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Soulless by Gail Carriger

Soulless (original 2009; edition 2009)

by Gail Carriger

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3,4423691,563 (3.93)635
Authors:Gail Carriger
Info:Orbit (2009), Edition: Original, Mass Market Paperback, 384 pages
Collections:Your library, Recently Read
Tags:read, fiction, supernatural, victorian, vampires, werewolves, steampunk, *BeSerene, LT-inspired

Work details

Soulless by Gail Carriger (2009)

  1. 271
    Crocodile on the Sandbank by Elizabeth Peters (nessreader, lquilter)
    nessreader: The heroine of Soulless has a similar outlook to early Amelia Peabody (but I should warn that the Peabody series is cosy crime/romance, with no supernatural element while Soulless is gleeful fantasy) Both have strong willed on-the-shelf spinsters who are active protagonists in their story.… (more)
    lquilter: Without knowing, I'd imagine that Gail Carriger had read Elizabeth Peters' Amelia Peabody series (beginning with Crocodile on the Sandbank) before writing Blameless (et seq). Similar era, similarly cranky and forthright spinster protagonist, similar sort of love affair, similar witty dialog and observations. The Amelia Peabody books are, of course, "straight" historical mystery, without the steampunk elements of Carriger's series, but I imagine that Carriger fans who read out-of-genre also will enjoy the Peters' series. Similarly, Peters fans who like SF, steampunk, or vampires/werewolves, might enjoy the Carriger series.… (more)
  2. 182
    Sorcery and Cecelia or The Enchanted Chocolate Pot by Patricia C. Wrede (kiesa)
    kiesa: Sorcery and Cecelia is a young adult novel but aspects of Soulless reminded me of it.
  3. 100
    To Say Nothing of the Dog by Connie Willis (rhonna)
  4. 103
    Changeless by Gail Carriger (VampLibrarian)
  5. 40
    Tooth and Claw by Jo Walton (MyriadBooks)
    MyriadBooks: For Victorian heroines of inhuman nature.
  6. 41
    The Strange Affair of Spring Heeled Jack by Mark Hodder (GirlMisanthrope)
  7. 20
    A Most Improper Magick by Stephanie Burgis (amysisson)
    amysisson: Although this book is YA while "Soulless" is more adult, they have a similar feel and wit.
  8. 20
    New Amsterdam by Elizabeth Bear (GirlMisanthrope, jlynno84)
    GirlMisanthrope: vampires and dirigibles, too. One of my favorites.
    jlynno84: Paranormal, steampunk with a mystery to solve
  9. 31
    Phoenix Rising by Pip Ballantine (reconditereader)
  10. 31
    The Serpent's Shadow by Mercedes Lackey (lyrrael)
  11. 10
    The Clockwork Scarab by Colleen Gleason (al.vick)
  12. 10
    Dead Witch Walking by Kim Harrison (caittilynn)
  13. 21
    Moonshine by Alaya Johnson (Mumugrrl, MyriadBooks)
    Mumugrrl: Both books are set in urban, alternative realities, with humans openly interacting with preternatural society. Both have great strong heroines.
  14. 10
    Etiquette & Espionage by Gail Carriger (kgriffith)
  15. 11
    The Rook by Daniel O'Malley (crimeminister)
  16. 12
    The Information by Martin Amis (BookshelfMonstrosity)
    BookshelfMonstrosity: These two books are witty satirical fiction in which London, England is a main topic.

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Showing 1-5 of 365 (next | show all)
Let me tell you the first three and a half chapters of this book were Snoozeville!!! I almost put it down on several occasions. However I'm glad I stuck it out. It did have some other slow moments but the characters are deliciously funny and the overall story was pretty good, once it got going that is. ( )
  bookjunkie57 | Apr 17, 2015 |
This book was disappointing in truth. I thought it would be something refreshingly different but it ended up being rather plain, boring and, well, clichéd. There didn't seem to be any particular reason why it was set in Victorian London except for the excuse to have dirigibles, corsets and carriages. The supernatural theme was shaky at best, possibly an attempt at being original but it wasn't thought out well enough to render it this title.

