Literary Review: Soulless by Gail Carriger

Title: Soulless
Author: Gail Carriger
Series: Book One
Format: Audiobook

A friend of mine has been recommending this series (Parasol Protectorate) to me for months now. I finally checked the book out from my local library, only for life to get in the way and I never touched the book that was in my possession for almost a month and a half. So I sent the book back to the library and continued onward, meanwhile my friend recommended getting the audio book instead and listening to it while I worked.

Well, considering that I have borrowed audio lectures from The Teaching Company via the local library, one would have thought that I could have made the leap myself. Unfortunately, I did not… primarily due to my desire and love to sitting down and curling to a good book. However, as my time is fairly limited nowadays it became increasingly clear that I am better off listening to lectures and audiobooks as opposed to trying to find time to just sit down and read. *sighs*

In any case, I decided to begin listening to audiobooks by going for the series that has been recommended by my friend: The Parasol Protectorate by Gail Carriger… and the first of the series, Soulless.

The first thing that drew me to the book is the adaptation of the mythologies of werewolves and vampires and integrating them into Victorian England as working members of society. Steampunk is decorated within the environment but not in the forefront of the story. The protagonist is neither vampire nor werewolf, but instead a being that is completely “soulless” (from my understanding a human that simply has no soul). What I found interesting is how the completely “soulless” also known as “preternatural” within the series, is considered a kind of cancellation of those that are either vampire or werewolf. In fact one might go so far as to say that one that is “preternatural” is considered dangerous to the supernatural because they are completely unaffected by the supernatural, whileas the “soulless” could effectively turn the supernatural into humans… completely cancelling their supernatural abilities.

The protagonist is witty, sharp, and female… a very strong female protagonist, which is another draw for me. Alexia Tarabotti is everything that a female within that society is not able to become and she is not afraid to flaunt it. She would even go so far as to use her “preternatural” abilities to aid her friends in particular situations.

When her obvious romantic interest is introduced into the story, the fear is that their courtship would become drawn out until the final conclusion. Thank heavens that is not the case, instead the action and the romance are given their due course in an appropriate amount of time so as to not bore the reader.

Speaking of the romantic interest, for some reason Lord Maccon strikes me as very Darcy-like. Incredibly rich, very proud, impossible to read, and a hell of a hero when need be. The difference between Darcy and Lord Maccon, however, is that Lord Maccon has a tendency to give into his baser instincts (though one could argue that this is simply because he is a werewolf). I found myself drawn to Lord Maccon like a moth to a flame… and thank goodness that neither myself nor the protagonist got burned in the process.

What I also rather enjoyed from this particular novel is the fact that I was unable to accurate predict what was going to happen next. This kept me guessing til I finally gave up trying to figure it out and just enjoy the story as it unfolds.

All in all, this is a very good science-fiction / paranormal fantasy / romance novel and one that I sincerely wished I had picked up earlier. Ah well, with the next two audiobooks coming down the pipeline for me in the upcoming week, I suspect you’ll be hearing from me rather soon.

You can read my thoughts of the other books in this five book series:
Book 1: Soulless
Book 2: Changeless
Book 3: Blameless
Book 4: Heartless
Book 5: Timeless

And many thanks to Gail Carriger for linking to my thoughts on the audiobook of Soulless.

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