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Soulless (The Parasol Protectorate) by Gail…
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Soulless (The Parasol Protectorate) (original 2009; edition 2009)

by Gail Carriger

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4,0544161,254 (3.91)652
Member:haaveksija1
Title:Soulless (The Parasol Protectorate)
Authors:Gail Carriger
Info:Orbit (2009), Edition: Original, Mass Market Paperback, 384 pages
Collections:Your library
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Work details

Soulless by Gail Carriger (2009)

  1. 281
    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. 110
    To Say Nothing of the Dog by Connie Willis (rhonna)
  4. 103
    Changeless by Gail Carriger (VampLibrarian)
  5. 51
    The Strange Affair of Spring Heeled Jack by Mark Hodder (GirlMisanthrope)
  6. 40
    Tooth and Claw by Jo Walton (MyriadBooks)
    MyriadBooks: For Victorian heroines of inhuman nature.
  7. 20
    God Save the Queen by Kate Locke (binarydude)
  8. 20
    Kat, Incorrigible by Stephanie Burgis (amysisson)
    amysisson: Although this book is YA while "Soulless" is more adult, they have a similar feel and wit.
  9. 31
    Phoenix Rising by Pip Ballantine (reconditereader)
  10. 31
    The Serpent's Shadow by Mercedes Lackey (lyrrael)
  11. 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
  12. 10
    The Dark Days Club by Alison Goodman (ablachly)
  13. 10
    Sorcerer to the Crown by Zen Cho (Luisali)
  14. 10
    Etiquette & Espionage by Gail Carriger (kgriffith)
  15. 10
    Dead Witch Walking by Kim Harrison (caittilynn)
  16. 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.
  17. 10
    The Clockwork Scarab by Colleen Gleason (al.vick, al.vick)
  18. 21
    The Rook: A Novel by Daniel O'Malley (crimeminister)
  19. 00
    Silver in the Blood by Jessica Day George (al.vick)
  20. 11
    Stormdancer by Jay Kristoff (binarydude)

(see all 22 recommendations)

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» See also 652 mentions

English (411)  Hungarian (2)  French (1)  Piratical (1)  German (1)  All (416)
Showing 1-5 of 411 (next | show all)
What can I say Alexia, I’ll do the bitch dance for you any day.

This book is just mmmmmm. A pure joy.
I am, without a doubt, completely and utterly in love with Alexia. She is probably one of the smartest, loveliest, funniest, courageous heroine out there (can you tell I worship the woman?)
The smart use of understatements made me want to huge Gail Carriger. And the way she wrote the love scenes, so hot so unexpectedly, made me want to call her and tell her I love you

I was always a huge fan of the Victorian era (as short as she was, Victoria that is) and I thought Gail Carriger did a magnificent job with the world building and all its particulars, parasols included.

Engaging story, wonderfully written relationship, and endearing secondary characters, make this book a delightful and unique read. Tea craving included.

p.s Since everybody kept saying don’t read the third book blurb, I had to read it, and now well, I’m spoiled.
a. I AM spoiled. Ask my mom (not to mention my husband).
b. Now I’m definitely waiting for Blameless release in order to read Changeless ;)
( )
  veredi | Mar 25, 2017 |
Oh, if life had allowed me to read this book in one sitting, I would have!

I've been reading a lot of paranormal romances lately, getting a feel for what I prefer in them, and this is the cream of the crop so far. I love the romance (and it's sense of equality!!), I love the characters (from the butler Floote to Lord Akeldama), and I love the worldbuilding (all bustles and Britishness and the clever intermeshing of the supernatural - and preternatural - with the world of Victorian England). Alexia is a delight, with her curves and her not-quite-beauty, not to mention her within-the-realms-of-believable feistiness, and Lord Maccon was a breath of fresh air as a love interest (at least, to me. He was still shouty, you know, but in a fun way, and he never acted as though he had a right to take things just because he was strong or powerful).

Everything about this book was a romp. A . ( )
  jwryn | Feb 27, 2017 |
Originally posted here at Anime Radius.