A saving grace? Perhaps the fact that I set my standards too high for it. It reminded me of the-book-that-shall-not-be-named. Ho-hum.
If you enjoy paranormal romance with little going with the plot except five pages of near-death experiences and a bit of a conspiracy, then go for it. I presume this book is read for the paranormal romance only, which is fine if you like that kind of thing. I mean, you can only read that other book so many times, can't you?

Well, I liked the hunky Scottish werewolf. ( )
  Xleptodactylous | Apr 7, 2015 |
For more reviews, gifs, Cover Snark and more, visit A Reader of Fictions.

Soulless was the Audible Deal of the Day a couple months ago, and, since it was a book I’d been wanting to read, I immediately gave Amazon some more of my money. The reviews for Soulless by friends were very encouraging and the narrator is British, so why not, right? Good choice, past self! Soulless‘ audiobook was almost eleven hours of pure entertainment. What more can I possibly want than a badass spinster with an attack parasol, some cool mythology, and rampant sexy times? Not a whole lot more, honestly. I’m a happy consumer right now.

Alexia Tarabotti is fabulous. She’s not really physically strong, but she’s a beast in every other way. Her intellect is mighty and she’s stubborn like no one else in the world. She’s a spinster and totally okay with that status, but doesn’t see any reason why that should mean she’s not fashionable. Also, she’s a bit insecure, because her mom and stepsisters rag on her constantly about how unlovable her smartness, muleheadedness, and Italian looks make her. No matter how much natural sense of your self-worth you have, this sort of talk from your own family, who’s meant to love you, or your friends will just demolish your self-esteem. Basically, I felt a lot for this woman right out the gate. It also didn’t hurt that she was always searching for food, like in the opening scene where she goes to a party and it doesn’t have food so she orders some because really dancing and no food is unacceptable.

The one thing that really bothers Alexia isn’t her lack of marriage prospects or even her family that doesn’t understand her; it’s her lack of occupation. Yes, she’s a wealthy lady and lives a life of great privilege, but she’s bored. She has few intellectual equals in her social circle and certainly none in her family. She wants to do something. Preferably, Alexia would like a position in the organization that controls paranormals, but Lord Maccon absolutely refuses to hire a gentlelady. THE NERVE.

Right, so paranormal things. Soulless has fabbity fab paranormal mythology. There are vampires and werewolves, and they’re fairly standard, only in this world they have very strong ideas about fashion. A vampire or werewolf not properly attired will totally be mocked mercilessly by the other paranormal creatures, which is hilarious to me. Anyway, Alexia is herself not paranormal; she’s something more rare. Alexia is a preternatural, which means that she negates paranormal powers. When she touches a vampire, he/she becomes human again. This power was a totally new concept for me, and I thought it was awesome. Also, for all that Alexia’s the only one in the book with this power, it’s definitely not a super special snowflake chosen one thing. They’re rare, but not unheard of; her dad was one for example, which is how she came to be.

It will come as a shock to positively no one that my favorite part of the book was the romance. I mean, come on. The first thing to know is that, though it feels a bit instalovey, Alexia and Lord Maccon have known each other for ages before the book began. So basically they’ve been hate to loving slowly over the years and the reader pops in just in time for the good bits. After a long time without any ships that will freaking KISS ALREADY, Soulless was incredibly satisfying. I was not expecting how satisfying and just YES. Much kissing and it is all fabulous.

Aside from Alexia and Lord Maccon, the rest of the cast is suitably quirky. My personal favorites are Lyall and Floote. Lyall is a totally Giles-y type, only he’s the second in command in Maccon’s wolf pack. I’m really hoping he gets a ship of some sort in the course of the series. Floote is Alexia’s long-suffering but secretly rooting-her-on butler, and I enjoy how he pops in to offer looks of judgment or assistance to her shenanigans. There’s also a potentially adorbs ship for Alexia’s best friend Ivy Hisselpenny. Also, serious thanks to whoever put the characters on GR, because Gail Carriger’s spellings are seriously not conducive to guessing how to spell any damn name if you listened to the audiobook.

