking for a light Steampunk/Mythospunk story, go out and buy it.
Now go out AND PUNK IT ALL!