When trying to figure out how to categorize Soulless all I could really think of was 'Historical Paranormal Romantic Spoof'...because honestly everything and everyone, in the beginning of the book, was so over the top for their stereotype. Alexia was so in your face blue-stocking and Lord Maccon was so abrasive and beastly that you couldn't ever think they were anything else. The characters mellow however (or their personalities grew on me to an alarming degree that I should be ashamed to admit to enjoying immensely) and the story itself is twisty and fun.
Aside from being a pain in everyone's butt, Alexia is a humorous (in a dry, dark way) and intriguing character. She really doesn't care one wit about anything--whether that's her natural disposition or learned behavior to save herself its not clear--in a defined way. She cares, but doesn't invest herself is perhaps the better word. She prefers to have delicious food and prefers to have intellectual conversation, but if neither is present she finds a way to amuse herself (usually ending up in trouble).
Lord Maccon--Conall--is a brute of a man and he took the better part of the book for me to get used to. I didn't actively dislike him, but he grated on my nerves with his overbearing personality. I much preferred Lord Akeldama with his flouncy exuberant mannerisms and 'Oh darling you did not!!!' ways of speech. Professor Lyall, Conall's Beta (second in command of the pack and Conall's balance) was all right, but a little too milque toast for my liking. He did have a fine moment of blistering anger/irritation though.
The romance between Conall and Alexia was the most amusing part of the whole book. Admittedly if they had just snogged when they first met they'd both have gotten to the point quick enough but as it stood between them neither could have seen what was right in front of them if they hadn't some well meaning and overly interefering friends. I think though there was inherent disadvantages for them both--Conall couldn't seem to remember how to court a human (or at least not-Pack) female and Alexia took everything at face value (more or less).
I confess to being totally confused by the whole 'Soulless' thing, or indeed the entire idea of the quantity of soul being what determined if someone becomes a supernatural or not. At one point its remarked that maybe too literal is the right term, but I can't be certain if that was meant as a sly joke on the author's part or not. I kind of understood it somewhere in the last third of the book, but there was so many theories, facts and discussions going on about the subject I might have gotten mixed up.
I was very interested in the mention of America. This is alternative history paranormal shenanigans going on and there is some talk of it, but with the source being highly suspect (as we later find out) I'm not sure how much of what he said about America's view on Supernaturals is true. And then also Alexia and her companions are so thoroughly British that you can't count on their opinions of their lost 'cousins' very much.
Book 2, so far titled Changeless, has a short excerpt in the back of Soulless and according to Carriger's website is scheduled for an April 2010 release. I am looking forward to it with great interest and can only hope one of Alexia's parasols is included!
This review is for the audio book from Audible.com narrated by Emily Gray. Emily Gray was a wonderful narrator and did an amazing job of bringing these outrageous characters to life. From the book: "Miss Alexia Tarabotti was not enjoying her evening. Private balls were never more than middling amusements for spinsters, and Miss Tarrabotti was not the kind of spinster who could garner even that much pleasure from the event. To put the pudding in the puff: … more
I had heard buzz about this book for a few months, SO I picked it up one day with idle curiosity and was surprised to find myself unable to stop laughing--at just the back cover. And I continued to LAUGH as I read the first chapter. Carriger's impeccable balance between tongue-in-cheek humor and a refined and proper tone is unique and engaging, and she cleverly slides in many humorous, oftentimes "improper", statements that will have you laughing and flipping the pages as fast as you can. The characters … more
Review courtesy of [...] If you're a fan of Elizabeth Peters' Amelia Peabody Series and always thought the one thing they were missing was a healthy dose of werewolves and vampires, you will love SOULLESS. I know I did. The world building is familiar with it's treatment of werewolves, but presents a welcome twist on vampires likening them to bees or ants in terms of structure with one queen ruling over each hive. The queen alone has the ability to make … more
"Soulless" is a quirky pleasure. A funny, delightful romp that I'm glad I don't have to categorize. Is it a romance? Steampunk? A mystery? In some sense, it is all of these things. The setting is Victorian times. That world though has been totally re-done with the acceptance of vampires, werewolves, and ghosts as regular members of society -- at least in Britain. (In the Colonies we are just as primitive as ever; and the Pilgrims set sale to get away from such a tolerance … more
Quickie POV: A charming and very witty mix of a multitude of sub-genres. Soulless kept me fixated on the plot while entertaining me throughout with laugh-out-loud moments and I think I might have even blushed a few times. Even the author description was entertaining in its hilarity. Review: Miss Alexia Tarabotti has accepted her spinster status and the fact that she is not in possession of soul like a true lady. Her mother and two half-sisters might be veritable dim-wits and … more