Fun as it was, there were some parts where the book dragged. Any time it was Maccon and Alexia, I was totally into it. During the action scenes (I’m including matches of wits in verbal confrontations in this), also very much entertained. However, there’s a section in the late middle where Alexia’s talking with her vampire friend Lord Akeldama which was way too long for my tastes and a bit let’s-recount-the-plot. The big confrontation also ends with quite a bit of book left and it meanders its way to a conclusion. That part was good , but again felt like it could have used a bit of trimming.

The audiobook added immensely to my enjoyment, as Emily Gray makes a fabulous Alexia. Her Scottish accent is a hoot as well. The only negative I really have to offer about this format is that the production is not seamless. As usual with Recorded Books, there are often weirdly long pauses or audible breaths or even some scratchiness in the audio quality, all which really should have been edited out. However, I enjoy Gray’s performance so much that I’m definitely sticking with the audiobook.

Soulless by Gail Carriger is fluff of the finest order. The characters are such fun, the paranormal creatures creatively drawn, and the romance passionate. This is steampunk goodness and I will be reading more without a doubt. Actually, I purchased the second book in the series when I was about halfway done with Soulless, which ought to tell you something. ( )
  A_Reader_of_Fictions | Mar 20, 2015 |
Alexia Tarabotti may only be a spinster with no soul but when a she is so rudely attacked by a pack of vampires she discovers just how useful being soulless is. With the ability to negate supernatural powers, she is asked by Lord Maccon, who has been sent by Queen Victoria to investigate what is actually happening with London’s high society. Soulless is a book on social etiquette with a mixture of steampunk, werewolves, vampires, and tea-drinking.

Admittedly, this is not something I would normally read but the mixture of steampunk and Victorian high society did seem to appeal to me. However I was reluctant to try something that sounded very much like paranormal romance. Being a literary explorer, sometimes you just have to suck it up and read something way out of your comfort zone. I know I haven’t read many chick lit/romance novels so I thought maybe it was time to give Soulless ago.

One thing I did enjoy about this book was the Victorian elements; Gail Carriger is an archaeologist and it feels like she has taken all the elements from Victorian literature and society, mixed it with her love of science fiction and formed what she likes to call Urbane Fantasy. The Victorian and steampunk elements really help drive this book for me; although I’m sure Jane Austin would be shocked to read this book.

Then you have the werewolves, vampires and the soulless which I really did hate, I would have much rather read a book like this without paranormal elements and maybe replacing it with a mystery element. That way everything plot wise could still work barring some minor changes. But I have to accept paranormal novels are big sellers and they won’t be going anywhere anytime soon. It just doesn’t work for me; I don’t think I can continue the series.

Overall this book felt too predictable with the romance and the rest was just too cutesy. I like that this novel had a strong heroine like Alexia but there was too much of a struggle between what I liked and hated to really enjoy this book in any form. I know there is a lot of love for this series out there and I’m sorry to say I wasn’t able to love this book. I was glad it was a quick read. There is a lot of wit and humour in this novel but it wasn’t enough. I’m not going to continue this series but I might give one of Gail Carriger’s Etiquette and Espionage a go, even if it is set in the same universe, it does look interesting.

The review originally appeared on my blog; http://literary-exploration.com/2012/11/22/book-review-soulless/ ( )
  knowledge_lost | Mar 16, 2015 |
2014 Reading Challenge: #18 Read the first book in a series you have never read.

Reason for Selection
I was first introduced to this series through a blog post about the perfect books for reading on the beach in the summer of 2012 and promptly purchased the audiobook after being greatly amused by the plot summary. I shared my interest in the series with a friend who obtained the book, and read it with enjoyment. Unfortunately, I had the opposite experience. The tone and style of the writing put me off the book almost immediately; I had only managed to get through the first two chapters before putting it down and moving on to other books. Meanwhile, my friend ended up purchasing and enjoying the entire series.