I must confess: I have not read much steampunk. I am also not the biggest fan of either werewolves or vampires. I also do not read a lot of Victorian lit, either from the era or inspired by it. Having said that, you would think I’d avoid a novel like Soulless by author Gail Carriger, which combines all of the above into one work. I picked the title up in the name of morbid curiosity, and found myself drawn into a solid story with some bumps in the road that kept it from being excellent. Not terrible, but not golden. Having said that, fans of the genre of fiction that centers around characters of the paranormal persuasion will love this book. Each race of fantastic creatures each have their own mythos that is slightly different than the ones paraded around in Twilight and The Vampire Diaries. Not to mention, they are all terribly polite to the point that it plagues the rules of their species – an amusing side-effect from being born in times of Victorian niceties. In an era of novels like Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, it’s nice to see someone play the bloody tropes straight and have their world of petticoats and hansom cabs accept the presence of werewolves and vampires without having to outright wage war on them.

Fans of steampunk, I’m sorry to say, should find their cogs and gears fix somewhere else. The most steampunk elements of the book are the interest in science running rampant through academia, an apparent interest in the steampunk aesthetic demonstrated by both vampires and werewolves, the dirigibles in the skies over London (which just remind this reviewer of the zeppelins in the alternate universe on Doctor Who), and Alexia’s parasol, which is designed to protect her against unwholesome beasties. Aside from that, there are no grandiose steampunk-esque machines or experiments until the tail end of the book. Alexia, although an avid bookworm and thinker, never rolls up her sleeves and tinkers with machinery. Nothing about average Victorian society apart from the dirigibles suggest a steampunk atmosphere – and it confounds me that they would use it as a selling point when I can’t really see it in the text. The bloody cover is more steampunk than the book itself.

(And as for the cover itself? Alexia Tarabotti looks slim and pale skinned, not the lightly tanned and curvy Rubenesque young woman described in the novel. Plus, she is wearing a stereotypically steampunk hat that isn’t even hers. This isn’t the kind of whitewashed cover that Justine Larbalestier’s Liar got, not by a long shot, but it pretty much wipes out the fact that Alexia is half-Italian with a complexion to match and is not a ‘perfect hourglass’ figure.)

Having said all that, Soulless is not without its merits, despite it sounding like there are none. For example, it is obvious that Derriger did a metric ton’s worth of research on the intricate details of Victorian era living, from the foods and clothing to the dining etiquette and social manners that were so prevalent during that period. Like any good English Victorian novel, it is packed with dry wit (which, as I hear from self-declared Brit John Oliver, is something the English invented themselves) and manages to make even the most simple social slip-ups remarkably hilarious. I love that when Alexia is in the face of mortal danger from a vampire her biggest worry is on the lines of how scandalous her untied hair must seem or that she really picked a bad day to wear her best evening gown.

Alexia Tarabotti herself is the perfect kind of main protagonist you want narrating a tale of supernatural going-ons in prim and proper London. She is a spinster with a dark complexion and curves to spare, a woman who loves to read and is far too intelligent for her own good – aka the kind of woman their mother despairs over because she’ll never marry, and society pretty much dismisses her as a never-do-anything because of it. Does it bring her down? Of course not. She does what she wants, is capable of protecting herself thank you very much Lord Maccon, and once she sets her mind on something that something usually gets done no matter what. Alexia is stubborn and clever in a pinch and her constant snarky Victorian-era point of view as she straddles upholding social standards in all situations and navigating the waters of the vampire/werewolf realm brings a clarity to some of the more convoluted aspects of the time. Even the golden age of scientific discovery, it seems, can’t stop society from upholding ridiculous moral and social attitudes that make things overly complicated, even for someone who was used to it. It’s a shame that, in ostracizing Alexia from society and thus making her a candidate for BUR’s meddling, that they over-emphasize her Italian features and body shape. I understand that it is a Victorian viewpoint and it is Alexia herself telling the story, but there must be more subtle and better ways of separating one from the pack without resorting to overly describing her physical characteristics. (There’s also the fact that the prose seems confused on whether she is barely tan or very much tan, but that could be another thing chalked up to the narrator’s own self-perceived flaws.)

