Soulless by Gail Carriger | Book Review

Soulless by Gail Carriger book cover
Soulless by Gail Carriger (Parasol Protectorate #1)
Publisher: Orbit
Format: ebook
Genres: Historical Fiction, Paranormal Romance, Steam Punk, Adult
Publication Date: 1 October, 2009
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?

SOULLESS is a comedy of manners set in Victorian London: full of werewolves, vampires, dirigibles, and tea-drinking.

There's something to be said about a character who can consistently correct and/or insult people in only the most socially polite of ways. There's even more to be said when this character is the heroine of our story. This is the case in Soulless, where our heroine is a sassy, outspoken female, whose strong temper is matched only by her great wit. Alexia Tarabotti could talk you into a corner before you had taken two steps into a room, and it wouldn't even rattle her teacup once, to do so. And that is precisely why she is a fantastic heroine.

Set in Victorian London, Soulless begins with a sort of Jane Austen-style of witty dialogue and social pressures. Add in machines, werewolves, vampires, other supernatural beings, and a decidedly more outspoken main character, and you have one of the most entertaining stories I have read this year. Add to all that, the ruggedly handsome and hot-tempered, Scottish alpha werewolf love interest, and this story is bound straight for my favorites shelf.

If there is one thing I didn't like about this story, it's that some of the events weren't very detailed. We only see things from Alexia's POV, so whatever she doesn't know, we don't know either. There were some parts to the story that I would have liked to have a better understanding of (the octopuses, vampire abilities, and just how differently the Queen's agenda and BUR's are). Due to Alexia's limited involvement/interaction, these things weren't explained. BUT...that's really not super important, especially compared to the rest of this fabulous story, and the fact that I don't think there was a character that I didn't like.

Gail Carriger did an amazing job meshing so many genres into one story. I really couldn't narrow it down to just one, or even two, because they are all so well put together. It all just feels right. In these pages lies romance, danger, humor, political intrigue, suspense, and a good helping of Victorian society to boot.
THIS is how you do a love story.
THIS is how you do a truly strong female heroine.
THIS is how you do Victorian-steam-punk-paranormal-romance.

Now I need the second book, STAT!

Fever Meter: 101.6 - Personal Favorite
Personal Favorite
Temp. Guide
Read this if:
...you like werewolves, the paranormal, and stand-out heroines!

Content Warning
*This section may contain some spoilers about content!*
Highlight between the brackets to reveal the text.
{Violence (no more than is expected in a paranormal novel), nudity (a character is nude for an entire chapter, after having been locked up--werewolves are naked after transforming), steamy kissing scenes, and a married couple's sex scene that is brief, and not very detailed.}

Other Books in the Series:
Book 2: Changeless  /  Book 3: Blameless  /  Book 4: Hearless  /  Book 5: Timeless

Purchase Soulless:
Gail Carriger:
Website  /  Twitter  /  Facebook  /  Blog


  1. I loved this book. SO. MUCH. You'll probably be thrilled to know that a lot of the stuff you wanted to be explained further IS explained in the subsequent books.

    The rest of the series is definitely all worth reading. Although not *quite* as spectacularly awesome as the first.

    1. Yes, that IS good to know! I'm so excited to read the next books, I pretty much want to put everything else aside until I have done so...Lol. Too bad they're not quite as good as the first, though. But I think even then, they can't be too bad, since this one was spectacular. :)

  2. Victorian, Steampunk, Paranormal, AND Romance...I think my mind will blow. I think I'd really like the heroine too. I enjoy reading about sassy/witty females.

    1. Oh, I really hope you read it! Alexia is an awesome heroine, and the genres are done so well! :)

  3. Nice review! This sounds like a book that is a whirlwind of fun! I love stories with all the supe creatures mixed. Alexia sounds awesome!

  4. I've liked this series so far, too! I'm up to the fourth book, but it's fallen to the back since some much anticipated sequels have been released. I definitely agree, this is definitely the way to write a strong heroine :)

  5. I'm in the middle of this book right now ! I love that way you started this review.

  6. I loved this book so much, which makes it kind of hard to explain why I still haven't read the second book in the series... Thank you for reminding me about Miss Tarabotti and the extraordinary world she inhabits, I need to get back to this series soon!

  7. Wow I don't think I've ever seen you give a book this high of a rating before. I have to read this just based on that alone. Plus I love the end of your review where you stated that this book basically did everything so perfectly!

    I hope you enjoy the second book and thanks for an awesome review!

  8. New follower!

    If a review like this wouldn't make me excited for a book, then I don't know what else could to the job. You totally sold this book to me, haha. I can barely wait to get a copy myself! I just love every aspect of the book you've mentioned and I hope I'm going to love it as much as you did. Thanks for sharing this awesome review.

  9. This is an atrocious book, poorly told with clunky prose. It's what happens when Americans think they can write British historical fictional. You can't just throw in the occasional use of 'bloddy', 'bollocks' and 'crumpets' and think that's enough. The way the characters speak is artificial and arch, descriptions of social etiquette is incorrect, and the constant shifting back and forward between characters' view points in the same scene is irritating. Writing every second word of the supposedly witty vampire character in italics served no other purpose than to alienate me even more. And why was Queen Victoria referred to with a lower case 'q' in mentions of 'the queen'? It's referring to a specific queen so should have been 'the Queen'. Add incorrect grammar to the list of solecisms.


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