Fast forward to about a week ago. I was looking through my list of audiobooks looking for titles I hadn’t listened to yet that might meet the criteria of the reading challenge and this one jumped out at me. My friend had enjoyed the series, it’s the first book, I haven’t read it, it’s written by a female author, and, well, I had just finished reading through another series I had given up on, so I figured, why not try give Soulless another shot?

Soulless is about a young woman named Alexia Tarabotti, a half Italian English-woman who happens to be without a soul. In this version of the world, being without a soul is not as terrible as it might seem to be, but it is a very rare condition. As it turns out supernatural folk, such as vampires, werewolves, and ghosts, also inhabit this world, but in Victorian England they have been integrated into society and are, for the most part, respectable.

As a soulless, Alexia has one special ability…her touch can temporarily negate the supernatural aspects of those she comes in contact with. A vampire touching Ms. Tarabotti, for example, would loose his fangs and be able to enjoy the warmth of sunlight. When in contact with a werewolf, Alexia can pull them out of their shape-shifted form and back into human form instantly, even in the midst of a full moon. In both cases, as soon as that contact is broken the vampire or werewolf become fully supernatural once again.

Alexia Tarabotti’s condition is a fairly well kept secret. Agents of B.U.R. (the Bureau of Unnatural Registry), such as werewolf Lord Conall Maccon, and all supernatural folk know who she is and what she can do, but the general public of England (and the world at large) are kept in the dark regarding the existence of the soulless.

So, as the novel opens, it is quite a surprise to Ms. Tarabotti when a young vampire attempts to bite her without permission. Firstly, the vampire should have had better manners and secondly he should have known better then to try biting a soulless since his fangs retracted immediately upon the attempt. This leads to the startling discovery that vampires are somehow being created without the supernatural bite from a vampire queen that was typically required. Ms. Tarabotti ends up becoming mixed up with werewolves, vampires, and a secret scientific society while trying to discover how on Earth this is possible.

I sure am glad I decided to read this book; this time it struck the right chord with me and I thoroughly enjoyed it. The writing style grew on me as I went and the extremely formal way of addressing each character by title and last name didn’t bother me nearly as much as it did the first time around.

It was a fun and fast romp, with a bit of lust and romance thrown in to the mix. I liked reading about Alexia, a woman who never looses her femininity even as she whops someone on the head with her parasol. She enjoys the finer things in life, such as a civilized afternoon tea, but is also game for an intelligent discussion on the latest scientific theories.

However, I did think the love story, such as it was, felt a bit contrived and rushed. I never really felt the chemistry between Alexia and her suitor, so when they ended up married it didn’t feel believable. Still, the rest of the story was quite enjoyable, and I applaud the unique take of integrating vampires and werewolves into polite society.

I already have the second and third books queued up on my Audible app and I’m looking forward to the rest of the series.
  SetsunaMin | Mar 2, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 365 (next | show all)
Carriger debuts brilliantly with a blend of Victorian romance, screwball comedy of manners and alternate history.
added by Shortride | editPublishers Weekly (Aug 24, 2009)

» Add other authors (2 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Gail Carrigerprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Caballero, DerekPhotographersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gray, EmilyNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Karlin, LenaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Panepinto, LaurenCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ricci, DonnaCover modelsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Miss Alexia Tarabotti was not enjoying her evening.
Professor Lyall was reminded of his Alpha's origins. He might be a relatively old werewolf, but he had spent much of that time in a barely enlightened backwater city in the Scottish Highlands. All the London ton acknowledged Scotland as a barbaric place. The packs there cared very little for the social niceties of daytime folk. Highland werewolves had a reputation for doing atrocious and highly unwarranted things, like wearing smoking jackets to the dinner table. Lyall shivered at the delicious horror of the very idea.
No one ever explained the octopuses.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Book description
Alexia Tarabotti, a woman without a soul who is viewed as unable to marry, works with werewolf Lord Conall Maccon to clear her name after she accidently kills a vampire and is suspected of the disappearances of other undead members of high society.
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0316056634, Mass Market Paperback)

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.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:29:28 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

"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? Or 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."--Nielsen.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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