Alexia’s foil presents itself in the form of Lord Maccon, and the back blurb of the novel describes him perfectly: loud, messy, gorgeous, and werewolf. I often find that when a writer tries to integrate the wolf-aspects into the human form’s personality, it doesn’t end well and seems painfully forced, but for Lord Maccon his werewolfish tendencies while still looking very much a human are a delight to read. He is just as stubborn and snarky as Alexia, and every time they butt heads over BUR policy or a social disaster you can practically smell the romantic tension building up between them. I found myself cheering for their very dysfunctional romance, and I’m not the type to cheer for the main characters to become couples straight out of the gate. When Alexia learns via Professor Lyall that Lord Maccon has actually begun courting her werewolf-fashion, her responses to his advances from then on are some of the most amusing and titillating scenes in the book. Yes, things get very steamy between our Victorian heroine and her dashing rogue friend, but never does it become embarrassingly explicit or unnecessarily detailed. After all, it’s not a smut book, it’s a mostly-general supernatural fantasy set in steampunkish Victorian England, dang it! This is the era of the Brontë sisters and Wilkie Collins; fade to black or be gone with you!

The only other time that Soulless outright addresses sexuality is through Lord Akeldama, whom upon meeting him for the first time you’d be foolish not to notice that he is English, intelligent, and gayer than a tree full of monkeys on nitrous oxide. It is never expressed in those words, but you’d have to be blind, living under a rock, and have never interacted with any sort of media to not realize Lord Akeldama prefers vampires his own gender – and probably those who share his extremely vibrant and garish taste in clothing. Reading Derriger’s descriptions of his usual outfits, you can imagine how many times Alexia has to look away from the vastly technicolor nature of his design. But Lord Akeldama is also one of the most intelligent and clever people in the entire novel, someone who has ears practically everywhere in England and is a very useful informant when Alexia or BUR needs some intel on what’s what. This is why, when Akeldama admits to Alexia that he doesn’t know what is going on with the disappearances, you can feel that it’s not right. Akeldama, the man who knows too much, knows nothing? The fact that this happens only briefly after first meeting him and yet has the power to affect the reader’s perception of the problem at hand should highlight some of the skill in which author Derriger wields her control over the ongoing drama than runs through the main narrative; under all the English humor and romantic situations there is always a hint of danger on the horizon, a clue that something more sinister and dangerous is approaching for the cast that will test the lot of them in unthinkable ways. This is what kept me reading page after page despite its flaws: Derriger made me want to know what would happen next. An author who can effectively grab a reader’s attention and then slowly pull them in like a sinkhole until the very end is one to be remembered with great respect.

The second book in the series, Changeless, is on my list of books to read. I think that as a second book, it will be more satisfying that the first as it will be a story with an already establish universe and therefore will not suffer from the growing pains that are evident in the world-building process that goes on throughout Soulless, at times reading more like mindless exposition than thoughtful background information. It’s clear that Derriger took great pains to set up this alternate universe of machines and manners and beasties all meshed together, but the effort getting there seems to have seeped through the actual prose too well. I can’t help but think that if she had laid off on revealing some of the information introduced in the first chapter until it didn’t seem like such a pile of info that the entire process would have read a lot more smoothly.

In all, Soulless is a solid read for fans of the biologically strange and socially astute, and is a fascinating look into a world hopefully expanded upon in the following books of the series. I can’t help but be intrigued and attracted to the character of Alexia Tarabotti, and as long as she is headlining this steampunk world of high society and secret magics, I will continue to follow her continuing adventures until their conceivable end.
( )
1 vote SarahHayes | Feb 20, 2017 |
Not my sort of read at all, but challenged to read something "steampunk" a friend gave me this book.

I thought of it as a historical Twilight but better because it didn't have all those whiny love sick teenagers and more werewolves.

So what started as reading something to check a box has added another series into my mix (which definitely did not need) which is why I keep getting sucked into these annual reading challenges.

Such a fun read! Not at all serious. Reading this felt like a fun indulgence. ( )
  she_climber | Feb 12, 2017 |
Gail Carriger is a sharp, humorous writer with a keen eye for timing and dialog. This series is uplifting in that way, a fun page turner that also explores some dark corners in society and the inner human (and not so human) mind. I am reminded of Oscar Wilde's wit and flare merged with Patricia Briggs' weres/vamps/ghosts. Romantic, adventurous, bold, brash and comedic. Glad I picked this one up! I'll be reading the whole series! ( )
  KimFalconer | Jan 29, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 411 (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 editionscalculated
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.
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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 Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:09:29 -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)

» see all 4 descriptions

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