Ruby Scarlett (magicalsibylle) wrote in bookish,
Ruby Scarlett
magicalsibylle
bookish

Soulless and Changeless

Author: Gail Carriger
Title: Soulless
Format: eBook
Rating: 4.5/5


I'm absolutely delighted to introduce my latest find - Soulless by Gail Carriger. Meet Alexia Tarabotti, a woman without a soul (which means she has the power to neutralize supernatural beings) who lives in Victorian London in a world where vampires supported the Conferedates and where strange octopus organizations study supernatural beings for scientific purposes.
What a witty read that was, so lovely and fun. Alexia enjoys her tea and enjoys her parasol, which she uses, in the first chapter, to stake a vampire. She then goes on to have some sexy times with a werewolf and does so while outwitting him and escaping a prison cell. The characters are all colourful and strong and Alexia is an independent heroine whose sharp mind would seem at odds in a Victorian setting if it weren't for the author's generous use of language and turns of phrase that make even tiny details of dresses seem exquisite.

“Remove yourself from my path, sir!” hissed Miss Tarabotti, wishing she had brought her brass parasol. Why had she left it behind? What this man seemed most in need of was a good sharp prod to the nether regions.


The book is a smart combination of steampunk, romance and comedy. While I was disappointed with the resolution to the romance plot (I was expecting something less traditional for Alexia, though the last scene is great fun), it's written well enough to have kept me interested throughout - the banter and the sex scenes are engaging and sharp and Alexia is a refreshing victorian heroine who never apologizes for enjoying being nibbled on.

Great fun, that book was and I'm so pleased it's the first in a series. I'll definitely check out the second one, Changeless. The third one, Blameless, will be published on September 1 so I'll probably be right on time to read it. The author has a very amusing blog here, which sounds a lot like Alexia writing. Now all I need to start is a collection of octopus jewelry! Soulless definitely ignited my interest for the animal as an emblem. I'm sure Etsy has tons of things. As for parasols, summer is coming to an end but I shall keep my eyes peeled for one next year. Soulless is the kind of light and fresh book one has to read sipping a good cup (or, in my case, mug, for a cup isn't enough) of tea. I had a mug full of Christmas blend with mine, as well as Twinings English Breakfast, whose name is such a shame. I'm a firm believer that it can and should be enjoyed at all times of the day.


Author: Gail Carriger
Title: Soulless
Format: eBook
Rating: 4.5/5
 


This review contains spoilers for Changeless, please tread carefully.
 
The second installment in The Parasol Protectorate series, which is such a gem of a series it makes me wonder if the author has been reading my diary.
This time we're introduced to dirigibles, spies, mummies and ghosts (I loved the ghosts, I have to say. Let's Free Formerly Merriway, I say.) As with the first book, Soulless, which I finished a few days ago, Changeless is witty and fast-paced with an impeccable heroine, one of the best I've come across in literature. Garriger's writing is as exquisite as ever and the narrative flows effortlessly.
I have a couple of precise things to talk about:

1. The ending - talk about being out of the blue, I was completely taken aback by this sudden turn of events and this is the only time I felt it didn't really connect to the rest of the story. It felt like a huge plot point to me. On the other hand, I'm truly happy to be rid of Lord Macon whom I never liked. The banter is nice but his dominating and aggressive personality makes him sound very entitled to things he simply has no claim to. A woman, or any human being for that matter, is not property. I hope it's the last we see of him and I wonder at the tastes of those for whom he's a favourite character.

2. Ivy needs to be developed, I think, and I hope to see that in Blameless. She's clearly written as a foil to Alexia (she faints a lot and needs rescuing, Alexia doesn't) which is nice to Alexia but really very harsh on Ivy who could use a little more backbone that would flesh her out into more than a stereotype. She deserves it.

3. So pleasantly surprised at the lesbian hints at the end, I could have screamed. It's good that the author acknowledges sexual tension when it exists, instead of being coy about it and praising the readers for finding things they 'never thought of including' (which is a gentle authorial dismissal disguised as praise, but a dismissal nonetheless, which I always find sad when it happens to (potential) relationships between characters in literature, especially non-straight ones, as it's often a case of heterocentricism, but I digress).
 
4. Floote is an underrated character, hope to see more of him. And I loved the bits about Alexia's father and the scene where Alexia and Ivy pick clothes and hats, which was hilarious. This book is a riot.
I can't wait to read Blameless. This series is such a find!

Crossposted at my book blog, Magical & Colloquial.
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  • The Black Arrow

    The Black Arrow by Robert Louis Stevenson Action and adventure during the War of the Roses. Young Dick Shelton finds himself in the middle of…

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    Maurice's Strategikon: Handbook of Byzantine Military Strategy translated by George T. Dennis This is definitely a book for a select audience.…

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