Soulless by Gail Carriger


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?

My thoughts: 

This is the first book I read for my Steampunk challenge. Everybody talks about the Parasol Protectorate series, of which this is the first book with Changeless and Blameless to follow. Two more sequels, Heartless and Timeless, will be released in the next two years.

Since this is the first steampunk book I have ever read (except a m/m novella which I don’t count here) I have no idea how to rate it as far as the steampunk factor is concerned. It is set in an alternative Victorian London; werewolves, vampires, ghosts and other supernatural beings have come out years before and are now an official, if not 100% popular, part of society. The plot revolves around mysterious appearances and disappearances of supernatural beings and it is up to Alexia and Lord Maccon to detect what is going on (if only by accident and with the help of a few delectable dandies).

Alexia is a preternatural, the only one known in fact, who can neutralize supernatural powers merely through touch. I found this an interesting twist. In no paranormal story I have read so far did I come across anybody who could negate the supernatural at all, let alone this easily. Her interactions with her paramour-to-be were delightful. Both thoroughly dislike each other – or so they think – and that made for some very agreeable banter.

The other main characters are all fleshed out and, if not likeable, at least believable. The typical werewolf – vampire differences are in place. The vampires are refined to foppish, the werewolves down-to-earth to rough and boisterous. I absolutely loved Lord Akeldama and his drones. I hope I will see more of them in the future.

One thing I could have done without were the descriptions of the experiments in the club. I hate that sort of thing and I would have known that those scientists were rather crazy, fanatical and dangerous without reading all that. So I skipped some of it, even though I am sure I missed out on some great machinery ideas that way.

The idea to lock Alexia into the cell with the biggest werewolf gave a chance to throw in a lovely scene between her and Lord Maccon. Strange how people in love are inclined to kiss and pet even in the worst circumstances. But then, I suppose they were locked in and could only wait. So what better pastime than to make out?

I very much enjoyed reading Soulless and will definitely continue with that series. If you like the paranormal, romance (not too explicit), an element of humour and a lot of entertainment, get it!

On Gail Carriger’s website you will find a page about Alexia’s London, along with sketches of characters and outfits, deleted scenes and more. A nice addition to the reading experience.

Title Soulless
Author Gail Carriger
Publisher Orbit Books
ISBN 978-0316056632
Buy link Buy Soulless

Have you read this book? What did you think of it? I would love to hear other opinions.


Heather at Books and Quilts 

6 Comments Write a comment

  1. Glad you liked the book, too. It was my first forage into Steampunk too. I loved Lord Akeldama, he’s a great character!

    What’s your next Steampunk book? I’ve got waiting Mortal Engines by Philip Reeve
    but I have the feeling it’s too childish, maybe not even YA. But I’ll give it a try.
    Leeswammes (Judith)’s last post ..Meltdown by Ben Elton


  2. I suppose my next steampunk book will be the Steampunk anthology since it’s already waiting here.
    I will definitely have a lookout for Changeless on my swap site, though.


    • Thanks, Heather, I linked to yours as well…. You could also add your link to my Steampunk challenge reviews site, if you like.


  3. I am trying to write a review on this book right now and found your review through a Google search! Hooray! It was near the top of my search and I was glad it was. I have missed reading your blog and talking to you!

    I will post my thoughts on my blog hopefully tonight, but so far my review is fairly poorly written (or so I feel). I felt a little blah about the book overall. It was fun brain candy to read, but there wasn’t much to it. Overall though it was fun and easy to read on the train while I commute to work so I didn’t feel it was a wash.

    So glad I finally read your review even though you wrote it a year ago! 🙂


    • Hey, Carin, I’m happy to see you here.
      I already noticed that you are reading Soulless from a tweet about your progress and can’t wait to read what you have to say. I agree it’s not a brainy read, rather fluffy, in fact, but fun nevertheless. I have the next three books already waiting, I must get to them soon.
      I will look out for your review.


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